Mama’s Lil’ Major Dooley, a.k.a. Dooley, is our 7 year old male American Foxhound. In 2011, Tasha Merrill, an agility competitor, emailed me a video, “Dooley Agility Star”. The video was made by agility competitor and Richmond SPCA employee, Marie Tripton, who also did some training with Dooley. They both knew I owned another agility rescue American Foxhound “Weaver”. I showed the video to my husband, Fred, and he told me to make arrangements for a visit to Richmond, VA to visit Dooley. Val Olszyk (our trainer) and several other friends urged me to go see him from looking at the video. We made arrangements to see him prior to Thanksgiving weekend.
Fred really liked him. Dooley liked to play with toys, wanted to meet everyone, and was very distracted by almost everything. But he didn’t mind loud noises and wasn’t afraid of walking on odd surfaces. He knocked down the x-pen on our visit and walked all over it. I wasn’t sure I was ready adopt, as he didn’t connect with me, but he had a big happy goofy fun loving grin and Fred said, “O.k., where’s the paperwork?” Then, I wasn’t as worried because Fred had picked up Weaver and I trusted his judgement.
Honestly, I like challenges. Presently, I own and train hounds (Foxhounds and Beagles). Dooley is my 2nd American Foxhound to earn an ADCH. He is my third agility dog, but my first one to earn an AKC MACH (his Beagle brother, Rembrandt, soon followed earning one too). He is a goofball and really does love to learn. He also loves having fun. Experience and training are helping both of us maintain a good relationship that’s great for any team. He loves to run and chase anything. Agility has given him a job when he’s with me. I used to worry that he’d take off after golf carts, mopeds, or bicycles at agility trials. But, now he will not give chase to them, as he values his fun time with me. Agility has helped improve his impulse control, his work around distractions, and built confidence in both of us. You really need to try and find what motivates any dog, a rescue or not. Dooley is motivated by my laughter and joy and really yummy tasty salmon crescent rolls (yes, I bake him treats!).
This year we’ve traveled to Kansas and Pennsylvania for Regionals and many spectators often inquire what is his breed? I think they are often surprised to see us in the agility ring. This will be our 2nd Cynosport event together. Dooley has earned his Tournament Master Bronze, Snooker Bronze, Gamblers Bronze and was a Top 10 Snooker Dog in 2015. Dooley has also been invited three times to the AKC Agility Invitational, this year will be his 3rd appearance in December. We also participated in the AKC Agility Nationals this past March. His most favorite thing at large events is seeing friends and meeting new people. His big smile shows that I think he enjoys the excitement too.
To those who are thinking about adopting a rescue dog… try it, you might find you like it! I’m truly thankful for my gift of his partnership. And, while he enjoys agility, he also likes to snuggle too.
Photo Credits: Photo #1 by Cindy Hensley; Photos #2 and #3 copyright Stewart Event Images