• Border Collies Freya and Ostara on the beach at Le Touquet
  • Freya the Border Collie on a road in Basel, Switzerland
  • New born Border Collie puppy
  • Laga the Border Collie as a photo shoot
  • Freya and Ostara the two Border Collies on a road in Helsinki
  • Freya the Border Collie playing with an otter
  • Freya and Ostara two Border Collies next to a lake in Helsinki
  • TFreya and Ostara two Border Collies on a sunset beach in France
  • Ostara the Border Collie running with a funny expression on her face
  • Odin the Border Collie standing next to a pool
  • Hamish the Border Collie at a photo shoot
  • Freya and Ostara Border Collies on a bridge in Helsinki
  • Four Border Collies lying in a row on the grass
  • Aradia the Border Collie with a muddy face
  • Candice and Hamish two Border Collies in front of a hedge
  • Odin the Border Collie on the lawn

My dogs and their achievements

When you choose to take responsibility for a dog, I feel that you should provide them with the social and behavioural skills they need to be enjoyed by all who they encounter, both fellow canines and humans. It always amazes me how willing dogs are to learn, you just have to offer what motivates them as their big reward and with patience you can have your dog achieve great things - and have fun doing it. When dogs know what is expected of them, they are usually much happier and a pleasure to have around.

Dogs like people have their own individual personality, traits and characteristics. So it makes sense that my relationship with each of my dogs is quite different. The bond I had with my first dog Candice is similar to the emotional bond I now have with Freya who is a very special little dog. Not only is Freya very intelligent, and always gives of her best, but she also has a good sense of humour, and constantly makes me smile. Freya goes everywhere with me and we have travelled to many countries together.

My affinity for Hamish (when he was alive) and Ostara is very similar. Our bond is very much a working relationship. Both very clever dogs, and like to think. Hamish loved to work, but sometimes thought about things too much. He would come up with his own version of what you had just taught him. Ostara is a workaholic like Hamish was. She lives for her agility, but is also a bit ADD, so is sometimes over-hyped and struggles with concentration at big events.

Aradia whom I co-own with Rob Evans is a demanding little madam. She is a lovely little dog, but very high maintenance, and tests my patience. Rob works her in agility and they get on extremely well.

Whatever my relationship is with each of my dogs, I love them all very much.

Border Collie - 8 November 1987 to 9 October 2000 (13 years)

Registered name: Candice

Activities: Agility, Obedience, Working Trials

Achievements:

  • B-test Obedience
  • CD-Excellent in Working Trials

Ever since I can remember my Mum was involved in dog training so I grew up around dogs. With no less than five German Shepherds and a little Spaniel-Yorkie-cross at home, I learned to handle dogs from an early age but I remember always wanting a Border Collie.

I begged and pleaded with my parents to allow me to have my own dog, they said we had too many dogs already, and that I would just have to wait. As any nine year old would be, I was disappointed because I really wanted my own little dog. But then, on Christmas eve, 1987, my Mum arrived home with a big surprise, a beautiful, little fluffy cuddly Border Collie puppy. She was just so cute. At first I thought she was there just to visit, but she was mine to keep. I was so happy, the best present I have ever received.

I named this beautiful little puppy Candice and we became very close. I had a very good relationship with her. She was not from the best breed line but I loved her to bits. She was so special with lots of character and looking back, had an extremely high-drive which made her quite a difficult little dog to train. A very busy dog. Up at 5am and straight in the pool, and then would spend the rest of the day running around the plot like mad, herding the gardener, the lawnmower or the other dogs.

Candice was spayed at an early age and unfortunately stopped breathing for several minutes during the procedure due to a reaction to the anesthetic. She did recover but became progressively neurotic and scared of loud noises. Still, I managed to get her into B-test in obedience, and she also qualified in Working Trials with a Companion Dog Excellent grading.

With her high-drive and slight build she was perfect for agility and absolutely loved it. I was so young and we had so much fun doing it but I retired her from competition quite early in her career as we had a couple of scares with her reacting to loud bangs which resulted in her running away. On one occasion we only found her two hours later playing football in a field with some young lads.

She taught me a great deal, and undoubtedly without her in my life I would not have achieved what I have with any of my other dogs.

Border Collie - 21 April 1991 to 1 September 2005 (14 years)

Registered name: Ceilidh Bandit

Activities: Agility, Obedience, Working Trials

Achievements:

  • 5 times C-test Champion
  • CD-Excellent in Working Trials

A good friend of my Mum and Dad had a litter of Border Collies and again I begged and pleaded to be able to have another dog. Finally it was agreed I could have one of the puppies but only if my Mum could name him. I spent a lot of time visiting the puppies, and chose Hamish when he was only a few weeks old. I could tell even then that he was an extremely intelligent dog. During my visits I was able to teach him so much even at 4 or 5 weeks old .

I was 13 years old and Hamish only 6 months old when we entered his first obedience competition – Novice. He got a second place, but the judge on the day was so impressed with how we worked that he gave us a special judge’s prize.

It was really rewarding training and competing with Hamish. I had a very strong working relationship with him. He wasn’t an easy dog to train as he would grasp concepts very easily but then would go and have a think about what he was supposed to do and come up with his own ‘better’ version of it. He would make me laugh but also drove me mad coming up with his own theories for things. I always said that he was like a super nerd with his scientific calculator and pens in his blazer pocket.

When I taught him distance-control for C-test, he grasped all the positions very quickly and knew not to creep while doing them. But as was typical of Hamish, in the ring, before the steward could display the next position and I could give Hamish the command, he had already done a sit, down, stand about 20 times in quick succession. He thought that he didn’t need a handler and would do the exercise all by himself. So getting him to understand that in fact he did need a handler was very testing.

Hamish and I achieved a great deal in obedience. He became a C-test Champion at the age of two. When I was just 15 Hamish and I won the C-test Dogmor Dog of the Year competition. He went on to become a five times C- test obedience Champion by the age of five. He achieved CD Excellent in Working Trials and did really well in agility too.

Border Collie - 15 September 1996 to 5 July 2009 (13 years)

Registered name: Cinlock Cover O' Tartan

Activities: Obedience, Therapy Work

Achievements:

  • B-test Obedience

When I was at University I took a break from regular obedience and agility competitions, so I had no intension of getting another puppy at this stage. But, my boyfriend at the time wanted a puppy. So I researched potential Border Collie lines to see who was expecting puppies, and when we went to see a litter. I immediately fell in love with one of them. He was just the cutest fluff ball and so pretty. As Candice and Hamish were quite old now I decided that perhaps maybe a puppy was a good idea after all.

Odin was a light-hearted playful little dog, out-going and full of beans. But, at just 6 months old he was caught up in an armed robbery at our home and suffered being kicked down the stairs while trying to protect me from the delinquent robbers. The experience altered his temperament but after a lot of work with him, I got his gentle soul to reappear and shine again.

Odin began to trust again and brought much love to many suffering people through our activities with Paws for People. This therapy work required the handler and dog team to pass the American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen (AKC CGC) test and the Paws for People® skills and aptitude test. Odin sailed through with flying colours.

During the therapy calls we visited many people at facilities like the Ann Harding Homes - for people with disabilities; old age homes; Salvation Army children’s homes; and drug rehabilitation centres like Viva.
Odin’s soft approachable personality was perfect for bringing relief to people who were dealing with difficulties in their own life. He brought joy to all who interacted with him.

Besides the therapy work I took Odin to B-test in obedience and only did a little bit of agility with him as he was a huge big bear. I miss you Odin but not your whining for your breakfast in the mornings.

Border Collie - 4 December 2003 (9 years)

Registered name: Giftnell Ali's One Freya Of Berkano

Activities: Agility

Achievements:

  • 25 SA Agility Championship Certificates
  • 2 times Reserve KUSA Nationals Agility
  • 4 times at the FCI Agillty World Championships
  • 2 times UK Kennel Club Championship Certificate winner with Rob Evans - Thames show, Tuffley show 2012
  • KC International Festival 'If Only' winner 2012 with Rob Evans
  • Qualified as reserve for Team GB 2012 FCI Agility World Championships with Rob Evans
  • UK Kennel Club Reserve Championship Certificate winner with Rob Evans - Tuffsbury show 2013
  • Qualified and competed in Crufts Singles 2013 with Rob Evans
  • Qualified and competed in Crufts Championships 2013 with Rob Evans
  • Qualified for Olympia 2013 with Rob Evans
  • Qualified for Crufts Team for 2014 with Rob Evans in Team Thames Dog Training Club

When Odin was seven I started looking for a new puppy and I wanted to get a dog from good breeding that would give me the option to breed from myself at some stage. I was looking for a line that had a proven good work ethic, stable temperament and high drive. I chose the Giftnell line. I visited the puppies at 4 days old and I immediately knew from then which puppy I was having.

Having selected puppies in the past I knew what I was looking for: Even markings, good conformation, good angulation, intelligence, drive and independence. I further visited the puppies every week until I could take mine home. Freya was very independent from the time they were mobile, she was always off on her own mission and didn’t like spending time with her siblings. She was inquisitive and wanted to spend time with older dogs.

From the moment I got her home, Freya was a very busy little puppy. She is still very much like that at the age of nine. She loves spending time in the garden hunting for lizards, or bees; or runs up and down stalking the birds. She is a very intelligent little dog and loves to work. I did some obedience with her when she was young, but once I started doing agility with her, I could see how much she enjoyed it and the obedience fell by the wayside.

When she first started competing in agility she was unfortunately measured just over 43cm so she competed in the Large category. At the age of seven Freya was re-measured to compete under UK Kennel Club regulations and she measured just under 43cm and so could compete as a Medium.

Although Freya achieved a great deal in Large, she was always at a disadvantage being so small but she always gives of her best and loves competing with Rob in Medium these days. She is a pleasure to train, and learns things very quickly. Her stable temperament has a calming influence on Ostara who has the tendency to be neurotic.

Freya spends a great deal of time with me as she goes everywhere with me. She has travelled to many countries with me, not only for agility competitions but also on holiday. She is my one-dog-in-a-million.

Border Collie - 20 June 2005 (8 years)

Registered name: Eostre of Berkano

Activities: Agility

Achievements:

  • SA Grand Agility Champion
  • 59 SA Agility Championship Certificates
  • 2 times KUSA Nationals Agility winner
  • 4 times at the FCI Agillty World Championships
  • Kennel Club Championship Certificate winner UK 2012
  • Competed in Crufts International 2012
  • Silver medal Crufts Team 2013
  • Qualified for Olympia 2013
  • Qualified for Crufts Team for 2014 Team Thames Dog Training Club

I had just started competing in agility with Freya and wasn’t thinking of getting a new puppy at this stage but Rob was. I gave it some thought and decided it would be nice to have two dogs to compete with. I knew the sire of the litter and knew that he had very good drive. We never actually went to visit the puppies, so this was the first time since Candice that I didn’t actually choose the puppy myself. A good friend saw them and took a few photos and videos of them for us to see, which I actually made my choice from.

Straight away we could see that Ostara and brother Zildjian, Rob’s puppy were going to be very quick and competitive in agility. Ostara loves running flat out and has a great deal of energy. She may not have Kennel Club breed standard conformation, but she has the perfect build for agility. She is very competitive by nature, and loves doing well displaying pride in her rosettes and trophies.

Border Collie - 7 November 2005 (8 years)

Registered name: CH Giftnell Ali's Newsflash of Berkano

Activities: Breed

Achievements:

  • SA Breed Champion
  • Mother of 8 from 3 litters

Very impressed with the Giftnell line, I took Laga to start my Freyasway line. Laga has produced eight beautiful puppies from three litters all clear of any hip, elbow and eye problems.

Border Collie - 18 August 2009 (4 years)

Registered name: Giftnell One More Flash of Berkano

Activities: Agility

Achievements:

  • Fastest dinner eater in the house
  • Biggest whiner in the house

Aradia is a puppy from Laga's first litter. Chosen for her build and out-going nature she is a very loving little dog but quite demanding as she is very vocal and whiney. Having spent two years living on the farm with my Mum in Magaliesburg, she now lives with us again and has just started agility.

Rob is six months into training her and at this stage Aradia is showing great promise.

Border Collie - 24 January 2014

Registered name: Devongem Free To Blossom

Activities: Agility

Achievements:

  • Loves agility
  • Looking forward to her first agility show

"Aeracura is a Celtic and Germanic Goddess who is an Earth Mother, Fairy Queen and a bridge between life on earth and the hereafter. She is devoted to blossoming. She represents the "blossoming" aspect of ourselves, by reminding us that the journey is part of the adventure not just the destination." - I look forward to my journey with you Aeracura.

This clever little dog shows great promise for agility. Sired by Lauren Langman's male Reef, reflects in her build, but you know how their proportions change daily at this age. Her slight build, long legs, food drive and toy drive already prevalent are great attributes for the working dog I was after.

I'll keep you posted with regards to her progress in agility...

Border Collie - 16 October 2014

Registered name: Devongem Try Funky Disco

Activities: Agility

Achievements:

  • Loves lying flat in gather postion
  • Enjoying learning agility

Border Collie - 1 November 2014

Registered name: Devongem Pure Perfection

Activities: Agility

Achievements:

  • Loves fetching her toys
  • Seems to be a natural at agility

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