Thursday, March 18, 2010

Leysha, run free sweet girl!


6/22/96 – 3/18/10

Leysha has brought me full circle and yet she took me to a lot of new places. She was born next door to where we live now before I lived here. She was out of an “oops” breeding from a dog I always really liked. She was an easy dog to train but 13 years ago we were still just figuring out how best to train dogs for agility. She taught me a LOT about motivating dogs and about ring stress. She was the first dog of mine to be great in the backyard but at trials she would either not want to leave the start line or she would run out of the ring part way through the course. She helped me learn about doing short courses/sequences at trials to build confidence. It worked well enough for her to win the 20” Open Division at NADAC Championships when she was just two years old. She was very consistent and fast enough for any agility organization. Our last competitive run together was in the Veterans Grand Prix Finals at the 2003 USDAA Nationals where she placed 2nd. It was a wonderful run that I can still see clearly as if it were yesterday (and I haven’t even watched the run on the DVD yet). Yes she was retired at age 7 because she clearly did agility for me and I had always promised her that we would do herding together. We focused on herding and obedience for the next couple of years before her complete retirement from the competitive world.

She got me started in competitive herding – it was what she loved doing best. She did most of it in spite of me – I learned from her how much natural talent in herding is a good thing but also how important foundation skills are for good teamwork in herding. We didn’t have the foundation skills. But we had fun. She loved herding ducks best , and she loved it when we moved to Stacy and had sheep and ducks that she needed to herd and keep in line.

She also did flyball (not the speediest but VERY consistent). She and I did obedience but the stress of Utility competition was too much for her and I retired her before she was able to earn a leg. She loved her retirement. She loved running around the front yard keeping an ever watchful eye on the sheep and ducks.

Leysha was also very willing to help students learn agility handling. She had a sense of humor about it and would stop in her tracks and look at them if they were not at all clear – even if she had a pretty good idea of where they wanted her to go. I think she took perverse pleasure in pointing out handling mistakes.

She and I went to NADAC Championships, AKC Nationals and USDAA Nationals. She was always very good with the many puppies I have had here and was firm but tolerant of them. She didn’t like a lot of out of control playing unless she was involved. Her favorite toy was a jolly ball which she would obsessively play with through the woods and the barn.

She also got to see me into the new school and spent some time there with me and she was able to see me through this latest transformation. After a couple of weeks where she was not doing well after a bad seizure we got her meds stabilized and I got a gift of a couple of weeks where she was bright-eyed, running around supervising the youngsters, getting into the toilet paper rolls, and cleaning out pockets of pants. I treasure those two weeks and spent a lot of time with her and appreciating everything about her. They are never with us long enough but I’m grateful for the time I had with her and all that she has shared with me. She and I have been together many times and I am sure that she and I will be together again sometime.


  1. Of all the dogs I've met in your pack, Leysha will always be most special. Such a wise dog, such a beautiful and generous spirit. Thank you for sharing her with so many of us.

  2. I'm so sorry for your loss, and so happy that you had the time you did with what sounds like such a special dog.