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In Memory of Luka, One of USDAA's Greatest Champions

A memorial for Luka by Ashley Deacon.

Luka De La Brise - 10/07/2002  - 9/07/2016

Luka passed away peacefully yesterday evening just two weeks after being diagnosed with cancer. She was my first dog as an adult and was my loyal and devoted companion for 14 years. We learned agility together from scratch. She stuck with my failings as a trainer and taught me many lessons along the way that will live with me forever. 

Luka was not the most confident dog. She was shy and introverted, but she loved to do things with me, whether it was hiking, doing obedience exercises or attending agility class. She showed me that a strong trusting bond and relationship were vital for whatever we would pursue together and I did my best to foster that. She always kept me in the moment, focused on the journey, rather than on the destination. Today as I look back, our many agility accomplishments pale in comparison to the incredible journey.

Luka loved hiking, while we hiked she would always find the highest places to perch. She loved to run, often defying gravity as she sped down treacherous slopes or through thick undergrowth. She would cover huge distances, always taking detours and racing out and back. She was always sure footed and graceful. She never fell or hurt herself. She carried these skills with her onto the agility field. She soared over the A-frame, always with a smile on her face. She was an incredible jumper. Occasionally in practice Luka would encounter a missed 26" jump - she would take it in her stride without the slightest hesitation.

Some of our favorite times together were at Wednesday evening agility class with Jim Basic and Nancy Gyes at Powerpaws. I look back with fond memories on the fun and camaraderie we shared in class. The atmosphere was always festive and we often celebrated each other's successes. I always tried to take that attitude with me into competition - to make each run something special to celebrate. As we stepped to the line at the World Championships I recall Nancy telling me to "run it like it's Wednesday night." 

Despite her shy nature Luka loved big competitions. I am sure she fed off my energy and she would invariably respond and put in her best performances when it counted the most. She won the majority of finals she participated in. When I was growing up in the UK I used to watch a TV show called "One Man and His Dog," which featured herding trials. I remember being fascinated by the level of communication required between the handler and dog as they rounded up and penned the sheep. I could never have imagined what the name of that show would come to mean to me &

There is a big hole in my heart today, but I wanted to share a little bit of Luka.

RIP Luka

- Ashley Deacon

  • Three-time USDAA Grand Prix Champion (2007, 2009, 2011)
  • Five-time USDAA Steeplechase Champion (2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010)
  • She stands #1 lifetime currently in Standard, Jumpers and Tournament, 2nd in Snooker and 3rd in Gamblers.
  • FCI World Agility Champion 2011
  • FCI Team Silver Medal 2009
  • Three-time AKC National Agility Champion (2007,2011,2012)
  • Two-time AKC Invitational Champion (2006, 2009)

Photo Information: Top photo - 2011 Grand Prix of Dog Agility Winners


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