Local border collie gets AKC medal

Published Apr 30, 2014 at 5:41 am (Updated Apr 28, 2014 at 8:59 am)

Sonny is a 6-year-old border collie. A handsome dog, he is alert, energetic and always wanting to please. Although he was a bit unruly in their early months together, Sonny’s owner, Lucy McCloskey of South Park, had plans for him in the show ring. These days, Lucy has more than bragging rights, as her lovable Sonny continues to bring home celebratory ribbons and awards. Registered in the American Kennel Club as Hamilton’s Mystic Lord of the Dance, Sonny’s greatest and latest achievement is bringing home the AKC’s Rally National Championship medal won in Harrisburg on March 28.

Through communication and teamwork, Sonny and Lucy scored 394 points out of a possible 400 at the show and defeated 97 dogs in a variety of breeds to win the Rally Advanced Excellent class. The course included 20 stations, requiring specific obedience and performance skills.

“I’ve always loved having a pet, especially dogs,” said Lucy. “Sonny was born in a litter belonging to a friend of mine. He was 2 years old when I brought him home. About seven months later, I started working with him in basic obedience training at Keystone Canine Training Club. Eventually, we moved on to agility and then rally. He has many ribbons from shows in the Western Pennsylvania circuit and from competitions held in Milwaukee and St. Louis.”

Although dogs and handlers from all across the U.S. and Canada entered the recent Harrisburg show, Lucy had high hopes that Sonny would be considered in the judges top 10. She wanted to take home a ribbon to proudly place with his other prized achievements. A pat on the back for training an obedient, now well-behaved dog just didn’t seem good enough. Excitement soared as Sonny was declared champion and presented with an award-winning ribbon and the AKC medal.

Lucy and Sonny are the first team associated with the Keystone Canine Training Club in the South Hills to win a national championship. The twosome will be seen competing in dog shows throughout the year.

Not only does Sonny show his competitive talent, but as a registered therapy dog, Sonny delights residents of retirement homes with his friendly ways. He also joins the K9ers group of dogs from the Keystone Club as they entertain guests at nursing homes and community events. These canine good citizens perform free-style dance and heeling to music and Sonny enjoys showing off with his favorite tricks and prize-winning skills. He’s also busy participating in Paws for Reading programs and, with his black and white coloring, he’s often featured as the groom at “doggie weddings.”

Lucy is training director at Keystone Canine Training Club, a not-for-profit canine sports and training facility. She can be reached at 412-833-2211.

AKC

A group of 12 sportsmen met on Sept. 17, 1884, in Philadelphia to establish the American Kennel Club. By-laws were adopted and officers named a month later in New York City. Early American shows followed precedents set in England and the first book of AKC rules was presented in November 1932.

From a one-room office rented in 1887 and a succession of moves to larger quarters, in 1964 the AKC headquarters moved to Madison Avenue in New York City.

The Dog Museum of America was established in 1980, later changing its name to The American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog in St. Louis, Mo.

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