Posted Date: March 31, 2017
A profile of Lynne Von Trapp and Brill
by Lynne Von Trapp
Brill is a five-year-old male Border Collie whom I got from Glen Highland Farm BC Rescue in Morris, NY, when he was 10-months-old. I had been looking for just the right dog for a couple of years, and a friend who had seen him on the GHF website thought he might be a good match for me. When I went for the interview, I knew I would change his name if I got him, and I had a list of names ready. His intake questionnaire went something like this: Meeting other dogs - he's brilliant. Meeting people - he's brilliant. Men with beards - brilliant. Men with hats - brilliant. Riding in cars - brilliant. I named him Brill (not on my list of names) before we left GHF.
Fortunately Brill was loved by the family who had to give him up, and he was well socialized. He is also naturally polite and well-mannered. He could hike off-leash with me from the day I brought him home. Agility helped us build a strong bond and was a wonderful outlet for Bril's high energy level.
I first saw agility in England in the early 1980's when I was at a World Cup Show Jumping competition. During intermission the jumps were lowered, and riders and grooms ran their dogs over the course. There was no table, but the dogs dropped and paused inside a square made by a rope laid on the ground. I was immediately hooked on agility, and in 2000 the time was right for me to get involved. I competed with two Aussies before I got Brill.
Brill has some endearing and special traits. He adores me and will do anything for me. He "talks" to - not barks at - my husband and me, and to other friends when he greets us.
He's a natural herder and, without any formal herding lessons, helps when we move our cattle from pasture to pasture. We have about 50 head of Scotch Highland cattle, which have long horns and long hair. Brill is so gentle with the cows and baby calves that he can bring along very young calves and their mothers without upsetting them when we move the cattle. He understands that his first chore is to sweep the pasture to make sure all the cattle are brought up to the gate. I no longer have to tramp around the entire pasture with him.
Brill and I compete in USDAA trials in the northeast, including Regionals. We've been in Masters for a couple of years. He loves the technical courses.
For those people who are considering adopting a dog who might want to do agility some day, I say just do it! It's a wonderful way to bond and will give you a reason to train and focus on and exercise with your dog. One word of caution: if your adopted dog has been a street dog, he may look to the environment for his rewards, rather than to you. You will have to work a lot harder and longer to develop a bond with your dog and keep him focused on you in the ring.
Photo credits: #1 Agility Gallery, #2 Valori Duff, #3 Pet Art (Cindy Telley)