LAURA Murphy and her trusted four legged companion Indy will represent Ireland at the FCI Agility European Open taking place in Belgium from Thursday.
The Open will feature the best dogs and handlers from 39 countries compete against each other.
Laura runs WaggaMammas Agility in Enniskerry, and both she and Indy will also wear the Irish colours when attending the IFCS World Agility championships taking place in the Netherlands from August 31 to September 4, having already represented Ireland at the World Agility Open held in May.
“The World Agility Open was my first time representing Ireland at an event so I had no expectations, just to get there was great. We ended up getting into the final of the biathlon, and Indy handled everything really well, including the large crowd in attendance. We had a couple of falls and finished 19th, but I was happy with that,” said Laura.
Indy is a six-year-old border collie who Laura found a home for after she was dumped as a young pup in a plastic bag to a rescue shelter in County Mayo.
“She was handed in inside a plastic bag with some other pups, with some straw at the bottom of the bag.
“The woman who left her in actually asked for the plastic bag back. She is an amazing dog and the perfect pet. She is really calm and friendly and gets on brilliantly with humans and other dogs.”
Dog agility is a dog sport in which a handler directs a dog through an obstacle course in a race for both time and accuracy.
“Indy excels at agility,” added Laura.
“I initially started off with our family dog when I was a teenager. It involves a lot of training and isn’t as easy as it might look. It’s all based around play.
“Border collies are a breed that are used to having a job, so they have loads of energy. Agility is a great outlet for their working tendencies, and also stimulates the dogs mind, as well as the physical exercise involved.”
Laura also trains dogs in agility at her business WaggaMammas Agility.
“We place a focus on drive and motivation for your dog, along with teaching excellent foundation skills. Our training is geared towards each dog-handler team being able to enter official agility competitions in the future, and some of the dogs and handlers we have trained have joined myself and Indy at different competitions.
“Even if you never wish to compete, there are still loads of benefits to both you and your dog.”
Laura and Indy will also be competing in the semi-finals of the Novice Cup held at KCIAF in the UK, the final of which, if they make it through, will be held at Crufts.
If you want to follow Indy and her siblings, you can keep track of them on Instagram - @thewaggymama and follow the progress of the Irish Team at the European Open through the Facebook group - https://www.facebook.com/groups/559486672390410/?ref=share.