I started formally training Cherokee in agility in the spring of 2007 at the same time I started training "the new agility puppy", Meg. I actually had trouble finding a trainer that wanted to take on such "an old dog". I didn't think at first that I would ever compete, but we all know how that changes.
Our first competition was a CPE trial in December 2007, when Cherokee was already 7 1/2 years old. We only competed once every 2 months or so when we started. In the past year, my two younger dogs were getting closer and closer to earning their CATCHs, so we went to all the CPE trials we could. Then, all of a sudden, Cherokee only needed 4 more Standard runs to complete her title. No one was more surprised than I was!
On April 22, 2012, just one week shy of her 12th birthday, she completed her CT-ATCH, CPE's Enthusiast Championship title. The Enthusiast title allows dogs to run as "veterans" (allowing a bit more time and lower jump heights), and also to skip one of the 7 CPE classes entirely. Cherokee didn't take advantage of skipping a class; she completed the requirements in all classes for her championship - she's a great all-around agility partner!
This achievement is very special to me because in the past year or two, my friends and I have all seen Cherokee start to slow down, lose focus, and generally make us all wonder at times if she really wants to continue to run agility. But if anyone came to the training field with me and my dogs and saw the way Cherokee bounces when it's her turn to run, they would know that she still wants to play with me. Much of the time, it still looks like she's flying over the course.
Cherokee will continue to play in CPE and NADAC for awhile yet,
a couple of runs at a time, just for the joy of it.