A profile of Norm Lende and Shar Henry and their dog Fl’N
Tell us about your dog. Where did he come from?
Fl’N is an approximately 12-year-old male black and white Border Collie. He was rescued from the Omaha Nebraska Humane Society. They found him wondering the streets of Omaha eating from trash cans and living off the streets. He can still smell a small morsel of food at the bottom of a trash can and will find a way to rescue it if he can.
How did you end up adopting him?
Shar and her husband were attending an agility trial in Omaha Nebraska held at the Humane Society location and they were walking him on the grounds and asking if anyone was interested in him for herding. He showed no emotion or drive and was very quiet and reserved and not very friendly. No one was interested in him as they didn’t think he’d make a good performance dog. When they told us he was going to be too difficult to adopt out unless they could find a performance and experienced family and that he’d soon be moved to another shelter that was not a no-kill shelter we made our decision. He was an adorable puppy, about a year or so old and I [Shar] thought he was too nice a dog to pass up. I actually thought we’d probably give him to my sister who lives on a farm as we already had three Goldens but we just couldn’t leave this gorgeous puppy at the shelter so we adopted him and he’s been with us ever since.
How did you get involved in agility with your dogs?
Back in late 90’s we took our new puppy Golden to obedience training and the last day of class the instructor brought out some agility equipment and let the dogs play around with it. We were hooked and that was the end of competition obedience and the beginning of Agility for both my husband and me.
Did you find that agility helped to improve any behaviors your dog had before you started? How did you feel it helped your relationship?
Fl’N was a bit shy and reserved when we first got him and we weren’t sure he was going to fit in with the rest of our dogs (Goldens) We had him with us one day before heading home in our RV so the first thing I did was teach him how to play with me just like I taught the Goldens when they were babies. His response was amazing, he almost immediately came out of his shell and began to show his real personality. He and I had an immediate bond through some simple rope tugs. He made himself at home in the RV for the trip home and it wasn’t long before he was friends with the others. We continued the play along with some basic obedience skills and it wasn’t long before he fell in love with the games and showed us what drive he really had. It was amazing the transformation and once we started in with some basic agility foundation skills for fun it wasn’t long before we knew he was going to be a family member forever.
What’s something about your dog or dogs’ personality that you find unique/endearing/special?
The way he shows such excitement when he gets attention. He started out so sad and mellow and turned into this happy, full of drive and energy BC and he seems to be telling us how happy he is that we were the ones who rescued him. He’s never tried to run away, never been mean or aggressive like they said he was at the shelter. He’s always showed us so much love and affection and his desire to play agility is obvious to everyone. He tends to show that happiness by cheerfully barking around the entire course.
What USDAA events have you competed in with your dog/dogs?
Agility has been our game since late 90’s when we started with our Golden Retriever, Meg’N. Fl’N has competed in too many Regionals to count and every Cynosport since 2007. He’s won regional championships in Team, GP and Steeplechase and run in finals and hoping for more podium time this year at Cynosport in Performance. Although it’s not USDAA Fl’N also won the 2012 Purina Incredible Dog Challenge Large Dog agility championship. Fl’N has LAA Silver as well as ADCH Silver, Tournament Master Platinum He is now competing in performance and still winning his classes with bright blue ribbons.
What would say to people who are considering adopting a dog who might want to do agility some day?
I would tell them as I have told many, a rescue dog will give you their heart if you give them a loving and caring home. If you play agility with them they will be your constant companion and give you more love back than you ever thought possible, plus the bond you build with them as a teammate will last forever. Rescue dogs know how lucky they are and they aren’t afraid to show it back in affection and companionship.