Local dog agility competitor Linda Womer, of Gilbertsville, and her Papillon “Frenzi” are in Milan, Italy, to represent the United States at the 2018 IFCS World Agility Championships. The event takes place April 25 to 29 and is hosted by the International Federation of Cynological Sports with the help of their Italian affiliate Federazione Italiana Sport Cinofili.
Members of Team USA are from the United States Dog Agility Association (USDAA) and were selected through a points system based on their performance in World Team Selection events.
Linda Womer got involved with agility after watching a demo at a local park. This is the second consecutive year on the World Team for Frenzi, her 12-inch, 5-pound female Papillon.
“Frenzi lives up to her name,” Womer said. “She loves to do everything fast, and she is fearless. She runs at her maximum speed from the beginning to the end of the course. At home, Frenzi runs the rest of my Papillon pack — five other dogs — with her small but mighty presence.”
When she is not training with Frenzi or her other champion Papillon, Supersonic Sensation, Womer is employed as a veterinarian. She also is certified in animal chiropractic and has additional training in animal acupuncture and canine rehabilitation.
The competitors who represent Team USA are amateur athletes but train and perform like professionals. They also participate in fundraising activities throughout the year, raising private donations and sponsorships to reduce the personal travel costs of team members. A portion of their travel is covered by the United States Association of Cynological Sports, a 501(c)(3) public charity supporting amateur sport. Information on USACS can be found at www.donate2dogsports.org.
The Sport of Agility
The USDAA boasts more than 10,000 active competitors worldwide. Guided only by voice and hand signals from their human partners, the canines race against the clock, flying over hurdles and through hanging tires, weaving around poles, scuttling through tunnels and bounding off the see-saw. Obstacles are set according to the dog’s height and experience level, allowing dogs of all breeds and sizes to compete.
“This is truly a sport for all ages and abilities — both humans and canines,” said USDAA President Kenneth Tatsch. “Our competitors range from children to seniors, with young, middle-aged and older dogs, working together to demonstrate skill and discipline – and having fun.”
Dog agility as a sport traces its roots to Great Britain in the 1970s. It found its way to the United States a decade later with the creation of the United States Dog Agility Association in 1986. The USDAA has continued to advance the fast-growing sport internationally, this year hosting regional championships in Japan, Canada, Mexico, and Spain, in addition to the U.S.
The United States Dog Agility Association is the world’s largest, independent canine sports authority, dedicated to promoting the sport of dog agility as a recreational, family sport that fosters responsible pet ownership. For more information on the sport or recreational agility exercise, visit USDAA.com.