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Excellence. This one word has defined the lives of so many and others continue to try to reach this every day. For senior Brittaney Allen, she achieved excellence once again with her 4-year-old Border Collie mix, Ollie by her side. As 2016 came to a close, Allen was preparing to head to the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida for her third and final year to compete in the 2016 AKC Juniors Obedience Classic. She and Ollie were hungry to defend their two-year winning streak and had their sights set on the championship once again.
Allen and Ollie embarked on their long journey to the show on December 14 so that they would have plenty of time to re-acclimate themselves to Orlando and make the final preparations for the competitions on December 17 and 18. Ollie definitely had enough skill and training by Allen to get the job done right.
“Throughout the summer we compete at AKC trials. We also compete in 4-H fun shows, state fair, and of course, county fair. After county fair we took about a month break from training. With Ollie, if I work him too long he gets bored. He picks up things very quickly and shows off his Border Collie brains often,” said Allen.
With so much experience, Allen knew that Ollie would perform at a high level, but she was still pretty nervous. Although she had been there a couple times before, the arena still had some shock-value to Allen.
“Every year we have gone down to Orlando, I am always amazed by how many dogs there are. There were 30 rings of conformation showing, 10 rings of obedience and rally, 3 full agility courses, and 2 dock diving tanks all going at the same time in one building. There are all kinds of dog breeds that I’ve never seen before that are down there,” Allen commented.
Though the size of the show was definitely intimidating, Ollie seemed to be quite the standout. While people were shocked when Allen told them that Ollie is a mutt, they were blown away when they saw just what that pound hound could do in the ring.
“On the first day of competition for Ollie and I, we competed in the Preferred Novice obedience class. For this, we stood in one ring with one judge and they gave us a score out of 240 points. Then we went to a second ring with another judge to get a second score out of 240. After the first run, I came out of the ring praying to have an even better second run,” Allen said.
Ollie did a spectacular job and landed in first place with a score of 466 out of a possible 480. Allen and Ollie had achieved National Champion status and they were reenergized for the next day of competition. The next day, Allen and Ollie competed in the Rally competition and placed 4th in the rally Advanced with a score of 98. Allen was very pleased with Ollie’s performances and he dominated over many pure-breeds to remain sitting on top.
“I was relieved once the show was over because it makes for a very stressful day and it was even more stressful because I was trying to maintain my title. Winning first at Nationals three years in a row is quite an honor and working with Ollie has been a great experience,” said Allen. “I’ve worked with several dogs but Ollie will always be the hardest worker. We work very well together as a team and he never ceases to amaze me with the things he can do. I knew I needed to defend my title this year since I will not be returning next year and Ollie really pulled through.”
For Allen, it has been a rollercoaster of emotions these past few years competing at such a high level with Ollie, but she wouldn’t have it any other way. As she looks back on her journey, it is incredible to see the things she and Ollie have accomplished.
“The first year we went down, I was truly taken away by the large scale of things. The second year I went, I wanted to keep my title and see if I had just gotten lucky by winning the first year. Knowing that this was my third and final year I tried to enjoy myself as much as I could. It was a little depressing walking out of the building for the last time knowing that I would never be showing there again,” Allen explained.
While the road to Nationals has ended forever for Allen and Ollie, she has had an unforgettable three years down in Orlando. Ollie has proven to people that just because he’s a mutt doesn’t mean he can’t take home the gold.
“At the end of all of this, I know we did our best and I am truly passionate about being able to work with a dog like Ollie. He is definitely one-of-a-kind.”