One of our instructors, Gillian Blem and her dog Zoe will be competing at the Agility world Champs in Laag-soren, Holland in May from the 7th to 11th. It is organised by the IFCS which is an international organisation for dogs who are not only pure breed dogs. Dogs from 18 countries, including the USA, Australia and China will be competing.
Gillian’s first dog, Mila, was considered un-trainable until she came to the Cape Province dog club which proved the “expert” wrong. Debbie Maltby from agility was the first handler who saw the potential in Mila. Gill’s neighbour had also advised her that agility was a good way to train a dog, keep it fit and exercise their brain. Gillian and Mila began with obedience training and then went on to agility because it looked like such fun. She won the SAADA National competition in 2013 and came 3rd last year at the ripe old age of 91/2.
Gillian got Zoe aged 4 months, in 2009 from a car guard at Muizenberg beach. A friend of one of the car guards was trying to sell her as his big dog was making her life a misery. She seemed a bright and alert little dog and how right that proved to be! She did her basic obedience at the club’s puppy classes and grew up watching Mila at agility training and competitions.
Zoe started competing when she was about 18 months old. She competes in the toy section (the lowest height category). To be selected for the SA team the results over 2 years are used and the top 3 toy dogs and top 4 dogs in the higher categories were invited. Team SA consists of a total of 4 dogs and 7 people who will be travelling to Holland.
Mila also qualified but she has retired now and could not handle the stress of flying.
Gillian attributes the success they have had together to her previous experience with Mila who taught her the basics. “I have been lucky to have amazing coaches – Jackie Duncan Smith and Lindsay King. Also to have the opportunity to train at so many different places especially of course Cape Province Dog Club, who have always been so very supportive of us. Zoe learns quickly and puts up with me trying to give her my best. She is also such a chilled little dog with a zest for life. It makes training with her such fun.”
We wish Gillian and Zoe a hassle free, comfortable flight and all the best for the competition. Above all to have lots of fun!