How My Beloved Boxer Earned the Nickname "Wild Wally"
by Janey Wilcox
My boxer, Wally, and I started training for agility in the summer of '98; a new thing for both of us. We loved it! We were doing absolutely fabulous at class (well, besides the occasional boxer bonus jump or extra A-frame or victory lap) and by the summer of '99 I felt my wonder boy was ready to compete!
I entered him in a 3 day, outdoor trial (remember, I was very new at this too). The only thing separating the novice ring from the on-lookers and the elite ring was a string of flags. I was nervous but excited as I naively stepped to the start line with him on that very first run. It was a Gambler's run and I had scrupulously studied my strategy. When the timer told me "ready" I tried to lead out but Wally broke his "wait" command, ran around the jump, tore past the A-frame and without a second glance at me went out of the ring into the audience where he did a smiling, "catch me if you can" loop.
I was stunned. "Wally Come!" I called. (He normally has an excellent recall.) Well, he came; towards me, past me, over a jump, over to visit the judge, into the elite ring to do a quick tunnel, back past me, over another jump, out of the ring to visit the crowd again, and that's when I looked at the judge, said "Thank you", and left the ring, mortified, calling my crazed dog to come with me. This went on for two days. Every run. I could maybe get him to do a couple of obstacles and then off he'd go, on his own agenda, having fun. The Border Collie people watched in horror. I was embarrassed but determined to see it through.
All the competitors now knew me. Since there was another Wally competing, a little Welsh Terrier, people dubbed my dog "Wild Wally" to differentiate between the two. On the third day he finally decided he might like to stay in the ring with me a bit and during a jumpers run we almost qualified. The crowd yelled and clapped. I was ecstatic.
This story does have a happy ending. At our second trial (seven months later) he was awesome. He worked well, he titled, he took place ribbons. Many, many people came up to congratulate us. They all remembered his name. They were all extremely nice and I was, and still am, very grateful to them. We were redeemed!
We now have our Novice Gambler's title, our Open Jumpers title and almost our Novice Regular title (those darn weave poles!). Wally is a beautiful jumper and a great, funny dog. His dad and I love him dearly.
We now have a second boxer, a pup called Jack. He is in puppy agility class and I know that his first trial will be indoors with orange webbing separating the rings.