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Former Shelter Dog Becomes Top-Titled Fast CAT All American!

Turned in as a stray to a shelter in Alabama and then turned back in by her first adoptive family, Holly was lucky that Danny Terry realized her potential and took her home. The now 8-year-old dog has the impressive formal name of DMT’s Christmas In Dixie FDC CAX7 FCAT32 CGCA CGCU TKP and is the most titled Fast CAT mixed-breed dog and one of the most titled of all breeds!

A lifelong dog lover, Danny Terry found himself between canine buddies in 2016, but not quite ready for a new addition.

So, he did a next best thing. He volunteered at his local humane society so he could spend time with many dogs that needed attention.

One day, a young black and white female was turned in as a stray. No one knew anything about her past history. But he felt an instant bond.

“Something about her was special,” the Alabama resident said.

She soon was adopted. Danny missed her, but felt happy that she had a home. Two months later, the family returned her, and this time, Danny did not miss out.

“I couldn’t let her go again. I’m so glad I decided to take a chance on her,” he said. “It hasn’t always been easy, but it turned out to be the best decision I ever made.”

The year-old Holly came home with Danny, and their adventure began. At first, she struggled with fear and anxiety issues.

“She was a high-energy dog and needed a job to do. But at the same time, she was scared of unfamiliar people and places,” he said. “Getting involved in training and sports helped build her confidence.”

As her training progressed, Holly bloomed. Danny considered dog sports as another outlet for her.

“I first read about CAT and Fast CAT online when I was researching sports that mixed breeds are eligible for,” he said. “The first time Holly saw a lure course, she immediately knew what to do! She had a natural aptitude for it and loved to run.”

The Coursing Ability Test (CAT) and Fast CAT allow dogs to exercise their natural prey drive by chasing a white trash bag attached to a pulley-type lure system. Lure coursing has been a long-time sport for sight hounds, such as Greyhounds and Whippets, but all breeds love the chase.

Photo Courtesy of Kim Langevin (Blue Dog Photography)

Holly’s initial excitement about the lure has never waned. Now 8 years old, Holly has achieved FCAT32 and CAX7. She is the highest titled All American Dog in Fast CAT and the fourth highest titled of all breeds.

“She’s not as fast as she used to be, but that’s okay,” Danny said. “As long as she enjoys it, we plan to keep running.”

Her love of the sport inspired Danny to learn all he could, and he is now a judge and lure operator and works at numerous tests, helping other discover the fun sports.

Holly also enjoys other sports, having tried agility, scent work, weight pull, dock diving and more.

“It’s great that AKC offers the Canine Partners program so mixed breeds can participate,” Danny said. “Beyond sports, Holly enjoys hiking and camping. She’s my best friend, my pride and joy, and has enriched my life beyond measure.”

If you are interested in trying Coursing Agility and Fast CAT with your dog, Danny has the following tips, especially if starting with an older dog: 

  • Physical check-up: Have your dog examined by a veterinarian to make sure there are no health issues that would contradict a sport like CAT or Fast CAT
  • Stay Fit: Your dog doesn’t have to be a top-level athlete to join in the fun, but should be reasonably fit before entering your first event. An overweight or out-of-condition dog is more likely to overheat or get injured.
  • Warm-up: On the day of the event, you should not take your dog straight out of the car or crate and expect them to run top speed. Ideally, take a few minutes to warm them up beforehand and cool them down afterwards. A senior dog may need more time to recover between runs. Doing this will help set your dog up for success.
  • Keep trying: CAT and Fast CAT can be enjoyable for many different breeds. If your dog doesn’t “get it” the first time, don’t be discouraged. Sometimes it does take a few tries to figure out the game.