Posted Date: August 9, 2017
Owner/Handler Lauren Stein held a retirement party for her dog at the BARK-NH trial this past July.
by Lauren Stein
As bittersweet as the moment was, I am quite thankful to be one of the competitors to have had the opportunity to plan my dog's USDAA retirement run. Over the nine years of our competitive journey in USDAA, Hailey McBean earned six of her seven biggest "brags" during BARK Agility shows - her ADCH Bronze, P-ADCH, LAA Bronze, LAA Silver, LAA Gold and, lastly, her Veterans Jumper Championship. So many memories and friendships were made during our journeys up to New Hampshire and I knew this is was exactly where I would want to plan Hailey's retirement, if we could get so lucky.
On July 22nd, 2017, my agility journey with Hailey McBean came full circle and we surrounded ourself with some of the same people who witnessed our very first "run" back in 2008. Nine years later, at 12.5 year of age, Hailey ran her retirement run under the most hospitable host of all hosts, Lo Baker and BARK Agility, and under our cherished judge and friend, Sheri Boone.
It was quite an emotional day for me, but I tried, with the help of all our friends, to make it a true celebration for Hailey. From the moment I pulled into the parking lot, my tears started flowing, but seeing the competitors hopping out of their cars donned in all different shades of purple, Hailey's color, helped soothe my sadness. Thru all my tears, seeing the sea of purple supporters, gave me the strength to get off the start line and run. Hailey and I ran our final Veterans Jumpers run to the music of Katy Perry's "ROAR" chosen for these lyrics:
I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire,
'Cause I am a champion and you're gonna hear me roar.
Louder, louder than a lion,
'Cause I am a champion and you're gonna hear me ROAR!
Hailey McBean's championship status goes way beyond the agility ring as she has fought thru many significant health issues after being rescued from a shelter as a young puppy. She has overcome many obstacles with the strength, grace and a perfect balance of Houla-style goofiness! As my very first agility dog, Hailey has proven to be once-in-a-lifetime canine companion and has undoubtedly changed the course of my life. Of all the gifts Hailey has given me, she has blessed me with a lifetime of memories and found us a niche in this wonderful USDAA agility family. As a result of Hailey's love for this sport, we are now a crazy minivaning, five-Catahoula Leopard Dog loving, family!
A video of Hailey McBean's retirement run: