A mother, three daughters, dogs and a shared passion for an active sport

A mother, three daughters, dogs and a shared passion for an active sport

Agility training appealed to Kathya, a mother of 3 girls, as an activity that would allow her to spend some one-on-one time with her dog. It didn’t quite turn out that way!

September 14, 2019 By Jonathan Bernier

“Mum, can I come along with you, just once? Please, please, please!”

Kathya’s eldest daughter Marianne was the first to tag along. Then, one by one, her sisters caught the dog-agility bug and fell in love with the sport. Kathya and her 3 daughters are now active participants in the competitive circuit even though the girls—aged 15, 13 and 11—don’t have their own dogs. Kathya believes this would have been logistically impossible given that agility training isn’t the only activity in the girls’ busy lives: Marianne also runs and plays badminton, Élise is a gymnast and Émilie an avid soccer player!

When it comes to competitions, all 3 girls rely on an astounding network of members at Montreal’s Dog Agility Club (CAMTL), who generously loan them dogs. The “next generation” of dog trainers is welcomed with open arms by members of the club, a majority of whom are adult women. All 3 girls have made a great impression—with people and dogs—thanks to their energy and enthusiasm. They’ve also demonstrated remarkable maturity for their age; as injuries can occur during competitions, caring for another person’s dog is a major responsibility.

Marianne, Élise and Émilie have learned to adapt their handling to each of the dogs they work with. The handler must learn to control their posture.

Eye contact, hand movements and even foot position are important factors in the handler’s communication with a dog. Magic happens when everything comes together.

Marianne works with Buck, who, as a veteran canine, falls on the opposite end of the age spectrum to Marianne. Buck has won championship titles before and has nothing left to prove. These days, however, the courses and high jumps are becoming increasingly difficult for him. This is why Buck and Marianne make such an excellent team: obstacle courses for young handlers have lower jumps! Without each other, the senior dog and the teenage trainer wouldn’t be able to compete.

Back at home, Kira, a beautiful Golden Retriever, is the household’s canine star. Kira is well on her way to obtaining her Agility Trial Champion of Canada (ATCHC) title. She’s a central figure in the lives of all family members, but her human is well and truly Kathya and she loves to get her complete attention. “My dog does agility training to make me happy and because she loves to run,” says Kathya. The dog wants to spend time with her Pawsie. When they’re together Kathya unwinds completely and knows that Kira can sense her well-being. Above and beyond these shared moments of bliss, Kathya loves how Kira brings her family together, through a challenging sport that they all enjoy so much.

Thumbnails :

Cover: Marianne, Kathye, Elise and Emilie spend time with their talented canine friends at Guide Canins.

Photo 1: Kathya’s three daughters, Elise, Emilie and Marianne, all enjoy a special bond with Kira, the household’s canine star.

Photo 2: Meet the next generation of dog trainers: Emilie, Elise and Marianne at the AAC National Junior Category Agility Championships with Buck and Kira.

Photo 3: Kathya and Kira work in harmony to win a competition.

Photo 4: Kira and the three girls. Taken at the Pawsie booth during “Le rendez-vous Mondou Festival Canin” in Laval’s Nature Centre.

Credits:

Cover: Catherin Arsenault

Photo 1: Marianne Poirier

Photo 2: Kathya Lepage

Photo 3: Marianne Poirier

Photo 4: François Haché


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