My mother’s house is always full of dogs. She has three dogs and adds to that a constant string of rescued dogs and boarders. Her house literally erupts at the approach of a car, or a knock at the door. She is now 71 years old and her passion is dogs. A passion that started 14 years ago – the summer she broke her ankle, the summer she discovered dog agility.
She had slipped on wet grass during an agility lesson and broken her ankle. You would have to know her to know that a broken ankle would be seen as anything other than a challenge. She took it like a slap in the face – she would not be defeated. She soon recovered and immediately signed up for more lessons. She took every workshop offered and booked church basements for practices. Her dogs, a crazy Australian Shepherd and a tenacious terrier, loved it.
Agility is a sport aimed at people and dogs who want to get out and have fun. It involves obstacles arranged as a course that the handler and dog run through in a particular sequence. It is timed and the fastest time, with fewest faults, wins the class. Everyone with a dog who watches agility wants to try it. It is, however, harder than it looks! There are techniques to get your dog to pass behind you, in front of you, to spin, or to come to a momentary stop – and these actions are done while running flat-out.
My mother retired and moved from the city. What may have been a lonely transition was, instead, a rapid inclusion into a new group of dog-sport enthusiasts. It is still a rare event to call her on a weekend and find her at home. She might be taking a workshop, involved in a trial or off at a dog-friend’s place.
She takes her dogs everywhere. They happily anticipate a swim, a trial, a lesson, or a moment of calm in the van while she shops. Dogs do not care where they go – as long as they go. She is their ticket to excitement and they have been hers to a life full of activity, fun and friends. I can’t imagine a better outcome to a broken ankle.