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Vera’s first owner left her to die in a box beside a busy road.

A family discovered the puppy and rescued her until their landlord discovered the new addition. Vera had to go.

The family found her a home with a teacher who had a soft heart for homeless dogs. But ultimately, the teacher had too many dogs to care for and placed Vera for adoption with rescue group Pet Overpopulation Prevention in Richland, WA.

It was through that group that Norman Price first met Vera in July 2011, and he knew it was meant to be.

“I was blessed to find her,” he said. “The truth is she rescued me. She is my best friend, and I love her very much.”

The Boxer mix’s revolving door of homes had resulted in some issues. She was extremely shy and was very nervous about riding in vehicles. “She would drool a lake in the car,” Norman said.

But Norman tackled Vera’s problems with love, patience and training. He took her to classes, which resulted in Vera earning the AKC Canine Good Citizen award.

“She has learned to be very sociable and now loves to go places in the car,” he said.

Then Norman, a resident of Kennewick, WA, heard about the sport of lure coursing, and he thought it sounded like something that Vera would love. The AKC started the Coursing Ability Test (CAT) program in 2011 to give all breeds the opportunity to experience the thrill of lure coursing. Dogs chase a lure attached to a pulley system that makes the lure zip around a field – the ultimate release of prey drive!

Norman enrolled Vera in the AKC Canine Partners program for all dogs, including mixed-breeds, with the formal name of Vera the Dragon Slayer. He entered her in her first Coursing Ability Test, and Vera indeed loved it and excelled at the sport. She has since finished the highest honor in AKC Coursing Ability — the Coursing Ability Excellent (CAX) title – twice, meaning she has passed the test at least 50 times and the title CAX2 follows her AKC registered name.

Norman continues to keep Vera busy and in confidence-building endeavors. Vera also enjoys dock diving and agility. In addition, she is Norman’s best jogging partner, running 3 to 6 miles with him several times a week, and the pair often go for long walks and play ball in the park.

“She is a very active and fun loving dog, a lot of fun to be with. She is always doing something that makes me laugh and she keeps me on my toes,” he said. “Everybody she meets loves her.

Vera competes in AKC Coursing Ability through the AKC Canine Partners program for all dogs, including mixed-breeds and rescues. For more information, look here.