UCDX Goldie's Lucky Leilah CDX (ASCA and AMBOR), HCT-s, TN-N, CGC, WGP
She was born in Agoura, California,
on August 5, 1996. Her mother, Goldie, is a purebred Vizsla (Hungarian Pointer)
and we suspect her father is part Beagle. Only Goldie knows for sure. Goldie
belongs to a horse trainer I assisted for a few years, and he "match made" Leilah
and me. He told me that this particular puppy was the just the right dog for
me, and he sure made a good decision, because she's been my joy since I brought
her home at 8 weeks.
Goldie was a good mother, and several of us handled and played with the puppies from the time they were a week old. It was very scary to bring her home, since this would be the first puppy I ever raised. Before I made a final decision, I did a lot of reading. My favorite puppy raising book is Superpuppy by Jill and D. Manus Pinkwater.
On that first vet visit, I was told about competitive obedience and agility. You can read the story of Our First Year in Obedience . I started socializing her with other dogs as soon as her shots were completed at 4 months. She was spayed at 8 months, just after her first obedience class. She has grown to 20" at the shoulder and 32 lbs.
She is my niece's surrogate dog, and Leilah loves everyone she meets. Probably her favorite hobbies, besides slurping people, is shredding paper and playing a wicked game of keep away with other dogs at the dog park. The first words people seem to use to describe her is "sweet".
She is an amazingly fantastic dog, with
wonderful manners, for me and my husband, I couldn't ask for more. She
is truly my Wonderpuppy.
Click on picture to see a larger version.
June 2, 2000
Our lives got turned upside down on January 26th, 1999, when my husband suddenly passed away. I can't imagine going through that without her, she literally saved my sanity and gave me reason to get out of bed. She's become a major reason for my being. Between us, I was the one who had the separation anxiety, I could go no where without her. Thank goodness even the funeral home let her in! It was quite a while before I was comfortable at all being away from her. I still sneak her into work on occasion.
About a month after my husband died, Leilah got a big brother, Copper, an 8 year old Australian Shepherd. You can read his story here. The two of them brought laughter back into this house.
It took a long time before we found our new "normal", but it seems we have done so. She doesn't terrorize the dogs at the park as much with her keep away games, but if the mood strikes her, look out! She is now the dog park greeter, humans can't enter without a wiggle and a hello from her.
Recently I discovered Leilah can herd sheep! I brought her along to a herding lesson to give Copper more confidence, and turns out she's the real sheepdog in the family! She's now in herding training, and really enjoying it. I have written a breed standard satire for her, "The Complete Vizagle", and you can see it here.
She gives me a whole new meaning
to the phrase "companion dog", and she is the great joy in my life.
September 17, 2002
After too many training setbacks, I've given up on UKC Utility obedience for now, because of the "evil" glove exercises. We are working our way through ASCA (Australian Shepherd Club of America) titles. She easily got her ASCA CD a few months ago, and now has one Open leg. I hope to get her into the ASCA Utility ring next year. We had the honor this year of being selected as alternate for our obedience club's Open team for the Top Dog exhibition.
Copper is still her favorite toy, they make me laugh a lot. She snuggles next to me at bedtime, wakes me up most the mornings in the gentlest way, and rarely too early too. Always by my side or in my lap, she's wonderful company, one of the best friends I could ever want.
Click on picture to see a larger version.
May 16, 2004
June 12, 2008
She did have another mast cell tumor a few months after the last update, in July of 2004. At that time, with roughly 25 NQs in the Utility Ring (rarely for the same reason twice) and facing the possibility of many months of chemo for her, I retired her from obedience the weekend before her surgery. We had a blast in the ring that last time, thanks to a very understanding judge. Dashing my hopes for a first Utility leg, we NQ'd on heeling for the first time ever. The judge was a very sweet woman who'd overseen many of our NQs over the years. Taking the risk of being banned for poor behavior or something along those lines, when she informed me that we NQ'd, I then quickly explained that this was Leilah's last time in an obedience trial ring, so please pardon us, no disrespect intended at all, but I was now going to try to show her a really good time. I don't remember her response, but she didn't say "No!" So while trying hard not to take more than a minute or so after each exercise to do it, we had a lot of fun. This included flung articles, frisbee gloves, and after she got lost on the go-out I sent her over the jumps one after the other, agility style. We ended on that. I made a total fool of myself and had a great time doing it. We left the poor judge trying to hide a grin and I was hearing how people enjoyed our final free-for-all for a couple of years after.
After surgery, she ultimately didn't need chemo and has been clear of cancer since. Except for a benign lipoma at 10 years old that was fighting being properly diagnosed and also threatening to interfere with a hind leg, she's had no real health problems of any kind. Xrays from then (about 18 mos ago) don't even show any arthritis to worry about. So far, her biggest signs of aging are a greying face, getting just a touch slower when getting out of bed, and diminished hearing in one ear which sometimes causes her to run off alerting in the wrong direction. I can only wish to age half as well.
After a year off from doing anything in the way of training, her retirement didn't seem to be working out. Our local "unofficial" dog park was now off limits with huge off-leash tickets and the nearest hiking area was now fenced off. Walks around the block wasn't going well at all. She'd get bored and yank my bad back around from following her beagle nose. She did still want to work, just not at heeling which was always her least favorite thing to do. I had always hoped to start tracking with her after obedience, but I've discovered that is extremely difficult around here, especially on my work schedule.
In June 2005, on the strength of her obedience training, she earned a NADAC TN-N tunnelers title, which required no jumping that could bother her knees.They had not bothered her since we stopped regular training for sheepherding many years earlier. We do still play at herding about once a year since it's one of her all time favorite things to do, and the way we've been doing it, while improper, is not causing any problems. Since the docs said her knees were no worse then when initially diagnosed, I figured I might be able to safely manage her in agility classes. So a month later, at 8 years old, she started agility classes. She jumps at 8"-12", right along with the corgis and chi-mixes, instead of her regulation 20". She now wears front "wrist" supports due to muscle damage from the lipoma surgery, and they keep her sound. She's been in agility classes now for three years, staying near the beginner's levels due to my schedule, and she just loves it. Believe me, she's far better at it than I am!
Until I had too many schedule changes and pressures to continue, on the way home from class Leilah and I would often stop off at a nursing home next door to where I work. They did not require visitor's dogs to be certified therapy dogs, only well mannered. I had two friends living there, and she was quite a hit with the rest of the residents as well as the staff too.
So far so good!!
Leilah on my Christmas Cards
Leilah lives on my bed
To find out more about Competitive Obedience
for all dogs, please read: