Agility Helped Me Cope With Devastating Family Illness

Being involved in agility and dog competitions is about much more than the win and that perfect circuit. Aljeana Baddley has revealed how competing in agility helped her to cope with some emotionally painful times in her life. Baddley, from Buerton, Cheshire, in England, started out in agility in 1998 with her cocker spaniel, having previously been involved in obedience.  Her involvement in competitions has gone from strength to strength and this year Badddley and her dogs, Jodie and Jaz, will compete in the Kennel Club International Agility Festival this year in Rockingham, Market Harborough, the world’s largest agility competition.
Speaking to the Kennel Club, Baddley explained how being involved in the agility and dog community helped her to deal with the stress of her mother’s illness and how her mother even held on to the memories of her competitions. 
She said “My mother could remember things that I had been doing in agility so we would talk a lot about the shows. I found agility gave me a release from the distress of seeing my Mum with dementia. I am so glad I found agility back in 1998. It all could have been so much harder but for the support, fun and laughter that agility with my dogs and agility friends has given me.”
Shortly after dealing with the initial shock of her own mother’s illness, Baddley’s father-in-law was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
She continued “This was such a difficult time but again we found that the agility circuit really helped us through it. I believe having dogs that you compete in an activity with gives you such a strong bond that it can get you through the worst times. I love agility and I’m really looking forward to competing at the International Agility Festival this year.”
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary said, “Agility is a fun activity that creates a wonderful bond between dog and owner.  Not only is it good for your dog to keep active but it also provides a support network of friends within the world of agility.
“The International Agility Festival is the largest agility festival in the world. Anyone can enter their dog in the show and it’s a fantastic event for both competitors and spectators alike. We wish Aljeana all the best for the festival.”
The International Agility Festival will be held at Rockingham Castle in Rockingham, from Thursday, August 13 until Sunday, August 16. More than 2,700 dogs of all types, sizes and experience levels will compete across 16 agility rings, with dogs jumping and weaving their way around the various courses.
For more information on the festival, visit