Tiny and agile champion
BY TARA MACDONALD
Staff Ten-year-old Raven brought home a championship title from the Agility Association of Canada’s (AAC)’s Ontario East Regional Championships last month in the veteran 16” division. The event was held in Harrowsmith and brought in roughly 125 competitors and 165 dogs.
The 18-inch tall, 38-pound Australian Shepherd is no stranger to the ring, having been competing since she was a pup. In 2011 and 2016, Raven won the Canadian National Australian Shepherd Agility Award and placed eighth overall at last year’s AAC National Agility Championships which was open to all breeds of dogs.
Raven’s handler, Bev Hurst, is well known in the dog agility world. A pro competitor with more than
50 obedience titles under her belt, Ms. Hurst is also an accomplished and dedicated breeder, trainer and dog behaviour specialist.
In addition, Ms. Hurst is one of the founding members and current President of Hilltop K-9 Agility.
Established in the winter of 1990, Hilltop’s club and training centre was the second of its kind in Canada. Located off Beaverbrook Road in Martintown, the club is dedicated to providing members and their dogs with safe, fun, and professional level agility training.
“At the Hilltop club, we have people who are just getting started. They are building a bond and you can see the excitement grow as the dog starts to understand what you want him to do and once they start comprehending what you want, the dogs go faster and faster,” said Ms. Hurst.
“It’s an addictive sport,” she said. “It takes a lot of training and a lot of people aspire to greater heights where it becomes more competitive,” she explained, “but it’s all about the relationship between dog and handler. You’re working with the intelligence in the dog and creating a special bond because when you do agility with a dog, it’s just you and the dog.”
Ms. Hurst started training Raven when she was just four months old. Since then, Raven’s been training about an hour and a half each week with 15 to 20 minute spurts every second day. “The training is there now,” said Ms. Hurst. “It’s just a matter of keeping it polished.”
“You never train more than 15 minutes at a time per dog because they get tired. You want to keep the focus, so it has to stay fun for them or else they get bored and lose the speed,” Ms. Hurst continued. “This is especially important with an Aussie; they don’t like to repeat things too often because they might get bored or think they might be doing something wrong so they offer you some other behaviour.”
“She’s a little bit crazy, just like me”
As a breeder, Ms. Hurst focuses on ensuring that her dogs are easy to get along with. “You want a dog that’s biddable, easy to train, and a good family dog,” she explained. “You want them to want to train and work for you. Raven is a super-sweet dog. She’s very bonded to me and follows me everywhere,” said Ms. Hurst, “but she’s got a crazy side which is okay because it suits my personality.”
“When we first started competing with her she was a half crazy and a little bit cockeyed,” the handler recounted. “She would get into the ring, do four or five jumps and then just take off and start doing whatever she wanted. I’d eventually have to stop her and lay her down on the field to have a chat. I’d tell her, ‘You need to get it together girl and get things done!’ Then she would finish the course like a little remote dog. People would laugh at me because they would see in the first year she was competing that she would do this to me every once in awhile, then she’d go on to complete the trials like she’d been doing it all her life.”
Every dog has its day
Although Raven will not be attending this year’s AAC National Championships held in Innisfil, Ontario over the August 15-18 weekend, Ms. Hurst says they are working towards their Lifetime Achievement Award of Excellence. “But at 10 years old, she gets to choose,” said Ms. Hurst. “Raven’s favourite things are the games – jumpers, snookers, gamblers and steeplechase.”
Are you interested in learning more about dog agility? The next Hilltop agility trials take place at the Williamstown Fairgrounds August 3 and 4. The event will also feature Zakaly with Lure Coursing and OUT – an over, under, through obstacle course that will be open to the public and their dogs. Proceeds will go towards the Hilltop club and Ron and Cher’s cat rescue in Bainsville.
Hilltop will also be performing a demonstration at the Fair Saturday at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. behind the cattle barns.
About the trials
AAC Agility Trials are open to all dogs capable of demonstrating agility and control and the mental and physical ability to carry out the required tests while focusing on good sportsmanship and fun for both the dogs and their handlers.
Before the competitions take place, dogs are divided into categories depending on experience, age and size. However, unlike conformation events, the focus is not on pedigree or breed standards. Rather, agility events are geared towards promoting inclusive, competitive agility at a local, regional, national, and international level wherein all dogs are welcome to participate regardless of pedigree. Agility competitions require dogs to follow a course of several obstacles, including a mix of hurdles, tunnels, weave poles, A-frames, teeter-totters and dog walks.
Dogs earn points for each obstacle completed correctly, but face penalties if they miss a pole or fail to step on a contact point, have a paw out of place or go too slow.
While there is no qualifying requirement to participate at a regional event, dogs must be registered as an AAC member and earn 350 points or more at the regional level before moving on to compete at the National events.
Party Bridge July 22: 1) Stuart MacDonald 2) Bernice Barlow, 3) Mary Milne. Duplicate Bridge July 23, Section A N/S: 1) Fred, Gisèle Lefebvre, 2) Judy Bradacs, Anna Meredith, tied for 3rd Elizabeth Marjerrison, Jim Campbell, Brenda Long, Marlene Crowhurst. Section A E/W: 1) Gail Wells, Nicole Tourangeau, 2) Don Darling, Bernice Barlow, 3) Gordon Snook, Norma Blain, 4) Pauline Tessier, Lisette Jesmer.
Aug. 4 St. Andrew’s United Worship Service will be held at Chalmers United Church, Finch at 10 a.m. with Barbara Jacobs officiating.
Karen Paavila and Mark Marshall were the leaders in the Martintown Goodtimers week 9 Bocce Tournament, followed with three wins by Barbara Gale, Aden Buckland, Jennifer Monk, Mary Moore, Sandy Campbell and George Ursaki. Barbara Gale won the jackpot for the second consecutive week. The current leaders are Mary Milne at 23 wins, Herb Yellenik 22, George Ursaki and Rob Gale tied for 3rd, Jean Giroux 4th, and tied for 5th Sharon MacCullough, Mary Moore, Jean Giroux, Mark Marshall and Jim Nichols.
Jim Barton, a native Martintowner, whose family had been among previous owners of the Mill for a number of years, will be at the Mill and will read his authors' challenge story, “Listen to the Silence of the Stones -- The Legend of Jacob.” Katalin Kennedy will also be at there and may read her story “Jacob and Ephraim” or excerpts from one of her books.
Jenny Macdonald, creates works of art by cutting into and manipulating leaves; Victoria Perry is a photographer of landscapes and wildlife showing at the mill for the first time, and another native of Martintown, Lisa MacDonald, has had her art on display at The Art Gallery of Hamilton and the Burlington Art Gallery, among other locations.
An old friend of the Mill, Caprize Segall, will be selling her colourful birdhouses, signs, etc., outside, and Ann Cadotte (veggies, fruit, jams, jellies, herbs, etc.,) and Somkid Delorme (spring rolls, Pad Thai, curry, etc.) will be in their usual spots.
Ron Beaudette is issuing a challenge to guitar players to join him onstage for the Sunday morning, and we encourage those who wish to jam to show up.
August 17-18 is Doors Open for Cornwall, Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry, and the mill is hosting as it is a building of historic importance. Members of the Martintown Mill Preservation Society will talk about the history of Martintown and the Grist Mill. Saturday and Sunday, artists Susan Irving and Margaret Szlchcinska will be on site; Bobi Leutschaft Poitras will join them Sunday. Leah Lindeman reads her story “Jacob” Saturday, while Bobi Poitras, (“Jacob, Did You Jump?”) and Jennifer de Bruin (“The Tale of Jacob Macdonnell”) will read theirs Sunday. Allan Macdonald, archivist of the Glengarry County Archives, will share his expertise Sunday.
Also Saturday, the Martintown Parks Committee will be selling hamburgers, hot dogs, and other goodies as a fundraiser to support children's activities, and the Cornwall Miniature Modelers will be outside to delight kids and adults alike.
August 24, “The Phantoms of Yore” will be hosting “Jacob, a Paranormal Communication Session” at the mill.
Sept. 14, the Mill will host its Annual Harvest Dinner, at The Grand Hotel from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. This is a fundraiser for the Mill. A silent auction is one of the night's most anticipated events, featuring works of artists and other goodies.
Corn around the corner
As you may recall, two young men from Dunvegan, Zoran Penner and Caleb Jalbert, had a sweet corn stand on County Road 24 last year. Located at the entrance to the farm formerly owned by the Colquhouns, the pop-up corn boutique was only open for a few days, but the cobs were seriously good eating. To my delight, they were the all-yellow variety, which are almost impossible to find given the ‘peaches & cream’ conspiracy. When I spoke with Caleb last year, he was confident he and his partner would be back this year, bigger and better than ever.
I’ve been dying of late for a taste of fresh corn-on-the-cob. So I thought the matter warranted a quick call. I couldn’t find Caleb
Jalbert’s number, but was able to reach Zoran Penner’s mom. She reassured me that, while the seed went in the ground a bit later than expected because of our wet spring, things were progressing nicely. “The boys have a big patch,” reported Mrs. Penner, “and it’s looking good.”
I’m told that the first cobs of the season will be ready in 14 days or so. However, I’ve asked to be alerted when the harvest is about to begin. This will allow me to inform you in the next available column when Dunvegan’s very own sweet corn stand will be open for business.
“Turkcock in the cards”
Steve Kaluta, who lives a few farms east of us, emailed me to say that about three weeks ago he spotted Junior the peacock at the south end of his garden… and a wild turkey at the north end. Steve admits he’s not an expert in the facial expression of our feathered friends, but he’s pretty sure he saw amorous glances going back and forth. “So, if someone sees a strange hybrid next spring,” wrote Steve, “well, you heard it all here first.”
Junior was also the subject of a second e-mail this week, this time from Allan Walker of Dunvegan East. While on his morning stroll, Allan heard a peacock’s distinctive “pee-CAAAWK” mating call. ”We're well past the mating season,” wrote Allan, “but Junior must have been feeling a little randy.” The distinctive cry immediately took Allan back to his days at the university in Victoria and its impressive collection of peafowl that lived a hundred yards or so from the institution’s examination hall. As mating season for the avian show-offs coincided with exam time, the students’ concentration was often shattered by the masculine birds’ cries of eternal devotion.
Did you know?
There was a time in the early 1980s that a bookmobile used to visit Dunvegan once a week (or maybe it was every two weeks). The little library-on-wheels was a great boon to young families and senior citizens and, for many, was one of the highlights of the week. However, it wasn’t too long before the bookmobile service was axed, and the money applied to much more urgent provincial matters… like corporate welfare and MPP fact-finding tours to Europe and tropical climes.
So I was delighted to discover on Saturday’s visit to our local SD&G Library branch in Alexandria that this amazing organization is in the process of reinventing itself with a number of innovative new offerings. In addition to books, e-publications, videos and on-line computer access, you can now take home a musical instrument, bring in documents that require witnessing or borrow a portable Wi-Fi hotspot unit.
Thanks to the generosity of The Co-operators insurance company, you can now use your library card to borrow one of six acoustic guitars and take online music lessons. In addition to an adult size sixstring acoustic guitar, the loan includes a chord book, tuner and strap. Ukuleles and electric pianos are also available, as are mobile Internet ‘hotspots.’ I’m not 100% certain, but I believe the latter would allow your group or event to offer free Wi-Fi… always a big plus.
I was also amazed to discover that
the SD&G Library provides the services of a Commissioner of Oaths during regular library branch hours. A Commissioner of Oaths is someone who is authorized by law to witness signatures for documents such as affidavits and statutory declarations. A partial list of forms they can handle includes: residency documents; consent letters for traveling with a child; Federal government permanent residency card applications; and the Municipal Information Form required for a liquor licence.
Please note though, this does not replace the services of a Notary Public. The Library recommend that wills, living wills, power of at
torney, divorce, separation, or custody agreements are taken to a lawyer or notary, as an SD&G Library Commissioner of Oaths is not allowed to sign these documents. A comprehensive list of the forms and documents that a Commissioner of Oaths can sign can be found on the library’s web site, together with all the ‘fine print’ on using the service.
What’s more, the above is only a sample of what today’s SD&G Library has in store for its patrons… from 3D printing and book club kits to meeting rooms and museum passes. It isn’t a bookmobile, but it’s pretty impressive all the same.
WINNING TEAM: Bev Hurst and her much decorated Raven form a winning team.