CANINE PARTNERS SPOTLIGHT – MEET BREYON AND LIGHTNING – A TALENTED TEAM WITH BIG GOALS
Breyon Gunn worked hard to convince his parents that he and his brother should have a dog, and he has more than proven to them that it was a great decision to add Lightning to the family. Little Lightning Bolt OA AXJ is an All-American Dog, and she and Breyon competed in the 2017 AKC Juniors Agility Competition in Orlando, FL. They recently moved up to the Masters level. Here, Breyon tells us about Lightning and how he got involved in Agility.
Name: Breyon Gunn
Hometown: Andover, Minnesota
Family: Tonya & Nathan Gunn, parents; Briely, brother
AKC: How old is Lightning and how did she come into your life?
Before we adopted Lightning, my younger brother and I really longed for a puppy. Our dad was completely against getting one since it would cost a lot of money and be might be difficult to take care of, or so he thought. So, we took matters into our own hands and photo copied pictures of Golden Retrievers from a pet magazine and hid them all over the house where he would find them. All this mass marketing eventually payed off, even though we ran out of paper and ink! Our dad finally complied! My mom desired a smaller Golden Retriever, so we frantically searched before our dad changed his mind. We found someone who had puppies that were a mix of Cocker Spaniel and Golden Retriever. Lightning is now 5 years old, and our dad sometimes serves her a gourmet meal for breakfast and in the evenings, will cuddle with her. Our dad cannot imagine life without Lightning, and neither can the rest of our family!
AKC: What got you started in training and competing with dogs? Tell us about what agility means to you.
Our friend recommended On the Run Canine Center for a puppy kindergarten class. While we were there we toured the facility, and watched handlers and their dogs running agility courses. Instantly I knew I wanted to train Lightning to do agility. Little did my dad know that adopting a dog would be the inexpensive part! My mom quickly signed us up for puppy agility, where we met Melissa, my instructor. She continues to coach us, whether it is at class or at trials. During my private classes with her, she encouraged me to compete in agility trials.
Other kids my age are involved in baseball, soccer, or football, but I have chosen dog agility as my main activity. I like that it is different from everyone else, because I can play and train with Lightning while still being involved in a sport.
AKC: Is your family involved in dog training/showing?
In the summer, I teach my brother and mom how to handle Lightning on agility courses in the backyard. They help set-up the dog walk to basic jumps, according to my digital course layouts. When we bring out the equipment, Lightning runs laps around the yard in excitement.
AKC: What sports does Lightning compete in and what titles/honors has she earned?
Lightning competes mainly in AKC agility events and is currently working on the last leg of her Excellent Title in Standard. Excitedly, we moved into Masters a few weekends ago as we completed our Excellent Title in Jumpers with Weaves. My grandparents even drove three hours to come watch this momentous event.
AKC: Tell us about any other dogs you may have – names, ages and what sports they compete in.
We don’t own any other dogs, just Lightning.
AKC: Do you own any “non-dog” pets?
Dogs are the superior pet. Why would I choose anything else?
AKC: What are your goals in the sport of dogs?
Earning a MACH with Lightning would be an exceptional achievement. At home, I would like to continually keep teaching her new tricks.
AKC: Do you plan to do something animal-related as a career?
Even though I enjoy agility, I plan on pursuing a career that involves computer technology and engineering. In the future, I probably will train for agility trials as a hobby. Who knows? Maybe I’ll be a judge someday.
AKC: What extracurricular are you involved with in addition to dog sports?
Currently in school, I’m working on a custom robot that can complete simple household tasks and be wirelessly controlled from my computer. I enjoy anything computer related, whether it is programming a circuit board or building a computer from scratch.