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IFCS Team Profile: Mary Ann Wurst

A profile of IFCS Team USA alternate member Mary Ann Wurst and her dog Hijack.

Where do you live?

Lebanon, NJ

How did you first get involved with agility?

I rode horses and was involved in three-day eventing. I was at Fair Hill and saw dogs competing in agility (Dam Team Championships) in 1999. I asked some competitors about the sport and they introduced me to Elicia Calhoun who was teaching in New Jersey at the time. 

My two-year-old rescue Aussie Cooper was the perfect candidate so I signed up for lessons. We never looked back attending every nationals with lots of success. He was the 2006 veterans Grand Prix 22" champion.

What made you decide to compete?  

It looked fun and it was so very similar to my horse sports.    

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

Until agility my dogs were my constant companions on the farm. They went everywhere with me from conditioning cross country to the dressage ring where they would wait patiently under the trailer until I returned.

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

Hijack (Jackie) is a six-year-old female Aussie from New Spirit 4 Aussie Rescue. Her mom was a result of a farm surrender in Kentucky (the dad ran away from rescuers although we do have pictures). A friend fostered Lyna (the mom) to experience whelping a litter. Jackie was the first-born and the remaining nine were C section.

I had hip replacement surgery and was home recovering so she wanted me to come help socialize the puppies who were all spoken for. I already had three dogs and no plans for another right away.

At four weeks of age she would not leave me alone even when I played with all 10!!

I went back again two weeks later and she pretty much told me I was hers. She arrived at eight weeks of age like she knew us  already.

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

Sweet, biddable and oh those eyes - very endearing - Black bi Aussie with a tail :) She has my husband wrapped around her paw.

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

  • Mille - 14-year-old Border Collie who is a retired awesome agility dog. 
  • Stitch - 10-year-old Border Collie. My boy that never acts his age. Loves agility and life.
  • Nick - two-year-old Border Collie. A future star.

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

I am a medical dosimetrist in a cancer center. My patients have taught me so much - live and love every day. 

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

Honored to be part of such a talented and supportive group of teammates. Love the camaraderie!

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

Hijack and I are alternates and we will be supporting the team all the way. Also training with the ability to step in at any time if needed.

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

Bring my mental game to every competition especially the small ones. Have a goal for myself for every training no matter how small.

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?  

It's only you and your dog out there as a team and those are the only eyes you have to answer. Agility requires teamwork and trust built over time. Be patient with your partner and they will always forgive your mistakes.

Do you have a favorite dog from a book, movie, TV-show or video game?  

The bond Timmy had with Lassie was always close to my heart growing up.


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