Southern Indiana Living

JUL-AUG 2018

Southern Indiana Living magazine is the exclusive publication of the region, offering readers a wide range of coverage on the people, places and events that make our area unlike any other. In SIL readers will find beautiful photography, encouraging s

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July/Aug 2018 • 20 Turning 11 in August and roughly 6 months old when he started, Gunner's nearly decade-long career of competing and training has paid off. A finalist in two events at the 2015 Cynosport World Games in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Gun- ner went on to win his semifinal round against some fierce competition in the Per- formance Speed Jumping class and was the No. 1 seed going into the finals. Gun- ner ultimately placed seventh in the event due to knocking a bar, but he would go on to again qualify in another event with a partner, and their team ended up finishing 29th overall out of more than 130 teams, Stumler said. All competitors begin their agil- ity careers at the novice level and work their way up by obtaining a certain num- ber of qualifying scores (Qs). These Qs are earned at local shows, and Stumler said that "each agility venue's rules vary slightly as to how to earn a Q and how many Qs are required for each title." Beginners are afforded a certain number of mistakes in the lower-level courses and lower ranks, but once a com- petitor reaches the highest level of Mas- ters, no mistakes are allowed, and dogs then compete for championship titles. In the American Kennel Club, which has its own championship in addition to spon- soring sanctioned events such as West- minster, once a competitor reaches the Masters level he must achieve "double Qs." These require competitors to qualify in both standard runs and jumper runs on the same day. An immaculate run in agilities means everything from zero knocked bars to "no refusals," as well as not veer- ing off course. Unfortunately, according to Stumler, "Gunner likes to do all of those things." This is why, despite being by far the fastest dog Stumler trains, Gunner, who is still highly decorated, is surpassed by his adopted sister Harley. The year Harley was born, 2009, was also the year the AKC announced it would begin implementing a new program open to mixed dog breeds. Stumler and her fiancé, Jeremy Watts, initially planned to adopt another dog but were at an im- passe as to the breed they would pick out. Eventually, the couple headed to an event being held by the Kentucky Humane So- ciety, and on their way they stopped by PetSmart to procure an item to donate to the Humane Society in exchange for a dis- counted adoption. But "they had puppies there at PetSmart," Stumler said. "And they said they were Boxer, which was one of the breeds he (Watts) wanted … and I was like, 'This seems perfect!'" Affectionately given the moniker of Harley's collection of achievements is astonishing. She has won championships both in AKC and the United States Dog Agility Association, and she recently participated in the Westminster Kennel Club Master Agility Championship.

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