My life over the last 17 years has been about celebrating the Labrador Retriever. I have had 8 Labs over the years – Quiggly, Kes, Q, Repeat, Zoom, Swift, Furai and Kicks. I have or will compete with all of them in obedience and/or agility. I got into the Labrador breed purely by chance but they very rapidly stole my heart. These wonderful dogs have taken me places I never expected to go. I knew very little about dog sports but being of a competitive nature and having spent my youth competing with horses in Australia I very quickly developed competitive goals for my Labradors.
First was obedience. My girl Kes was a brilliant little obedience dog. She was in the top 10 of Canada all breed for obedience in 1999 and 2000. This little girl taught me that the sky is the limit and she was willing to take me there. She qualified in over 70 obedience runs in both 1999 and 2000. She was the most honest sweet little dog. I remember the last long stand stay Kes ever had to do. She had competed in 8 runs that weekend and she was tired. She stood in the stand stay with her eyes closed and barely acknowledged the judge when he went over her but she did not move. She would do anything for me.
During this time I discovered agility. This is the dog sport that has truly grabbed my interest. Kes also excelled in agility, winning at the AAC National championships twice. I have played agility with all my Labs and they all excel in their own way. The highlight of my life was when Zoom and I competed at the FCI World Agility Championships in Austria in 2009. By this time I had refined my goal for my Labs. I wanted the agility world to see that Labradors make good agility dogs. I have had many assessing looks sent me when I show up to an out of town agility show with my Labrador – they did not think much of us. And then they saw Zoom run. People all of a sudden became friendly. So when Zoom and I represented Canada at the Worlds I was so proud of my breed and my girl I wanted to burst. I put her off course on our first run but Zoom was clean on the second run and finished 18th of 85 dogs at Worlds. She was only one of 2 Labs at the whole event. Zoom went on to win AAC Nationals twice. Now at almost 11 years of age we are off to compete at the 2012 AAC Nationals. She is showing her age badly but as long as she still wants to play we will play.
Each of my Labs have been different but the same. They have each taught me something about dog training, about life and how to laugh. Currently I am working to have Swift and Furai compete at the AKC National in 2013 and Kicks at 6 months is a work in progress but she too will prove to the world that Labs make great agility dogs. They are the best breed ever.