Marge and I had the opportunity to be in a major New York City newspaper this week. However, the editor wanted to do a photo shoot of Marge. Given Marge's fears, I told them that I would not do it. So, I guess they will feature another lucky mixed breed team. The welfare of my dog is much more important than a news story!
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Every dog has her day -- even if she's a mutt.
Marge, a mixed-breed Labrador and hound with an athletic build and jet-black hair, will be permitted to compete for the first time in the 10th annual Dog Agility Trials held by the Staten Island Companion Dog Training Club.
Her breakthrough is thanks to a revision of the rules by the American Kennel Club, which sanctions the organization and previously allowed only purebreds to show what they're made of.
"I couldn't be happier with the decision to include mixed-breed dogs in AKC competitions," said Samantha Scicchigno, owner of Marge, her first and only dog.
The AKC made the announcement in early April.
"Before that decision, I was planning on having to drive over two hours to agility trials and other events organized by less common venues. Now, I can stay very local, with several AKC agility trials in Staten Island annually," Ms. Scicchigno said of the benefits of this adjustment.
Marge, who is a 40-pound rescue dog, was adopted in June 2008 and began training with the SICDTC six months later.
"When we eventually started training for agility competitions, I felt limited as to what I could do with her before she was allowed to play in AKC," Ms. Scicchigno said.
The event, which will be held Saturday and Sunday, from approximately 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Wolfe's Pond Park, Prince's Bay, will see approximately 300 dogs entered each day, according to Ms. Scicchigno.
At the agility trials, the dog is off its leash and must follow the verbal commands and body movements of its handlers in order to complete the course, which includes jumps, hoops, planks, and tunnels. The ultimate goal for the teams is to win ribbons and titles, and for some competitive canines at higher levels, the chance to compete at AKC's Agility Nationals.