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We Say Goodbye to an Old Friend

Renee King's amazing Hamlet, an agility legend, has passed on.

Renee and Hamlet. Photo courtesy of

Officially known as ADCH LAA Gold Lord Hamlet of King Manor PTM-B JCH-P RCH-P SCH-P TM-P MX MXB MXJ MJS XF NAC NJC NGC FDX CGC (earning the impressive USDAA Agility Dog Champion title, various platinum titles, and Lifetime Achievement Award as well as many titles in other organizations), Hamlet was a speedy, fun little Jack Russell Terrier that was born in August of 1998.

Renee took Hamlet to a puppy class soon after she got him and he showed potential for canine sports right away. Upon graduation, he was invited to attend a competition obedience class. From there, he went on to try other sports, but ultimately, Renee and Hamlet settled on agility as their favorite. And it's a good thing they did, because they sure excelled at it!

Hamlet was known for being very fast on course. Renee and Hamlet made a great team, and their speed and accuracy led them to top the podium in both national and international competition. Renee and Hamlet won the 2001 $10,000 Dog Agility Steeplechase® Championships and placed sixth with their Dog Agility Masters team that year, they got fourth place in the 2003 $10,000 Dog Agility Steeplechase® Championships (and missed third by only .05), earned third place in the 2004 $10,000 Dog Agility Steeplechase® Championships, and won the 2008 Performance Versatility Pairs Jumpers class at the age of 10.

Renee and Hamlet also represented the USA the 2004 and 2006 IFCS World Agility Championship Teams, winning five Gold medals the first time, becoming the Overall 16" World Champion. At the 2006 IFCS World Agility Championships, he continued his international winning streak, earning Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals, including Overall 16" Silver Medal. Renee and Hamlet also earned many other awards and had varied achievements, including Hamlet's portrayl of Toto in a Houston production of The Wiz. "He took me on the most amazing rides in my life," says Renee.

Along with his extremely successful agility career, Hamlet was a fun and loving pet. "You would think that a JRT with that much 'drive' and craziness would be tough to travel with and be around other dogs. Nope, the exact opposite. He was a dream to travel with. Easy and good, and his love of other dogs never stopped. He loved to play with other dogs and puppies. He was great at it and helped teach them how to be good dogs. He was such a kind dog but not afraid to correct other dogs when needed. He was the best puppy raiser. He raised his brother Racket, Cisco, and Swig as well as many other people's pups too," says Renee.

Hamlet won five Gold Medals at the IFCS World Agility Championships, held in Spain, in 2004. Photo courtesy of Donna Rohaus.

Hamlet loved his family! From left to right, Racket, Hamlet's younger full brother at 10, Hamlet at 13, and Cisco the Border Collie at 6. Photo courtesy of Martine Kopka.

Two weeks ago, Hamlet's vet found a mass near Hamlet's heart, and it had already spread to his lungs. On January 3rd, Renee said goodbye to her dear friend. "He was there for me through so many changes in my life; it is hard to think about facing the night without him beside me. God blessed me so much with Hamlet. I could give thanks everyday and still not cover it. I hope that he is running and playing again like he loved to do. Sleep well my beloved precious boy, I miss you," Renee says.

The USDAA staff expresses its sympathy at the loss of this amazing canine athlete.

Hamlet at the beach. Photo courtesy of Martine Kopka.

Renee has created a photo tribute video of Hamlet, which includes some photos and memorabilia from USDAA Championship events in years past. You can see it at


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