Posted Date: July 17, 2017
A profile of USDAA competitor Paula Smith and her rescued dog Alex.
Although Alex retired for medical reasons in 2015, his story is a very successful one! His owner, Paula Smith, says, "I adopted Alex in December 2006 from Fulton County Animal
Services in Atlanta. He was about four-months-old, and had been found as a stray." Paula saw him listed on a Border Collie rescue website and a friend pulled him out of a shelter for her. She drove to Georgia from Florida to pick him up a few days later. Says Paula, "One look at his shelter photo was all it took, and I had seen LOTS of shelter photos over the years!"
Paula did some agility with her first rescue, Lily, but "she decided she really was more of the cheerleader type." When Alex was old enough, "I tried agility classes with him, to see if it was something he might enjoy. He did, and we ended up running agility together for years after that."
"Even though he titled in other venues, USDAA was our
favorite. Alex was a great Snooker dog! He went on to earn his Championship
(PDCH) in August 2014 at Perry, GA. He also loved flyball, and earned a
championship in that, too. (Rescues can do it all!)"
Agility was definitely beneficial to Alex. "Although we were already best friends, I think training a dog in any sport will help strengthen your bond and relationship, and that was true for us. Alex was very shy and lacked confidence, in the beginning, and agility helped with that."
"Alex got the nickname "Mr Perfect" from a couple of my friends, and honestly, it's hard for me not to think of him that way. He is amazing, honest, loyal, and we've had so much fun over the years. In agility, he always gave his best for me, even when I think he'd rather have been playing flyball, haha! He turned out to be an amazing, fun, honest, partner
and I'll never have another dog as perfect for me."
If you're thinking about adopting a rescue dog as a future agility partner, Paula says, "I would encourage people to please consider a rescue dog as an agility partner. There is a lot you can find out before adopting to see if a dog has agility potential. Many people think rescues all come with baggage, that they're damaged goods, and that's just not true. Most dogs are given up because humans have let them down, not through any fault of the dog. Not every rescue dog will be suited for agility, but there so many out there that could be, if only given a chance."