On Good Friday, six years ago, I was on holiday with my family, cycling the 70km long Queen Charlotte track. We had just gotten the news I had been waiting for – my first puppy had just been born. Though I’ve had dogs my entire life and used to spend hours trying to teach the working dogs how to do tricks, Flight was the first puppy that belonged only to me. She was mine for life, to be cared for, trained and most importantly – loved.
When I found out that of there was just one female puppy in the litter, I knew she was mine. I spent the rest of that ride trying to come up with a name for my new bundle of joy. Being a future agility/trick/working dog born on Good Friday to a mother named Flirt, I decided that Flight was perfect.
When I finally got to meet her, I fell in love. Even being the runt of the litter and the only female pup, she still kept all of her brothers in line! But when she was done playing she would come over to me and fall asleep on my lap.
I didn’t know anything about photography back then, so I just grabbed my mum’s fancy 4-megapixel point-and-shoot camera and snapped away until I got a photo I liked. Flight (left) was my number one subject.
What made these puppies even more special was that my mum also chose a puppy to train. Her top Huntaway Flin was starting to slow down so she wanted a tough Heading Dog to train up to help him on the farm and eventually take over when Flin retired.
Patch was a trouble maker from the beginning – on their first walk down the farm he decided he would jump in the drain for a swim. He thought it was great fun, but I wasn’t so amused when the other 6 less-athletic puppies rolled in afterwards. I had to jump in the filthy drain to pull them all out while he lay out in the sun to watch the chaos he had created!
Together mum and I trained those two puppies, even taking them out to agility classes for a while. Flight was awesome, flying around the course. Patch thought it would be more fun to go see what the other dogs were up to instead! When most dogs I’ve had take a few months to master the weave poles, Flight learned to weave her first 6 at the beach in one day. Even when I didn’t have agility jumps, they would fly over a course of fence tapes, never touching a single one. Here’s a couple of my early attempts at agility photos – the right image was taken around 2011, the left in 2012.
Slightly off topic, but how’s this for an improvement shot – here’s an image I took on the weekend at the WAG Jumpers Champs.
Flight and Patch last year – both such laid back, loving dogs.
6 years ago I thought that I would be the one to look after Flight, but since then they have looked after me. Whether it be helping put away a mob of bulls in the middle of the night, keeping me company in tough times or putting up with endless modelling sessions as I have worked on improving my craft. We don’t go to agility classes anymore (though I’d love to start again when my schedule allows) but they still love playing around my course at home. Patch has been working with our farm manager for the last couple of months and his having a blast, while Flight is helping to show my young dogs the ropes.
My two-in-a-million dogs.