SIERRA - A TRIBUTE
Rest In Peace Australian Shepherd, Sierra Jade’s Star Legacy, “Sierra.” Sierra was born on September 16, 2002 and went to the rainbow bridge on August 21, 2018. I adopted Sierra 1 week after her 1st birthday. From the moment I saw her “ad” on the website, I knew she was my dog.
As Australian Shepherds should be, she was quite smart and super sweet. I thought “wow, who would give up such a wonderful dog?” Then I took her out in public….my neighbors thought I brought home “Cujo.” She acted incredibly threatening to everyone she saw (near or far), yet, in the house she was the perfect dog….manners, well trained, no barking, no destruction, cuddly, playful, etc. My intention was to learn agility with my “new dog” but I knew this was far from starting since Sierra had to learn how to be ok around people and other dogs. We started private training, then basic obedience classes and eventually did start basic agility. Sierra was stellar at everything other than her issues with people and dogs coming too close; she would charge, snap at and bark any chance she could get. I joined MDTC with hopes of dog-pack boot camp rehabilitation. Between that and the guidance of several excellent private, expert trainers, Sierra and I learned how to manage her issues. Yes, Sierra was the “aggressive dog” everyone complained about to the club’s powers-to-be. I stuck it out though, kept working hard to help her learn and defended her positive progress like an over-protective mom; I was not giving up on the potential I knew she would someday reach.
After years of listening to all the experts, I began to develop my own system for Sierra. I was confident I could rehabilitate this awesome dog….and thus it happened. Sierra was one of the most FUN dogs I have ever had the privilege of working with. She taught me more about training and dog behavior than most people learn in a lifetime with multiple dogs. Her spirit sparked so bright that it lite up my every day. She was my cuddle bug, a total “mama’s girl.” She lived for fun. Every day Sierra reminded me how to play and be as silly as possible, or what’s the point? Sure she was often still sassy, loved to counter surf, scared people/dogs walking by her crate and made up her own games while training, but those are the things that keep me on my toes with her. It would take a decade to tell all her stories. As time went on, Sierra LOVED just about anyone she met and tolerated most dogs. She even found it quite fun to play with a few chosen favorite friends.
In 2011 Sierra gave me the biggest thank you for all the years of hard work…..she earned a spot in the top 10 of dogs in her level at the ASCA Agility National Specialty. She did everything I asked of her absolutely perfect! Her only one penalty was caused by MY misdirection. I wouldn’t have traded my time with Sierra for any other better skilled or more technically schooled agility dog. Working with Sierra was one of the greatest experiences of my life. Sierra earned various titles in agility (ASCA, AKC, USDAA and CPE) as well as her CGC and herding HIC.
Sierra played in MANY sports over the years: Agility, Obedience, Herding, Flyball, Tracking, and Frisbee.
Sierra Was involved in most of the club’s activities: Sports Shows, Demos, Holiday Parades, State Fair World of Dogs, Trials, Fun Matches, Achievement Trials, Heel Downs, Ghost Nights, Time Warner’s 411 TV demo and many others.
My silly, sweet Sierra will never be forgotten.....she alone is the reason I made it to MDTC and have all the friends I do today. I am forever thankful for you Sierra!
To see past Agility Dogs of the Month go to our Archive Page