An interview with Lee Reese
HER ROLE: She does agility competitions with her dog, Scampi.
1. What is agility for dogs?
Agility for dogs is when you go out and complete a series of obstacles on a course. There can be as few as 10 and as many as 18 obstacles.
2. How did you get into agility?
Originally, my cousin and I brought Scampi and his brother, Charlie, over to That Place for Pets for puppy kindergarten, basic obedience and their CGC (Canine Good Citizenship). For whatever reason, Scampi thought he’d like to try agility. After his first jump, he never looked back.
3. Can you tell me about your dog?
Sure, Scampi is a tri-colored Shetland sheep dog, and he’s 7½ years old. When he was about 2 years old, he was jumping up and down for his dinner and broke his leg. He ended up having to have a surgery called a FHO, or femoral head ostectomy. He doesn’t have a hip. The only thing holding his leg there is muscle and scar tissue.
4. How much training do you do?
We’ve been in class every week. Well, we started in obedience when he was about a year old, and he’s 7 ½ years old now, so we’ve been coming a long time. We’ve been doing agility for about six years.
5. What is the person’s part in the sport of agility?
I try to keep alongside and direct him as to what comes next. The courses can be twisty and turny. If he does the wrong obstacle, that’s not good.
6. Why do you do this?
I do it because he likes it, and I like it. It’s good for him. It gets him out of the house and gives him something to do. Shelties tend to need a job to do. It’s good exercise, and he gets to meet a lot of dogs and get socialized. It’s just fun.
7. Do you compete and if so, how often?
We compete in what’s called Canine Performance Events or CPE. We probably average one competition a month. Some months, we’ll do a couple. We’ve been as far as Minnesota, Florida and Albany, N.Y. Those were for national competitions.
8. Have you won anything?
A bunch of ribbons. On Dec. 29, 2012, he got his fourth overall title. You have to get 40 qualifying runs; there isn’t a time limit. Once you get the qualifying runs, then you are known as an agility trial champion. These four titles were in level five.
9. Can you explain the levels to me?
Level one is the beginners level. Those courses are easier and have fewer obstacles. In CPE, they don’t have the teeter or the weave poles. Level two is a little more difficult, and level three is a little more difficult than level two and so on. There are six levels, and the top one is level C. In that level you are not allowed any faults – you have to be perfect.
10. What are the obstacles used in agility?
Let’s see – they have jumps and jumps that have these wings. There are tunnels, shoots, the broad jump, the A-frame, the dog walk, the teeter, weave poles and the tire. Oh, and there is also the table.
11. What’s the most challenging part of this sport?
Trying to remember what you are doing! You also have to be in tune with your dog. If I am not 100 percent, he knows it.
12. What’s the most rewarding thing in doing this?
Just seeing the smile on his face. I can’t see him when I’m running alongside of him, but in the pictures he is just grinning from ear to ear. He actually likes applause. He knows exactly what we are there for and that he’s going to have fun.