Tribute to Alison & Wilf

Congratulations go to Alison and Wilf for going advanced, grade 7. You are probably the first from the club to do so and that’s no mean feat.

Really well done to you both. The relationship that you to have is so special and I am sure that the club would like me to take this opportunity to congratulate you on an amazing journey to the top.

I asked Alison if she would tell us a bit about herself and Wilf and so here are the questions and answers.

1. When did you begin  agility and how did you become addicted?
I started doing agility in 1999. I didn’t know that when I started that it would be addictive and that I would be spending most of my weekends in the summer away at shows, nor did Hubby, as he is left at home with the other 3 dogs!
2. Was Wilf your first dog or did you start with another?
My first dog was a GSD x Rotti called Kia. I did start competing with her but unfortunately I had to have her put to Sleep due to a bone tumour on her front leg.
3. How long have you been doing agility?
Nearly 10 years.
4. Did you start at Stour Valley or somewhere else?
I started at Stour Valley. I met Julie through my husband and she used to do agility, we got chatting as you do and decided to see if we could join the club. So I started with Kia and Julie started with Stan.
5. How did you find Wilf?
I decided in 2001 to get another dog. I had been looking around but wasn’t sure what I wanted, One day I decided to go to the ‘Dogs Trust’ at Canterbury. The lady asked me “what sort of dog am I looking for” and my reply was “I wanted a mad, enthusiastic dog to do agility with”. She said she had just the dog and took me into the kennels where I saw a mad little dog running up the walls, bouncing off and leaping all over the place. It was love at first sight!
6. How did you develop your partnership?
With lots of hard work, time, patience and a good instructor. Even now if I don’t run him properly things can still go wrong.
7. Was his name always Wilf or did you give him that name?
Because he was a stray dog, the ‘Dogs Trust’ named him Smacko (what a name) but after spending his first day at home with me I decided he was definitely a Wilf.
8. How old was he when you got him and how old is he now?
I was told he was 4 or 5, so that would make him 11 or 12 now.
9. When did you start getting it together with him and how long did it take?
Once I started competing with Wilf it took about a year to get it together in the ring. We spent the first year being eliminated in every class, he was not an easy dog to run. He was more interested in the judge or pole pickers than in me or agility. At one show, after being eliminated yet again, I began to feel a little despondent and was cross with him. A competitor (quite an experienced handler) came up to me and commented that what a cracking little dog I had and that I should work with his enthusiasm instead of against it. I thought about this and with lots of help from Ted, my instructor, I started to work with him and the effort has paid off. We still went out and messed up some days but we also started winning classes and places.
10. Do you have any particular story to tell about Wilf?
Too many to tell but one sticks in my mind. We only had him for a couple of weeks when I was upstairs doing housework. The back door was open and Wilf was out in the garden. I don’t know why but I had a strong feeling that something wasn’t right so I looked out of the window only to see a strange man trying to drag Wilf to his car.Wilf was struggling to get out of his hold so I banged on the window and raced down the stairs, praying that Wilf had got away from him. Thankfully by the time I got there the man had driven off without him. I thank my lucky stars that I looked out when I did and that Wilf managed to get free or I honestly believe that I may never had seen him again.
11. What character does Wilf have?
He has the best character you could ask for in a dog. Loyal, happy and not a nasty bone in his body, in fact, he has got me into trouble for being too friendly!
12. How proud of him are you?
No words can describe how proud I am of him.
13. What are his favourite food/toys?
Any food is his favourite, he is such a pig. As for a favourite toy, any that he has stolen from the other dogs.
14. Tell me some things about your other dog Inca and your new prodigy Quilla?
Inca - I have been competing with Inca for two years now and we have had some good results. She is completely different to Wilf. I have to work harder with her to get a clear around a course and at the moment she is not very consistent. This is due to inexperience (or that she is just a stubborn Beagle x who would rather be doing something else)! She is a very strange girlie, unlike my others she likes her own space, she isn’t into cuddles or laying on your lap. A good word to describe her is, aloof and to be totally honest, if I left her at home on show days I really don’t think she would be bothered, unlike Wilf who is waiting at the door. Quilla - Quilla is a rescue dog and about a year old when I got her. She is a very affectionate girl who loves to be with me at home and loves lots of cuddles. She can be very naughty, in a nice way. If there is any mischief going on you can always guarantee that Quilla will be involved in some way. I have only just started training with Quilla so its very early days. My main concern is that when she is off lead she bogs off. It will be interesting once we start competing to see if she disappears over the horizon or stays in the ring. Her KC name is COME BACK QUILLA.
15. Where do you see things going now that you have reached great heights with Wilf?
My main aim was to get Wilf to grade 7 before he retired but he has got there a lot quicker than I anticipated and I don’t think he is ready for retirement yet. The next step up is Agility Champion. I can now enter champ classes, not sure how many champ classes you have to win to become Agility Champion. I will enter a champ class next year but I think this is a bit scary and I’m not sure if my nerves would hold out for me to get Wilf round but I will have a go and see what happens.
16. What has Wilf taught you?
Wilf has taught me that whatever level you and your dog are at they always need you to be on the ball and working them from start to finish.