Lux entered the finals as the top seed after three preliminary rounds, followed closely by Teddy the golden retriever and Kyna the American foxhound. Tammy Langer’s Tricki Woo, a border collie, faulted in an early round but made it to the finals by winning the challenger round. In one of the closest finishes from the finals, Lux ran clean with a 45.31, just slightly ahead of Lori Judd and golden retriever Teddy’s 45.45, with Tricki Woo finishing third after a fault and Kyna taking fourth.
Michaela started agility with her eight-pound cavalier King Charles spaniel Izzy when she first moved to Alaska five years ago. Within three years, Izzy had earned her MACH, and Michaela’s friends liked to tease that Izzy’s success came from Michaela’s ability to run much faster than her dog. And so Michaela got a bigger dog, Lux, a fine representative of the German shepherd breed. At home, Lux is “quite the hoot” and has a “huge personality.” Lux balances her work in agility with her favorite pastimes: swimming and chewing on shoes.
The Alaskan agility community has always been close-knit. Michaela explains that “due to the lack of trials, we spend a lot of our time training and form training groups that meet once a week. Our agility friends are practically family and a huge support system. We are truly happy for others’ successes and at the same time realize their struggles.”
While the weather in Alaska isn’t always ideal (it can drop to -60 degrees in Fairbanks in the winter), Michaela and her agility friends train at Camp Liwa, an indoor heated horse arena. In addition, the wide open nature of Alaska allows for long uninterrupted walks that Michaela believes help with conditioning for the dogs.
A practicing chiropractor when she’s not in the agility field, Michaela credits much of her success to Heidi Vania of Anchorage, Alaska, with whom she has been training for the past three years. Michaela’s up and coming dog is a Belgian tervuren and a “fun bundle of energy.”