Katie, a 10-pound, All American dog and her owner/handler Alison Day are the first team in Colorado to earn the AKC Agility Grand Champion (AGCH) title. Katie, who has competed in AKC agility since 2013, completed the championship a few weeks before her thirteenth birthday at the Mile-hi Golden Retriever Club trial on July 2, in Castle Rock, Colorado.
“When AKC announced the AGCH in 2016, I wanted to try for it,” Day said. “It was a lofty goal that sounded impossible, but I thought, ‘I can do it,’ and I just never gave up. Neither did Katie.”
The AGCH title requires a total of 450 qualifying runs in six different classes. Katie’s title performance came on a Time 2 Beat course designed by Judge Tricia Dunseith. “Time 2 Beat is a little easier than some of the other classes so I saved one to end on,” said Day.
Day and her husband, Pat Clements, traveled to 12 states outside of Colorado to complete the title. Although AKC agility is extremely popular in Colorado, most trials in the state do not include all of the classes required for the AGCH.
While Katie might not look like a typical agility champion, Day believes that her tiny size can actually give her an advantage. “Some of the premier courses require tight turns and tricky angles,” explained Day. “Sometimes it’s easier to shape a path for a small dog like Katie.”
On the road to the AGCH, Katie had to overcome a luxating patella. “I thought that might end her career,” said Day. “But her vet recommended continuing agility because it keeps her in excellent physical shape.” Katie gets regular massages to help with any pain she might experience.
“Katie is a great agility dog and the best partner I could ever ask for,” Day said. “The AGCH ribbon is literally bigger than she is. It’s a perfect way to end her AKC career.”