The 2019 National Agility And Agilite Championship (ACC) was held in Innisfil over the weekend and it bought people from all around the country to the event and featured some national championship winners.
The event was held at the Red Barn Event Centre from Thursday to Sunday. In addition to a wide range of competitions for the more than 500 canines, the event featured over 40 vendors and many dog specialists - from dog trainers to behaviour consultants.
The dogs are measured according to their shoulder blade height and each dog is put in a specific height category. Similar to wrestling weight categories, the dogs can only complete within their selected height category.
Tammy, who did not want to provide her last name, brought with her an award-winning dog named Keeper, who she has had for nearly a decade.
Keeper, in 2013, won the national championship. While the title was nice, Tammy said, for her, it's about her passion for dogs, the sport and the important bond between dog and owner.
Tiffany Salmon has been working with dogs for almost 20 years. She previously worked as a mechanical engineer but has since transferred to working with dogs. She noted the money isn’t as good, but there is a lot less stress.
“I got my first Border Collie 20 years ago and the dog really needed a job and I found the sport of agility and I haven’t looked back,” said Salmon.
Tammy shed some light on the hard work and passion that goes into training dogs for rigorous events like a national championship.
“Us agility nuts, it's our lifestyle and part of how we live and that sort of commitment results in all this and the entire ACC (National Agility And Agilite) community,” said Tammy.
“If he doesn’t know the difference between his competitive days and his fun days, my job is done,” she added.
Billie McLean, an organizer of the event, was happy with the turnout despite the weather and looks forward to more events being held in Innisfil.
“We started organizing this event last fall around September, October last year and I am the proud owner of four dogs and I also have them participate in competitions but this year I am one of the committee members,” said McLean.
“Participating in competitions with your dog can be very changeling and you need to focus all your attention on your dog, so this year my dogs stayed at home and I am helping to organize and run this event," McLean noted.
“The event is going to held next year and for many more years to come and if anyone is interested in volunteering they can get in touch with the ACC or the Red Barn Event Centre,” McLean added.