Posted Date: April 28, 2008
Learn about Janet Gauntt and her thoughts on this year's team. By Brenna Fender
Team manager Janet L. Gauntt lives in Columbia, Maryland, and is a software design engineer of distributed process control systems for Novatech Process Solutions. Janet has been involved in dog sports since 1981 and dog agility since 1988. She originally started out with Shelties and drifted into Border Collies and Swedish Vallhunds. Two of Janet's Shetland Sheepdogs, Lacey and Sam, and her Border Collie Legend, have consistently been semi-finalists at Nationals since the early 90's. Janet and Sam made the Steeplechase finals one year as well. Janet also teaches and judges and she has served the USDAA as a board member and course reviewer since the mid-90's. In 2006, she coached the USDAA team at the IFCS World Agility Competition in the Netherlands.
|Clockwise from upper right: Sci-Fi, Janet, Legend, Romance, and Sequel. Photo by Sally Josselyn. |
BF: What are you doing now to get ready for the big event?
JL: As team manager, I am mostly just handling the logistics of getting the team there and assisting [coach] Stacy with training ideas for the team.
BF: Which of the USDAA team's strengths do you think will come in handy in IFCS competition and why?
JL: The USDAA board tinkered a lot with the formula we had put together in 2005 to select the gold-winning 2006 team. While it obviously had been a successful formula, we took note that it required much more dedication to point accumulation over a year's time than many people could reasonably attempt. The formula we used last year - point accumulation from a limited number of regionals and the finals - was more achievable both timewise and financially but still required a mastery of skills across the board in all the classes and games. I feel this new selection criteria has again produced a team of handlers and dogs that can consistently excel under tough competition in a wide variety of challenges and I'm very proud of the team we are sending.
BF: Tell us something about you that we don't know.
JL: My first encounter with agility was in 1988 while I was living and working in Switzerland. While there, I trained with the club Hundesport Allschwil, which was just beginning to get involved with agility. At that time, there was exactly one jump height - 75 cm (30"). I only had one Sheltie, Merlin, who was large enough at 17" to do this jump height, so he was my first agility dog. Though Merlin was competitively disadvantaged at that height, I was hooked and helped found an agility club, Artful Dodgers Agility, when I got back to the States.
Help Team USA in their quest for the gold by visiting the USDAA Online Store. Sponsorship packages, a lapel pin, and DVDs are now being sold in support of Team USA to help fund their travel to Belgium.