Tonight was our last doggie agility class.  I’m so sad that we are ending our time with these classes, but our fantastic trainer and friend is moving to California on Tuesday.  We are going to miss her – A LOT.

We have been taking classes with Tara for two years now and it has done a world of good for our dogs.  When I first adopted Jade back in September 2006, she was a nightmare.  She was CRAZY.  She jumped, bit, and barked up a storm.  She also NEVER calmed down.  There was no stopping her.  She actually got kicked out of doggie day care and sleep away camp (boarding) because the woman that ran it couldn’t deal with her craziness.  Only recently did my mom admit that when she first met Jade she REALLY didn’t like her – and we all love dogs in our family.

In 2007 I moved back to New York.  Jade was still crazed, but slightly better than she was initially.  I was really interested in finding a dog agility place because I thought that might be a great way for Jade to get her “crazies” out.  Eventually I stumbled across Tara and she reassured me that the crazy dogs were some of the ones who could benefit from it the most.  So I signed us right up!

At first, Jade wouldn’t do anything.  ANYTHING.  We had to do “remedial” everything.  While all our classmates were off doing tunnels, my husband and I were over to the side just trying to get Jade to stick her head into one.  One of us had to crawl into one end and call her, while the other had to stand behind her and keep her from backing away.  It was… interesting.  And that was just the tunnels!

Then, all of a sudden, Jade had an agility epiphany.  This was some cool stuff!  She couldn’t get enough of it!  Especially tunnels – who knew?

Since October 2008 we’ve been loving our weekly agility classes with Tara.  Jade was doing a fantastic job and loving every minute of it.  So when we got Rocket, there was no doubt in our minds that we would have him in a beginner class with Tara as soon as humanly possible.

Rocket started agility in April and loved it immediately.  There was never any hesitation like we had with Jade.  Rocket was FEARLESS.  We knew he was going to love it, but we didn’t expect him to take to it so easily.

The thing that we were the most surprised about with these agility classes was how it transformed our dogs.  Before Jade started classes, she was – dare I say? – a psycho.  Getting her into agility helped her learn how to focus, and gave her an outlet for her energy.  She had a JOB.  She literally became a different dog before our eyes.  We were amazed.  To top it off, the same thing happened with Rocket.  Granted, he wasn’t a nightmare like Jade was when she was younger, but he has a LOT of energy, and agility gave him an outlet for that excitement.  I doubt he would be as “calm” as he is without it.

We are so sad to be losing our friend and trainer to California.  But we are really excited for her to start this next chapter in her life.  Our plan is to put that extra money that we will no longer be spending on our weekly classes into our house fund.  At the end of this school year we plan to buy our first house, which will have a yard (of course).  Our first project in that house will be to build a full set of agility equipment for our backyard and then we can do agility as often as Jade and Rocket like!  So we’ll be taking a couple months off from agility, but hopefully next summer we’ll be able to start back up again.  We love it and have learned so much from Tara over the last two years.  We’re looking forward to being able to do agility in our own backyard someday.

Thanks so much for all your help, support, and encouragement Tara.  You are an amazing trainer and have done so much for our little family.  We are all going to miss you!