When Maya was about one year old, Bryan and I attended our first agility trial in Grand Blanc, Michigan. We were encouraged to go and see what trialing was all about by the instructor we were working with, and thought it sounded like a GREAT thing to do on a Saturday!
I was awestruck at how awesome the dog & handler teams were, watching them work together was incredible…and definitely fed my addiction. While watching we overheard part of a conversation about an “awesome border collie breeder” – her name was Julie Oakes.
Bryan and I had been talking about getting a second dog, because it seemed to us that it would be better for Maya to have another dog to interact with on a daily basis. When we got home, I got on good old google…and looked Julie up. You can check her out for yourselves here: http://www.grandoakesbordercollies.com
After talking with Bryan we decided to apply for a puppy from Julie. I knew at this point that I was head over heels in love with agility and thought it was best to get our next dog from a really high quality source. From what we overheard and read on the blog, Julie devotes A LOT of time to making sure the puppies she raises are happy, healthy, well-balanced little individuals 🙂
We applied. Filling out an extensive survey, and sending her video of me working with Maya so she could get an idea of who we were. She called my references. I knew I was inexperienced as a handler, and that the chances of me making the list were iffy. The day after my birthday (May 12th) Julie’s Facebook page announced the birth of 5 puppies. I waited two full days to find out IF I made the cut, and IF I was high enough on the list to be getting one of these pups.
I went to see the puppies as soon as they were old enough, and I spent at least three hours with them and Julie. The first puppy she handed me to hold went by the name of Barbossa…and ended up being the one I got to bring home 🙂 Cash came home with us in July of 2012 – he has been an awesome addition to our lives, and home. He is a truly gifted dog – inside the agility ring and out. He has the biggest heart there is – and I am beyond excited to see where our agility career will go!
This time we decided we should take more specialized puppy classes – in Grand Blanc, Michigan with an awesome instructor Lori Michewicz and learned so much. She boosted my confidence so much as a trainer and taught me to ALWAYS remains positive!! When Cash was about a year and a half old she told me about a seminar she wanted to go to in Barrie and asked if I wanted to go along….saying yes changed the trajectory of my agility journey! The seminar was taught by Kayl McCann – I left feeling challenged, empowered, inspired AND excited! Shortly after the seminar I began weekly classes at McCanns with Kayl and have almost been at it for a year now!
Cash has world team potential – and I plan to do everything I can as a handler & trainer to make sure that happens for us! We recently moved up to his international jump height, and will be working towards that goal this year, and next!
Agility truly is a journey – I know we both have so much to learn… His heart, and passion combined with the awesome coaching we are receiving with Kayl are going to get us there!