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Talking with Inara and Starbuck!

Canine reporter Rickie Roo interviews the first Alaskan Klee Kai to earn an ADCH!

Alaskan Klee Kai are rare in agility, but these two are showing dogs how it's done!

Dog names: Inara and Starbuck
Dog age: 4 years old; 3 years old
Dog breed: Alaskan Klee Kai
Handler: Stephanie Diem
Hometown: Oak Ridge, Tennessee

From left to right: Starbuck, Inara, and Alpha. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Diem.

How long have you been participating in agility?

Inara: I went to my first USDAA trial when I was one-and-a-half, way back in March, 2010.

Starbuck: I am "officially" the first agility [competitor] in my family. I started about two-and-a-half years ago but since my mom didn't know what she was doing I got bored with it, so I took a year off. When I saw that my sister (we have the same parents, we're just from different litters), Inara, got to go on all of these special agility trips without me, I got jealous and wanted to go with! So I got to go to my very first USDAA trial in May, 2011.

Do you have any housemates that also participate in agility?

Starbuck: We have this super crazy baby sister, Alpha. She can only do tunnels and the A-frame so far but she loves to go with us to trials and be our cheerleader.

Why do you choose to participate in USDAA agility events?

Inara: USDAA is the best because I'm never bored with the different games and I get lots of runs each day. If I'm not doing agility, I start bouncing off the furniture and yelling because I hate just laying around the house.

Starbuck: I love USDAA because the people and dogs are so friendly! Making new friends is pretty much my favorite thing to do.

Is there anything about USDAA in particular that you find extra fun?

Inara: The tournaments are my favorite. They are always challenging me and there's no table! 

Starbuck: I love going wild and trying to get a 0 or 1 point Snooker run.

What is your favorite USDAA class to compete in?

Inara: I love Grand Prix because it has all of my favorite contact obstacles and no boring table!

Starbuck: My favorite is Gamblers because I can run around like crazy and I only have to focus for 3-5 obstacles.

If you could invent your own USDAA class to compete in what would it be?

Starbuck: This one time in Gamblers, this super awesome dog joined me on course and we played the best game of chase. So something like that would be amazing!

If there is an error on course and you need to let your handler know what they did wrong, how do you communicate that to them?

Inara: I yell at my mom. I don't like it when she doesn't tell me what to do at the right time. I make people laugh because I make these crazy tiny Husky noises when I yell.

Starbuck: Errors on course? You mean my mom is supposed to guide me through those obstacles in a certain order?!?

When your handler does an extra good job on course, how do you reward her?

Inara: I have fun out there and don't worry about making a mistake. And then I give her kisses when we're finished.

Starbuck: I actually listen to her. She always gets a kiss no matter what happens on a course.

When you do an extra good job on course how does your handler reward you?

Inara: I get some super tasty chicken and a walk!
Starbuck: Mmmmm..... chicken! And kisses! And more chicken!

Are there other activities you participate in besides dog agility?

Inara: Agility, hiking, and doing tricks are my life! I always have to be thinking or working out.

Starbuck: I'm a therapy dog and I also love flyball.

What would you say is your best asset?

Inara: I try to do everything perfectly and I listen. 

Starbuck: I don't think at all - I just go crazy out there and have the best time ever. 

What would your handler say is your best personality trait?

Inara: My mom says she loves that I'm a hard worker.

Starbuck: My mom loves that I have no fear. But sometimes my fearlessness scares her, like that one time when I flew over the apex of the A-frame and landed in the contact; the whole crowd gasped when they saw a little dog do that but I totally knew what I was doing!

If you were like a human and went to high school, what clique or what clubs do you think you'd be in and why?

Inara: I would be one of those science geeks, I have to understand how everything works.

Starbuck: I'd be one of the those popular kids with a bunch of friends.

If I were to come visit you for a weekend what would we do?

Inara: We would go on a five mile hike, take a mini-break for water and a snack, and then go on another hike!

Starbuck: Probably lay around the house, eat some snacks, and then have some mad games of tug!

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Inara: I am the very first Alaskan Klee Kai to earn an ADCH. I am also the first of my breed to compete at the Cynosport World Games. My mom was super proud of me and I even made it to the semifinals in Grand Prix and Steeplechase! There aren't many Alaskan Klee Kai that do agility so I like to show everyone what we can do!

Starbuck: I thought I set a record for the fastest local Performance Speed Jumping finals run at a trial last fall. But then my mom told me that the run doesn't count if you take two jumps, race to the other corner of the ring, and squeeze out under the fence to go hang out with a Border Collie!

Inara at the Cynosport World Games. Photo courtesy of Mike Lifer.

Rickie Roo is a four-year-old Rat Terrier that is loved and handled by Deborah Davidson Harpur of Harbor City, California. She enjoys running really fast, stealing treats, and being as naughty as a terrier can be. She is a proud canine ambassador for the Active Care line of dog food by Breeder's Choice and Read more about Rickie Roo on


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