By Penny Larson
Click photo above to view Nick's Video
“Journey” is definitely the operative word when you bring a puppy home and have hopes and dreams for your life together. And, with each new puppy, the dreams can grow. In the summer of 2003, I retired from my faculty position at City College of San Francisco, sold my house, said goodbye suddenly to my first sheltie, ‘Katie,’ and bought a new house and moved to Roseville, California with my second sheltie. ‘Ryan.’ Joining us moving in was an 8-week-old puppy who came to be known as ‘Nick,’ and the journey began.
Nick competing in agility
Over the years, we dabbled in obedience, rally, and herding, but our real focus was to be agility and tracking. All dog sports are worth doing, but we loved agility because it is fun and exciting for the dog, and there is LOTS to learn and practice. There are so many different venues and multiple levels of titles to work towards. Nick had to be convinced, but I also loved tracking because of the connection that develops between the dog and handler down the line as you work together. There is something very special about being out in the fields with just your dog working through challenges towards the goal of finding the glove.
Nick and Penny Tracking
Nick and I started slowly. There are so many challenging aspects to any sport, and we struggled with consistency in agility and motivation in tracking. But, in 2011, it all came together. He decided he would do his contacts in agility and earned his first MACH and his ADCH in agility, and, when he finally decided he would concentrate for the length of the track, his TDX in tracking.
In October 2014, Nick was diagnosed with bladder cancer and underwent surgery. He is one of the lucky ones. He is coming up on two years cancer free, and we have added three PACHs and a CD in obedience to his titles to give him the AKC Versatility Dog title. Friends call him the cuddlebug; I call him my little miracle. He is such a sweet boy, is still running in agility for fun, and I cherish every day and every run.