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You're Never Too Old to Start Agility

Cozie McGuire doesn't let being a senior citizen slow her down in the agility ring! Interview by Brenna Fender

Back in June, Cozette (Cozie) McGuire, who lives in Schnecksville, Pennsylvania, earned her first USDAA agility title. Want to know what's extra-amazing about that? SHE'S 89-AND-A-HALF YEARS OLD! With her canine partner, a 10-year-old Golden Retriever named Caper, Cozie has earned titles in several agility registries as well as obedience and rally. Because this is awesome, I contacted Cozie to learn more about her agility journey:

Brenna Fender (BF): Cozie, I hope you don't mind that we are focusing on your age in this article! Please let me know if you are not comfortable with that.

Cozie McGuire (CM): No, I don't mind at all.  I have thoroughly enjoyed agility and those who compete in it, and I do believe that old adage "Use it or lose it."

BF: When and how did you get started in agility?

CM:  For several years I had done obedience with my Labrador Retrievers, but when the last one showed a reluctance to continue with it (he actually blew all but the long down in his last show!),  Mardi [McGuire-Closson, Cozie's daughter] suggested agility.  It was all fun from that point on. I'm not sure of the date, but believe it was March of '07 when we got our first AKC agility leg.

BF: Tell me about the dog you run in agility. I understand she's not actually your dog, is that right?
CM: She is a 10-year-old Golden Retriever named Caper (Pine Run's L'il Misdemeanor).  Caper is owned by Clyde [Closson, Cozie's son-in-law] who so kindly told me I could "play" with her after my last Lab died.

BF: Did you do any agility training with your Lab before you started working with Caper?

CM: I did briefly do agility with my Lab and he loved it.  But then I needed a hip replacement and did not try agility again with him.  He went on with an instructor until retirement.  After his death I did no agility until Clyde so kindly offered to let me work with his Caper.

BF: I understand that you and Caper earned the Starters Pair Relay title at the Keystone Agility Club's trial in Barto, Pennsylvania on June 15th, 2012. Who was your partner? How did you choose your partner for each leg?

CM: Mardi and Quiver. (Other two legs were also with Mardi, but with [her dogs] Brash and Screech.)
BF: Did it seem difficult for you to complete the title?

CM: Easier than I expected, as we had just finished a six-month's lay-off due to an accident.

BF: Accident? Yours or Caper's?

CM: It was my accident! Seemed I decided to walk around my apartment one midnight without turning on lights, missed a step, and fell face first on the tile floor.  All because I was unaware I had an infection and not thinking straight!  Big hoohaw.  Except for residual numbness in left hand, I'm fine now.

BF: Goodness! What kind of challenges do you and your dog face on course?
CM: Making time.  Plus my physical limitations due to arthritis and hip replacements.

BF: What parts of agility have been easy for you so far?

CM: Caper helps make it easy because she really listens to what I say and is a very reliable jumper.

BF: What is your favorite USDAA agility class?

CM: Jumpers and Pairs.

BF: What are your plans for your agility future?
CM: Hopefully to continue.

BF: Do you have any last comments to share?
CM: [Agility is] a terrific sport with wonderful dogs and friendly people who have shown great tolerance to older competitors.

Want to see Cozie and Caper's title-winning run? Visit and watch them rock!

Brenna Fender is the editor of subscriber news, the USDAA newsletter, and is an associate editor at Clean Run Magazine. She is a also a freelance writer and blogs at For information on how to contribute material to, please contact her at

Photo courtesy of Cozie McGuire and Mardi McGuire-Closson.


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