To start talking about our career with Ruby I guess you have to start before she was even born. You see, Theresa had started obedience training at the club with our first Labrador, Elsa and I used to sit on the fence and tell her exactly where she was going wrong.
She wasn't doing anything wrong at all really, but people sitting on the fence can always do it better, can't they? Anyway, she politely suggested that I get my own dog. So when Elsa had her litter we looked at them with a view to keeping one.
There was one particular pup that stood out from all the others. Sure she was just as lively and playful as the rest, but there were times when all the others were going silly but she would sit there and stare at us intently.The sure sign of a smart dog, or so we thought.
So began Ruby's obedience training.
After about nine months of training I entered Ruby into Encouragement at Hastings. I didn't have a clue what to expect but we won the ring and we were amazed to win a trophy and a ribbon and a big bag of dog chow. That was it, we were hooked on trialling. We went straight into novice and were just as successful,winning several events.
The rollercoaster of success finally got de railed at open level when Ruby decided Labrador she was, Retriever she wasn't. Along came Theresa to the rescue. She put a lot of time into dumbbell training and it eventually paid off.
We were off on the road competing yet again and our first thoughts were right, she was a smart dog. Ruby soon gained her open title and had many class wins and several best in trials.
We started our Agility career about this time. It took a while to get our first pass. There was always some little thing going wrong but once it all clicked into place we started getting passes in agility and jumping and once again she won many events. When she got her novice jumping title we heard she was the first Labrador to achieve this title. This inspired us to get her open and masters titles which we eventually did. She became the first Labrador in Australia to get all of her jumping titles.
Not long after this she got her masters agility title and as far as I was concerned, it was time to hang up her lead and retire her. Theresa had other ideas. "I want to do UD with her" she said. "Go for it' said I, "that's too hard for me". She made a start training, learning from other people at trials and asking questions.
The road to her UD title was a rocky one; so near yet so far a number of times. There is no margin for error when you get this far up the ladder. Theresa and Ruby gaining this title have inspired me to "Ave a go".
Ruby's name can be seen in several places around the Ballarat Dog Obedience clubroom, as can many of the Ausielabs, including the annual trophies where she gained highest scoring encouragement, novice and open classes in successive years. You have been a good girl Ruby now you just take it easy and enjoy your retirement.