Posted Date: March 31, 2016
A profile of 2016 IFCS Team Member Brenda Kelly and her dog Déjà Vu.
The World Agility Championship in The Netherlands is only a few weeks away! Meet competitor Brenda Kelly and her dog Déjà Vu.
do you live?
We moved to Texas from Virginia about eight years ago and we now live
in the Denton, TX area (just north of the DFW Metroplex).
did you first get involved with agility?
I have been competing and training with horses in show jumping
and dressage all of my life. I also do a
lot of trail riding and enjoyed hiking. I had not had a dog for a long while and I decided I really wanted to
get a puppy that I could bring up to be good on trails and around the
horses. I had always been attracted to
Border Collies and Aussies so decided to take the plunge in 2007. Just after I got my puppy we moved to the
Texas area. I was looking at scaling
back my equestrian competition pursuits and since I had always been fascinated
by the agility shows I had seen, I decided to see what it was all about!
made you decide to compete?
Well, very simply I just really enjoy the process of learning,
training and acquiring skills. Competition has always played a big part in my life. I had competed in the equestrian sports but
also am a black belt martial artist. I
think competing is a fun way to test how well your training is working and use
it to focus goals and target improvements.
you (or did you) participate in any other dog sports or training with your
No other formal dog sports. With my work schedule, we just play in agility and spend some part of
everyday outdoors hiking and playing - at least a couple of miles each day.
us more about the dog you will be competing with as an IFCS Team Member?
Déjà Vu (Vu for short) is a very intense but goofy girl. So named since she is a repeat breeding of
her big sister Luna. She is actually a
Border/Aussie and has the Aussie wiggle and bounce to prove it. There is a lot of power in her 18" frame and
her favorite thing to do is literally wind sprint everywhere she goes!
your dog have any quirks or unique habits that you would love to share?
Vu loves the water and will plow face first through any stream
or puddle she can find. We also call her
the "grunt muffin" and the "crab walker" because she grunts when you pet her
and curls into a "C" and wiggles sideways up to anyone who will show her
there any challenges you have faced with your dog that you'd be willing to
share and how you both overcame the challenge and achieved success?
I am very grateful that both my girls are biddable and have
exceptionally balanced temperaments. I
do however think the baseline to success in any endeavor is investing the time
in the early foundation and paying attention to the details. When a dog has that training, love of
learning and resulting confidence then everything else is easy.
you have other dogs/pets aside from your IFCS dog? Tell us more about them:
Vu has a big sister, Luna, the consummate "old soul" who has
been an exceptional teacher and partner in life and in agility. We also have four cats who allow us to share
the house with them, as well as two other rescue
dogs that are enjoying life on the farm.
for us what you do in your "other" non-agility life, work life?
For my day job, I manage a team of engineers that provide
pre-sales design support for a customer experience software company servicing
state and federal government agencies across the country. I also enjoy teaching agility at a local
facility one night a week and providing short series seminars as my schedule
does it feel to be on the IFCS Team this year?
I am very grateful and excited to be a part of the team
representing the U.S. It is only our
second time overseas so we still have a lot to learn and am very much looking
forward to the learning experience!
are you looking forward to the most at the World Agility Championship event in
The Netherlands this April?
I will really enjoy getting to know my fellow team members and
meeting other agility competitors from all over the world. The growth that comes from participating in
events like these is exceptional and I am very much looking forward to that
you do anything special to prepare yourself for a big competition?
When planning for a bigger event, I will generally look at when
the event occurs and plan backward from there, taking into account the total
time I have available on the time line. There is then different emphasis in different areas of the cycle with
respect to what to practice and when. Keeping
it simple and returning to basic blocking and tackling is key as you get closer
to the event.
who enjoy agility with their dogs are often intimidated by the idea of
competition - what advice would you give them to encourage them to take the
I believe that there is often some stigma attached to the
concept of competition. My view is that
competition is simply a motivator and a tool for you to focus your training
efforts - regardless of what your individual goals may be. Everyone's "why" is different - it could be
about the joy in building a relationship with your dog; satisfaction in learning a new skill; being
able to play with your dog after a knee surgery - whatever! Stay focused on your learning process and
your "why" and let the rest go!
you have a favorite dog from a book, movie, TV-show or video game?
I'm not sure I could point out a dog movie per se - but one movie
I have watched a few times and find inspirational is Secretariat - a great
commentary on what belief and determination can accomplish!