Archie is a Parson Russell Terrier. He has a distinguished parson pedigree but I have never registered him as it is not important to me. He is a very sensitive little chap but has also a very strong working terrier instinct. He is bottom of my pack and is always looking out for an opportunity to advance his position within it which can create problems at times. Like nearly all terriers he needs firm but fair handling.
He loves showing off doing tricks and learns very quickly. It has taken a while to get him to work well for a toy but squeaky ones are now his favourite thing! He loves it when I get out my target stick and clicker - he loves doing 'Highs' and 'Rewinds' and 'Rollovers'. He loves the attention and the feeling he is succeeding.
His agility career has seen him winning out of starters in 2004 and then halfway to Seniors Grade 6. I then found he had very little cartilage in his back leg knees. So now we keep his knees comfortable and saved for walks. He is 16 now and slowing down a little but still enjoying life as long as he can do what he wants to do and no more
Henry came from 'The Margaret Green' rescue and rehoming kennels at Winterbourne Kingston, nr Bere Regis. He was 14 months old and I was told was unruly, out of control and aggressive in his previous home where the solution was to leave him on his own outside. He is going on eight years old now and still does not like to be left outside like that - the odd time the garden door has blown shut has shown that.
Henry has tremendous energy and drive - he needs activity and company - and so our lives of walking and going places together suited him. Like so many dogs who end up in rescue kennels he had been given no boundaries or consistency and so he really did not know how to behave. As soon as we started agility in 2002 it became clear he had talent, speed and attitude. He won out of Starters in his first competitive season (2003), was half way to Senior and quarter to Advanced by the end of that season, was Senior and half way to Advanced by the end of 2004 season and Advanced by Easter 2005. Not bad for a little rescue dog!
He is a challenge to train and even compete with at times. Being a jack russell terrier with attitude he does not always listen and is far more intent on getting the ball. I have holes in my hands and arms and clothing to prove this. But he is smart and funny and does really try to please. We love him to bits.
2007: Henry did very well over the last two weekend shows. At Nottingham (end May) he came 1st in the Championship agility qualifying round with a absolutely perfect run and as we had a fair round in the jumping one we went into the Final. Sadly I tried to help him too much on a weave entry and so got 5 faults as I pushed him too far over with a slight hand flick and even though I had to put him back to the start of the weaves he got Third overall. It was a nice bit of crystal he got for the 1st place. Over that weekend he got a whole range of trophies and rosettes – picture to come soon…..
At Hinkley over 2/3rd June we did it again. This time he came 5th in the Champ jumping qualifier and 4th in the agility one. We therefore had to run second from last having qualified in second over the two rounds. Although he worked his little heart out for me we came Third again – just missing the Reserve. This course just had the wrong balance of turns and flat out bits for him to pull it off. Horses for courses as Lesley, my trainer, would say! But I was so proud of him. Despite me thinking he is almost 9 and not to want to do too much he seems to have other ideas! It is as if he has moved on another level in terms of being able to work away and on from me. I hope he goes on wanting to be this good.
Anyway here is a fabulous pic of him at Hinkley in the Champ taken by a very kind ALAN SCORE. This picture says everything about Henry in agility – his whole face shows how much fun he is having. I love it.
So far we have had near misses for Olympia semi qualifiers but I am hoping for a direct hit soon! He has though gained 7 points towards his Crufts qualifier – that won’t be enough to clinch it but here’s hoping…..
2009: As of mid-June Henry has had to retire from agility. Following the appearance of lameness which we believed to be a slight ligament strain and then we realised was a nail bed infection, I had him x-rayed. I could see the infection had healed but he was exhibiting the same lameness. It transpires he has a compressed disc in his spine - near his tail thank goodness or the damage would be much worse. And as this affects his ability to extend he must now stop agility and indeed any jumping on and off things like stairs etc.
It is hard to end such a brilliant agility partnership but for his sake it must be done. At least he gets to stop while he is still at the top. Not for him to struggle on to old age - he will always be remembered as he has always been - fit and full on 'Rescue Me Henry'! That is still one of the best names on the agility circuit - thanks to Iain for that one! Henry is already enjoying watching all the new kids on the block in Small agility Champ rings while he chomps on his agility ball.
At home he is having rest days and walks days with a view to maintaining fitness to ensure he can enjoy all his usual walks - even, we hope, the mountains and Dartmoor and the coast path.
Henry has taken me to places I did not even know existed in agility and taught me so much. I owe him everything.
Click on small phototographs for larger image, click at base of photo to return to this page
Poppy Be Nimble, Be Quick
Archie, Nellie, Henry, Poppy
Nellie, Archie, Henry, Poppy
Nellie, Poppy, Archie, Henry