‘SPCA special’ overcomes tragedy to win provincial dog agility championship

2013-11-26 00:00

AN SPCA pavement special who, along with its new owner, survived serious injury in a traffic accident, has gone on to win a provincial dog agility championship.

Spice, a seven-year-old Chihuahua cross, was brought home from the SPCA when she was a year old by Kay Sargent, who runs the Animal Lodge in Drummond, a safe haven for homeless dogs and cats, from where they are put up for adoption.

Sargent is also a member of Border Collie Rescue, which is how she first met Spice.

“I had a call from the SPCA about a collie that had come in and so I went to fetch the collie. While I was there I saw this little dog jumping right up to the top of the bars of her cage. I thought ‘this dog is special’.”

She asked the SPCA staff about the dog and was told she was so full of energy she was driving them crazy. Sargent decided to take the dog home. “I also do rescue work — rescuing dogs that have a problem. I work on the problem and then find them a home. Initially, I didn’t intend to keep Spice.”

That soon changed. “When I got home I walked with her past the jumping arena in the agility practice area and she immediately went over the seesaw. I thought this really is a special dog — dogs don’t go over the see-saw on their own. Then she did it again, several times.”

Spice looked to be a natural for the sport of dog agility, apparently the fastest growing dog sport in the world. So began Spice’s training. “She is a smart dog and within four months she was already competing. She’s the cleverest dog I’ve ever come across.”

Then came near tragedy. In May 2010 while being driven by a friend, Sargent, who had Spice on her lap in the passenger seat, was involved in a traffic accident. “I broke a leg and an arm, and Spice broke her right front leg.”

At first it was recommended that Spice’s toes be amputated, which would have ended a promising career, but the dog-loving community came to the rescue. “The local dog community astounded me,” says Sargent. “They raised R18 000 to fix my SPCA special.”

Now the pair are back competing together. They have reached the top grade and recently won the KZN provincial contact agility champion title for small dogs. “Spice now has to win five national championship shows, then she can be renamed Champion Spice.”

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