It’s Flyball Fever for Alissa & Her Racing Partner Xena

Teen-ager Alissa Hayes and her mixed-breed Xena love burning up the flyball lanes. Xena is the fastest dog on Alissa’s team, Mutts in Motion. Alissa was born into a flyball family and everyone competes, from grandmother to her sister!

Alissa Hayes
Age: 16
Hometown: Fresno, CA
Grade: High School junior
Family: Parents, Kathy & Jim Hayes, one older brother, two older sisters

What got you started in training and competing with dogs?
“I was born into the sport of flyball along with my siblings. My mom was the person who got our family involved in flyball more than 20 years ago. From then my grandma joined, and my oldest sister got her own dog when she was 10. Currently, we have three dogs participating, plus one in training and three retired, for a total of seven!”

How old were you when you started competing?
“At the age of 5, I ran one of our six dogs.”

Tell us about your dog.
"I got my own dog when I was 11 years old. Her name is Xena, and she is a very active Jack Russell Terrier-Whippet mix. She is 5 years’ old and competes in flyball, 4-H obedience, and 4-H showmanship trials. We also participate in dock diving and coursing for fun. She is the fastest dog in our flyball club and can easily run the course at 19 miles per hour. She has the muscles of a Whippet, which allows her to jump 5 feet straight up, and the terrier in her gives a heightened prey drive.”

What titles and honors have you earned?
“We have earned ribbons in 4-H obedience and 4-H showmanship. Xena has her AKC Canine Good Citizen certificate. Additionally, Xena and I have won numerous titles in flyball in both the North American Flyball Association (NAFA) and the United Flyball League International (U-FLI) organizations, including some fun awards like ‘Most Fun Junior Handler to Watch.’ ”

What's your favorite sport with your dog?
“My favorite sport is flyball! I love Mutts in Motion, which is the club that my family and I are members of, and I couldn't ask for a better dog to run.”

Do you own any non-dog pets?
“We also own a 600-pound pig that is best friends with our dogs.”

What's your future goals in the sport of dogs?
“I would like Xena to earn more than 30,000 points before she retires from flyball. I want to participate in earthdog, which is an underground hunting sport. I hope to enter Xena into every dog sport available at least once.”

Do you plan to do something animal related as a career?
“Yes, I plan on becoming a pet nutrition specialist so I can help animals without seeing them injured.”