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IFCS Team Profile: Judy Reilly

A profile of IFCS Team Member Judy Reilly and Tempest.

Where do you live?

Amenia, NY - a small town half way between New York City and Albany.

How did you first get involved with agility?

When I was a kid my mom took me to the National Horse Show at Madison Square Garden. Agility was a demo between the classes. I thought it was amazing! In the mid-90's I took my German Shepherd Dog to obedience classes and one of the instructors did agility with her German Shepherd Dog. I wanted to do it too so I started taking agility classes with her.

What made you decide to compete?

As a kid I did lots of school sports, and rode horses and went to horse shows. So for me it just was natural to want to compete.

Do you participate in any other dog sports or training with your dogs?

I started with obedience, and also did some flyball, and dabbled in Disc Dogs. But eventually agility took over.

Tell us more about the dog you will be competing with as an IFCS Team Member?  

Tempest is a mix: half Border Collie and half Jack Russell Terrier. I got her from a friend who was that very same obedience/agility instructor I learned from 20 years before.

Does your dog have any quirks or unique habits that you loved to share?  

When I brought Tempest home I put her with my Border Collie with a rock solid temperament and within 30 seconds they were playing. I knew right then Tempest was special. I have always had German Shepherd Dogs and Border Collies. So this was my first experience with a terrier, even if it was only half. When asked if I see more of the Border Collie or the Jack Russell Terrier, I see both. She stalks the other dogs, then steals their toys! She is also the most food-driven dog I have ever had. She loves toys and tugging but we worked hard to make both equal reinforcements. She takes nothing seriously. For her doing agility is pure fun with rewards at the end. She never watches the ring and barely notices the other dogs running during pairs or relay. She quietly sleeps in a crate next to the ring. She loves to cuddle but does not like to be picked up.

Do you have other dogs/pets aside from your IFCS dog? Tell us more about them:  

We currently have five dogs including Tempest. Four have done agility. Currently competing with Tempest and my nine-and-a-half-year-old Border Collie Rivet. Sony is 14-1/2-year-old Border Collie with the rock solid temperament. And Lotus is an 11-year-old German Shepherd Dog. Both are retired. We also have a young Border Collie, Turbo. He does not do agility and he is my son's dog AKA "not mine." My husband is a contractor and Turbo and Lotus go to work with him every day.

Describe for us what you do in your "other" non-agility life, work life? 

I am a veterinary assistant for a Holistic Practice in Connecticutt, which specializes in chiropractic, acupuncture and herbal medicine for both small and large animals, mostly horses but we have a done a few cows!

How does it feel to be on the IFCS Team this year?

It's very exciting. The team has some great seasoned dogs and some fabulous young dogs.

What are you looking forward to the most at the World Agility Championship event in Spain this April?  

The experience - this is our first international competition for both of us. I am not sure what to expect from Tempest or myself. I am sure there will be nerves for us both. We have really started to gel together over the past year. I want to continue that connection and trust in Spain.

Do you do anything special to prepare yourself for a big competition?

Tracey Sklenar has been fabulous in sending us skills and drills to work on. Winter here in New York is tough. I don't have a lot of access to large facilities and the drills are great for the small space I can get to. Tempest has had some time off with little training most of January. I feel a break is essential for the body and the mind. February, March and early April is filled with seminars and trials. And as soon as the ice melts enough to get out and hike more often we will be doing a lot of that.

People 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 plunge?  

Remember it's still only a game to your dog. They know nothing of the ribbons and Q's we get excited about. Leaving the ring with a happy dog is the ultimate win.


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