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CT H.E.L.P.Er. VCD1 BN RM2 RAE2 FDC MX MXJ MJB OF SWN SCA SEA SBA SHDN CGCA TKP ATT TD owned by Alyson L. Deines-Schartz and Tim J. Schartz of San Diego, CA  

Helper was 34 points and two triple Q’s away from her Rally Championship when COVID brought rally trials to a halt, so she took up the perfect pandemic sport: Tracking.  

In 2010, Aly and Tim adopted Helper from Ravensgate Border Collie Rescue when she was just under a year old. Helper had reactivity issues but was also quite active. Luckily the Cascade Comet Flyball team welcomed her into their fold. With flyball and agility as outlets, Helper calmed into a new life as a sports dog.  

They started to dabble in other sports such as Obedience, Rally, and Scent Work. Agility has always been her favorite, and in 2018 Helper qualified for and competed in the AKC National Agility Championship. 

At 11 years of age and after a few injuries, she has had to throw her enthusiasm into lower impact sports, so they began to focus on Rally. Helper was inching closer to her RACH in early 2020 when COVID exploded, and the trials were canceled. Luckily a good friend introduced Aly and Helper to Tracking, a sport well suited for social distancing. Helper took to it with enthusiasm and spent most of 2020 training in large parks and empty shopping centers. In early 2021, she finally got into her first trial. 

“Despite her handler’s mistakes,” said Aly, “she passed her TD, TDX, and VST in three trials over a nerve wracking six-week period (well, nerve wracking for her handler, at least!) and earned her Champion Tracking title on March 21, 2021.” 

In spring, Rally trials resumed, and Helper finally earned her RACH at the Obedience Club of San Diego County’s trial on May 15, 2021.