A profile of Christa Beauchat and her dogs Qwyn, Annie and Darby.
Tell us about your dogs. Where did they come from?
- Annie is a nine and half year old corgi/cattle dog cross, short and as sassy as they come.
- Darby Rose is a six year old corgi/cattle dog cross, with beautiful markings and a very demure personality…until she’s on the agility course.
- Qwyn, is a thirteen month old corgi/cattle dog cross (see a theme developing here?), yet to compete, but rarin’ to go!
All of these dogs came out of Arizona.
How did you end up adopting them?
I “blame” all three of my latest dogs on my friend, Vicki who is the head of a corgi rescue in Arizona.
1. Annie came into my life when I was at trial in Arizona for another venue back in 2007. The adoption bus from Maricopa County was on site and I was bound and determined not to visit. I knew what would happen, especially since it wouldn’t be too long before I would be agility dog “less”. Sadie (my first agility rescue) was getting older and Charlie (my first Corgi and second rescue) had to retire early because of hip dysplasia.
But before I knew it, my friend Vicki was literally dragging me over to the bus… “You have got to see this”. And there she was, sitting in an X-pen in front of the bus. I had no idea, if she’d like agility, or if she get along with my other dogs, but I knew on sight, that Annie was my next dog. So I signed the papers, and re-packed the Subaru to get the 8 month old pup home.
2. Three years later, Darby Rose, was on an adoption website and being considered by another friend, who wanted a corgi/cattle dog mix. She asked me what I thought and when I saw that it was Vicki’s rescue that had her, I emailed her to find out more about the dog. In the meantime, my friend decided against adopting and Darby had potentially found a home. I told Vicki, we were happy that she found a home, but if anything happened….. I was surprisingly disappointed when 18 month old Darby was no longer available. Sadie and Charlie had since passed and while Annie was enjoying being the only dog, she needed a friend.
About two weeks later, I received an email from Vicki that Darby’s adoption had fallen through. Corgi cattle dog number 2 came home to live with Annie and I, from Arizona, by way of a trial in Colorado.
3. Last year about this time, I received a call from Vicki. She starts out our conversation with “You may not be ready for another dog, but you’re getting one”. She had just brought in a litter of corgi/cattle dog puppies. The corgi mom and cattle dog dad were rescued from a hoarding situation and the pups were born on the way to the shelter.
After being in agility for a while, I wondered what it would be like to start with a puppy. But being true to my rescue philosophy, I wasn’t sure that would be ever a possibility. So this was the best of all possible worlds. Being an agility competitor and knowing Annie and Darby, Vicki knew what I was looking for. She helped me pick out Qwyn the little guy with the black spot on his head and a black spot on his rear end. He came home from Arizona by way of Las Vegas.
His outgoing personality is shining through and he loves his agility training. Can I raise a good agility dog from a puppy? Only time will tell.
How did you get involved in agility with your dogs?
I first came across agility when I attend a fund raising dog event back in 1998. There was an agility demo being held as part of the activities and it struck me as one of the coolest things I seen. The second thought that came to me was “I’d never be able to do that”. A few months later, I saw an agility finals event on TV and knew I really wanted to try this.
It took a while to find an instructor or anything about it in Utah. What I didn’t realize was, at the time the sport was just getting started here. I finally found a trial to observe and from there found an instructor. Now I’ve competed and been addicted to this sport for more than fifteen years. Not only have I been a competitor, but delved into being a trial secretary, trial chair, chief course builder, etc etc in several venues.
Did you find that agility helped to improve any behaviors your dogs had before you started? How did you feel it helped your relationship?
It’s definitely helped my relationship with Annie. She’s always like the agility game, usually on her own terms and off courses have been a way of life. But a couple of years ago, she finally realized I was there for reasons other than to provide transportation to the trials and we’ve really melded as a team. Most of the time, she doesn’t try to second guess me, but there are still times when she takes matters into her own paws, usually in Gamblers and Snooker.
Agility has helped Darby be more confident. She’s learned to not be as clingy and every once in awhile my shadow disappears and I have to go looking for her.
Unfortunately, agility has also enhanced one very bad habit. When I’m running Annie and Darby’s anywhere near, she will scream until the Annie’s run is over and anything with reach that can be destroyed gets torn to shreds.
Qwyn is a wonderful work in progress.
What’s something about your dog or dogs’ personality that you find unique/endearing/special?
Annie is perpetually happy and an independent spirit. She attacks life with an energy and enthusiasm that you don’t see in most people. She’s a compact little dog with a huge attitude and clearly rules the roost in our house. She’s the class clown and isn’t above putting me in my place on the course.
Darby Rose is just a sweetheart. She’s my shadow and I can always count on her to be nearby, no matter what I’m doing. She’s quiet and somewhat shy, until she walks to the start line. Then the switch is flipped, and becomes just as exuberant as Annie about running. And when the run is over, she walks off with a big grin on her face.
Qwyn is going to a lot like Annie, with a personality five times bigger than he is and smarts to match. He loves training and will seek out the contact board or the cone that we’ve been using to work with. After I think we’re done training, he’ll lie down in the middle of the field and basically tell me, he’s not done and wants to do more. He’s not shy about telling me what he wants, demanding dinner precisely at dinner time and doesn’t let up until he’s served.
What USDAA events have you competed in with your dogs?
Both Annie and Darby Rose have competed in several Regional events (North Central, Central, Rocky Mountain, Northwest, West and Wild West Regionals for a few years now. Annie’s made it to the podium in Steeplechase three times. We’ve been to Cynosports (at least 4 years.) and Annie was a Steeplechase finalist in 2014.
What would you say to people who are considering adopting a dog who might want to do agility someday.
First and foremost, choose a dog that you can live with and a dog that you feel you have a connection with. You will not always be doing agility with your dog. If you have other animals in the house, make sure that they’ll get along. I look at my dogs, first as my companions and second as my agility teammates. It’s best to have dog that is ok around other dogs and people and have a sound structure. It doesn’t have to be an over the top, super active dog to be successful in the sport. Connection and consistency in training will go along way.