RAT Tales – February 2018

Spotlight on RAT members

Have brags?  pictures,? announcements for the next Rat Tales the Blog?  Email Sandy Cox and Nick Nick if you [email protected]

Mt Rainier

Agility is like climbing Mt. Rainier: on the way you meet lots of wonderful people, see lots of animals, experience challenges and successes. Enjoy the Journey!

Welcome to the Rat Tales Blog section called Spotlight on members.  Each month or so we will try to highlight a “new” member and an “old” member.  We hope you enjoy learning about your fellow agility friends.

New member Pam Connolly  

Meet  new member Pam Connolly (left) and daughter Freya Connolly (below) who joined RAT in 2017. They live in Issaquah with Edie a 5-year-old female dachshund/papillon mix , Austen  a 16 month-old  female border collie, and  foster dog Cedar, a 3- year-old male border collie who is recov ering from a leg & back injury. Pam started taking classes  at Seattle’s  “Dog’s Day Out” and got hooked on agility.

She is not competing yet but hopes to soon.  She currently does herding with Austen.

RT: Do you have any particular interests you would like to share ?

Pam: I foster dogs for PUP Dog Rescue, and I always look for herding breeds to pull from the shelter. Getting shelter dogs into homes where their breed-related needs can be met is important, so my foster pups get to participate in herding and agility until adopted. For work I’m a massage therapist and work with a lot of athletic dogs recovering from injury, as well as older dogs who need a little help to stay active; I’m also a traditional hand-knitter and make a lot of matching sweaters for dogs and their people. It’s a great combination!

RT: What funny things do your dogs do?

Pam: Edie seems to have springs on her hind legs. If I don’t put her in her crate when I leave, she’ll immediately jump on the kitchen counter or climb to the top of the cat tree! Pretty impressive for a dog only 8 inches tall.

RT: What do you like best about your dog(s)?

Pam: They’re sweet, super friendly, great with kids and cats, quiet at home, and house trained!

Meet RAT member since 1997 Christiana Taylor 

Christiana in Tanzania, with a Masai tribe woman. The Masai are nomadic herders.

Christiana lives in Auburn with three Bearded Collies, Jessie (11), Lola (5) and Peekaboo (4).  They all have agility titles and Peekaboo is a Grand Champion conformation dog  and Lola is a Champion conformation dog.  She has been a RAT Member since about 1996 – 97.

RT: How did you get interested in dog agility?

Christiana: In 1993 I worked hard to get a dog from a particular breeder back east. I got a puppy, Jake, who took me to places I didn’t know existed and taught me what to do when I got there. He was proud and beautiful and brilliant and gave everything whenever and wherever he was whatever  he was doing. I read something about agility one summer when he was about two and thought it sounded like fun. We found a teacher and found a trial in Oregon. USDAA was the only venue offering trials that I knew of. AKC appeared a few years later. AKC was hilarious in the beginning- delightful chaos.

RT: Are you competing? If so for how long?

Christiana: Jake and I started competing in about 1995. Several years and several Beardies later I am still   taking class and running Beardies in competition. My three are trialing in AKC, CPE, NADAC, ASCA and occasionally USDAA. We did UKI, too.

Jake and Daughter Amy

RT: What do you like about being a RAT Club member?

Christiana: What’s not to like? I actually dislike being in clubs and groups, but RAT supports all the agility activities anyone wants, it’s an unaffected group of dog lovers doing what they really enjoy doing. RAT facilitates the complexities of providing events and workers and organizers. For many  years, I knew everyone, it was a lot smaller club, and I had a RAT summer pot luck with dogs at my  house. Remaining a member provides loads of agility info, trial notices, links to venues, a list   with various ideas and input-all useful.

RT: What funny things do your dogs do?

Christiana: Hum. Everything they do is either funny or fascinating, except when they’re being a pain the ass.  Because there are three, the funny stuff is interacting with each other.   Lola’s rouse: “Hey, look over here Peekaboo, I found a cookie (scuffle) Is this your bone? Too   bad, mine now.”  Peekaboo stares at lost bone in wonderment- without cookie.

RT: What do you like best about your dog(s)?

Christiana: There’s no “best about Beardies”. Everything about a Beardie is “the best”. Males are very different from females, but Beardie bitches are not bitchy at all. They’re funny and affectionate and smart, and eager. Boys are complex, careful, intuitive, tough minded and loyal. To be with Beardies is close to sublime.

RT: Is there literature or movies or other media that have influenced your breed?

Christiana: Beardies are hugely popular in commercials, and of course The Shaggy Dog film among many  others. Usually this gives people the wrong idea about owning a Beardie and breeders, which I  was, are inundated with silly people wanting to have one of those cute shaggy dogs. Beardies are not pushovers, they were bred to work independently in the hills of Scotland herding sheep and bringing them home by themselves. They have a long and mystical history, captured by several great writers who were entranced and mystified by them. One is privileged to be known to a Bearded Collie.

RT: What other interests do you have besides dog and agility?

Christiana: Traveling, I’ve been to Egypt, India, Mongolia, Ireland, the UK many times, Tanzania and Morocco.

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