Millie Maye FDC SWE SCM SIM SEM CGCA CGCU TKP owned by Ken & Amy Matthews of Plano, TX
Ken found 5-week-old Millie on the side of a rural road in June 2010. She had been dumped with a bag of garbage and, given the 100+ degree temperature, parasitic infections and her emaciated, dehydrated body condition, she was hours from death. He grabbed her up and brought her back from east Texas so that they could foster her through Amy’s rescue program. Once she was healthy, Amy placed her into a home that she had conscientiously screened.
Unfortunately, the resident dog took a dislike to Millie and proceeded to beat her up on a regular basis. Eventually, the adopters revealed what had been going on and Amy picked Millie up that very evening.
Millie came back to stay with Amy and Ken forever. But her social skills had been decimated and she was decidedly anxious and reactive with new dogs and suspicious of new people. “Her threshold (until she reacted) was about a neighborhood block. Our once confident, happy-go-lucky puppy was now anything but. Inside our home, we had our old Millie, but excursions were just exercises in heartache (for what had been lost) and frustration,” Amy said. Still, she wasn’t giving up. She just didn’t know what would work. At this point Amy wasn’t involved in formal training of her own dogs; they were “home schooled.” Instead, her time was heavily invested in rescuing, fostering and placing puppies for two rescue groups.
In 2012 – well over a year after Millie’s return – a rescue friend posted a video of a “sniffing class” that she was taking with her shy rescue dog. Amy was immediately drawn in when she saw how much her friend’s dog engaged with the activity. “I told myself that if I ever got the opportunity to take such a class with Millie, I would make it a priority. As fate would have it, What A Great Dog in Frisco, TX and trainer Mickey offered the very first scent work class in my area not too long after that and I jumped on it.”
Change in Millie’s confidence and security in the world came gradually, but it came, class by class, week by week and year by year. They started trialing and earning Qs. It turned out that Millie had a real talent for finding the hides.
Along the way, Millie suffered two torn cruciates and endured five knee surgeries, but she never missed a beat. Not only was she successfully competing in scent work, she was earning titles in trick training, parkour, and a host of temperament tests. Just this past weekend, 11-year-old Millie and Ken earned AKC’s Scent Work Master title, plus two Detective Qs back to back. “Words will never explain what this sport has done for Millie and for us. It gave her a quality of life that she just would not have had otherwise. And how heartwarming is it knowing that your dog is living her best life?”