This weekend, I had the pleasure of joining my parents at a UKC rally and obedience event. I've mentioned before that Linka and my dad do rally obedience, which is like an obstacle course with obedience challenges, but this was the first time they had tried classic obedience trials as well.
Needless to say, it went well.
The event was hosted by the wonderful people at the Northwest Obedience Club in Carey, Illinois. If you want to meet a nicer, more welcoming group of people, well, good luck to you. Several of their members act as rally obedience judges for both the UKC and the APDT (Association of Pet Dog Trainers), and get this:
Both associations allow amputee dogs to participate. In the UKC, the tripod only needs to perform all the excercises exactly as they are printed. A judge in the APDT may allow variations in the excercises with valid reasons. So, for example, a judge may at their discretion allow Prada to compete even though she heels on my right side, which in formal obedience, is the "wrong" side, because she prefers a barrier (me) between her more vulnerable amputated side and the rest of the world.
Most of us dog-lovers only have one job for our furry friends: to be really exceptional cuddlers. There is a large minority, though, that really enjoys the challenges and cameraderie (and yeah, okay, ribbons) that can be achieved with performance dogs at obedience and rally obedience trials. So it's pretty cool that several of these clubs recognize that even "handicapped" dogs can perform with gusto.