Friday, January 13, 2012

Shelby of Arizona


In early 2010, Tami R. was running agility with a friend (who happens to be Director of Arizona Cactus Corgi Rescue), and commented that she'd like to have a fast, confident dog to run agility with. "My agility dog Belle was a Hurricane Katrina rescue" Tami says "and we ran agility more for a confidence builder then for the real competition. Belle has improved with time, but continues to struggle with self-confidence issues and she has a fear of the judges and sometimes the obstacles, which is challenging."

About three weeks later I got an e-mail with a picture of a sweet little nine month-old Corgi female.

She had been turned in by her prior family because they didn’t have time for her and wanted to find her a home where she would be kept active and happy. I'd never had a purebreed dog before (she came with AKC papers) as I had always rescued mixed breeds, but she was just beautiful.  So the “negotiations” with my husband began ... we had three dogs already and fourth was a tough swallow for him. There were criteria:  Must be female: check. Must be crate trained: check. And finally, he got naming rights: check. She came home with us in March of 2010 and her AKC registered name is Cobra Jet Shelby Mustang -- call name Shelby. (Yes, my husband is a car nut!)

Shelby started to fit in with our existing pack.  We have a Corgi-Basenji mix (Hamlet), and she bonded with him right away. Maximus, our Lab-mix, is so laid back he just puts up with her bossing him around. Shelby's BFF in the house is Belle, my Hurricane Katrina rescue.

Belle took on the “mom” role with Shelby right away. She'll play with Shelby and they wrestle constantly, but when Shelby goes too far, Belle will put her in her place and Shelby quickly understands that it’s time to stop.

I have never had a dog more food motivated than Shelby. She will do anything for food. Anything! She throws herself into the big dog food bag in our pantry when we aren't looking, just to get a nibble. She will steal food from the other dogs and even the cats when they aren't looking. This has made her very easy to train, but can make feeding four dogs at the same time a challenge. We have to watch the short one or she'll eat her food and everyone else’s too!

I began training Shelby in agility at around 11 months of age. She caught on quickly -- really quickly. She didn't have any of the fear I faced when I trained Belle.  At her first competition race in June 2010 (at 13 months old) she qualified in a Jumpers run!

She is sooooo fast and it was quite an adjustment for me to run a confident dog like Shelby. When the 2010 fall season started, she began running the same agility schedule Belle ran.

Initially, we focused on DOCNA (Dogs on Course in North America), which is a terrific venue for a young dog (or a scared dog like Belle). Shelby advanced quickly to the Specialist level in DOCNA and after 15 months of competition and still two years of age, she has her:

  • Specialist Standard Merit Award (S-SSMA and 18 Specialist Qualifying runs or “Q’s”)
  • Silver Jumpers Merit Award (Silver S-SJMA and 26 Specialist Q’s)
  • Bronze Snakes and Ladders Merit Award (Bronze S-SSLMA and 7 Specialist Q’s)
  • Specialist Gamblers Award (S-SGA and 8 Specialist Q’s)
  • Specialist Trigility Award (S-STA and 3 Specialist Q’s).

She needs 2 more Q’s in the Gamblers races to obtain her Merit of Excellence Award. She competed in the 2011 DOCNA National Championships and she won the Standard and Jumpers events for her height class (8 inches) and she came in 2nd place nationally in her height class division at DOCNA’s signature event, the North America Challenge.

2011 DOCNA Championship Ribbons: This picture shows all the ribbons she won for Championships.

DOCNA Championships - North America Challenge Run - Sept 2011

She started running agility in AKC around the beginning of 2011 and by the end of the year, she had her:
  • Excellent Jumpers with Weaves title (AJP) (AKC Ex A JWW Title)
  • Open Standard (OAP) title
  • Open FAST (OFP) title

AKC -- Jumpers with Weaves Excellent A Title Run

She needs one more Standard Q at Excellent A to earn that title and has already accumulated 29 speed points towards her PACH (Preferred Agility Champion), which will be our next challenge.

Excellent A Standard Q (1st one!) - AKC November 2011

She ran her first Time 2 Beat race, which is a new event for AKC, in November and took 1st place with a Q! (She even stops after the first jump on this run and finds a snack on the course!)

AKC -- Time 2 Beat -- November 2011 -- 1st Place and a Q (and 10 points)

She also just started running USDAA (United States Dog Agility Association) in October of 2011, and has already achieved her Starters Performance Standard Title (SPS) and has a Tournament Q (and 1st place) in Steeplechase (Performance Speed Jumping).

USDAA Snooker Q Run - Dec 2011

Wow - she’s a busy Corgi!

We attended an Agility party in November, where there was a pet psychic.  Shelby announced in the midst of a room of VERY experienced agility dogs (remember that she is only two years old) that she was a “winner” and she only liked blue and red ribbons (1st and 2nd place). She also told everyone that she liked her “thin figure” and thinks that other dogs that look like her (other Corgis) are fat. (Wow, kids say the darnedest things!)  The psychic said she was VERY self confident ... you think!?

We love having her in our pack. She has my husband wrapped around her little paw and is just a joy to have in the house. She has been a blessing to Belle as well, as Shelby’s enthusiasm for all things fun and food have helped Belle continue to come out of her shell.

One of my agility friends said to me one day after a particularly excellent series of runs, “Do you know how lucky you are to have adopted her?” Yes I do -- I truly do!

Some days I feel like I stole her from someone, but I didn’t. I just rescued her and gave her the life she very much deserves!


Jennifer Alford said...

Wow! All those ribbons! Looks like you've had a great addition to your pack. Thanks for sharing.

Zanna Russell said...

Wow! She is fast - she's hardly out of second gear!

Anonymous said...

WOW Shelby is just fantastic:)))

Anne Sloan said...

Shelby ~ you are one AMAZING pup!

auntmtv said...

awesome story! She is one lucky dog. Kudos to you for bringing out the best in her!