In mid-January 2006, I set off to AKC Agility Nationals with my four-year-old sheltie, Demon. Kathleen was only nine years old and it had been five years since I attended a national-level competition. I was stressed about the winter travel, missed school for Kathleen and terrified about how Demon would handle the environment of a big event.
My fears dissipated through the weekend as Demon and I put down five clean rounds and ended the event in 25th place for the sixteen-inch division. I was thrilled that he came through with a solid performance, despite being spooked by the crowds and hating the slippery floors at the Convention Center. By Sunday afternoon, I felt confident in our performance and that we had the skills to compete at the national-level. Then I made a discovery that changed my perspective and my competitive career forever.
Long before I found dog agility, I was a competitive swimmer and quite familiar with Greg Louganis, who had won multiple Olympic medals through the 1970-90’s. Fast forward a couple decades to 2006 and I found Greg Louganis in Tampa at the AKC Agility Nationals! His little terrier, Nipper, was his first agility dog. Having followed his diving career, it wasn’t a surprise that Greg Louganis would be a great competitor. He, however, was in Finals and I was packing the car!
I had been training dogs for almost fifteen years. I had competed with three different breeds in four sports and was already teaching agility to a wide variety of students. Shouldn’t my knowledge of dog training and handling techniques have given me a competitive edge in the ring? What did an Olympian bring to the sport that I didn’t have? What skills and knowledge transferred from diving to dog agility that beat teams with many more years of experience?
When I started agility, I thought the sport was all about the training and handling. When I watched Greg Louganis at Nationals, I knew there was so much more to learn. For the next four years, I began exploring how to be a better competitor and found answers in unlikely places, like golf! As Kathleen’s own journey through agility developed alongside mine, our lifestyle shifted to emphasize mindset, health and communication between teammates. The same curiosity that drove me to a better competitor, fueled Kathleen’s dive into sport psychology and holistic health.
The mysterious question of what makes an agility team great evolved into our journey to make the AKC world team. And, eventually, became for Kathleen and I a relentless pursuit for self-improvement.
Agility and Beyond is the culmination of those lessons, knowledge gained and skills learned. And the best part…we are continuously evolving through the process of learning, sharing, and improving ourselves in every direction.
We are here to be better for ourselves, our dogs and our community.
Every agility handler that is inspired and empowered to be a better competitor, better athlete and better teammate is better for all of us.
Meet the Team
Diane and Kathleen are fellow competitors, athletes and teammates; and happen to be mother and daughter. Diane has invested in her own fitness over the last decade to improve her agility abilities and overall health. Likewise, Kathleen also invests in her fitness as an elite level obstacle course racer and ultra-marathon runner having completed 50 mile and 100 mile races. Both are avid readers, plant-based eaters and actively engage in process of self-improvement.
4 time AKC/USA European Open Team Member
2 time AKC/USA World Team Member
11 time National Finalist at AKC, UKI and FCI events
Long time agility competitor and coach Diane began agility in 1995. She has since worked with hundreds of agility competitors to reach their training goals; including coaching at several EO Development Camps and as the 2015 USA EO Assistant Coach.
5 time AKC/USA World Team Member
3 time FCI Agility World Championship Medalist
13 time National Finalist at AKC, USDAA and FCI events
Kathleen began agility over 20 years ago as a junior handler. And now, coaches seminars across the northeast and in Canada including various development camps. She has Masters of Science in Exercise Science with a concentration in Sport Psychology.