By Julia Williams
It is my pleasure to introduce you to 17-year-old Kirby McIlveen, a CANIDAE Special Achiever. Kirby and her talented team of canine athletes compete in Disc Dog competitions across the United States. They not only compete, they excel, as evidenced by the many impressive records they hold. With her dog Torch, a McNab, Kirby became the first female and youngest ever at 17 years old to win the 2011 Skyhoundz World Championships!
CANIDAE is proud to sponsor Kirby and her dogs through its Special Achievers program. CANIDAE accepts only the very best canine athletes for sponsorship, and Kirby and her “Disc Dogs” are a perfect example of how premium dog food can contribute to athletic excellence. Kirby’s five dogs all eat CANIDAE food, naturally, and their good health and ability to excel at their sport helps promote the many benefits of a premium quality holistic pet food.
How old were you when you began competing in Disc Dog?
I started training and competing in disc dog competitions when I was 12 years old. When I was 13, I started freestyle with my Border Collie, Sketch.
How did you get started? What inspired you to try the sport?
I initially had a Shih Tzu, Lucky, who liked to play agility. I wanted to get another dog for agility, and decided to get a Border Collie. Sketch came into my life when I was 10 years old. He had a lot of energy, as most Border Collies do, so we needed another activity for him. We joined a disc dog class at an agility school. From there, we found out about the Disc Dog world and competitions.
How many dogs do you compete with?
I compete with five dogs, all powered by CANIDAE. Sketch, Flash, and Torch compete at a top level, while Blitz and Spirit are still “in training.”
Sketch – 7 year old Border Collie; Flash – 4 year old McNab; Torch – 1.5 year old McNab; Blitz – 4 year old Border Collie; Spirit – 1.5 year old Terrier Mix
Which dog is your favorite to work with?
I like working with each of the dogs as they all have their own unique styles. I am lucky to have such diverse dogs that do different things.
What records do you and/or your dogs hold in Disc Dog?
Sketch holds the record for the longest catch for a woman thrower in the USA with a 67.5 yard catch in Kokomo, IN. He is one of three dogs to win four Quadruped Long Distance competitions, but he is the only dog that has ever won four in one year and all in a row.
Torch recorded the highest total Open Division score in a Skyhoundz Qualifier or World Championship at the 2011 Skyhoundz World Championships in Chattanooga, TN. He also helped me to become the first female and youngest ever at 17 years old to win the Skyhoundz World Championships.
How did you do in events this year?
Sketch, Flash, and I travelled across the country to compete together in California, Texas, Colorado, Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Tennessee, Florida, and Vermont. We did well most of the events we attended this year. Sketch placed in the top 10 of every competition (that was freestyle and toss and fetch combined) we competed in this year.
I understand you are one of the top ranked disc dog competitors.
Yes. Sketch is the National Quadruped Series Champion and has won multiple UFO World Cup Major competitions. He made it into the finals at all five Quadruped events this year, four of which he won. He also got the Longest Catch of the Day award at four Quads. Sketch placed in the top 10 at the Ashley Whippet Invitational World Championships and placed 3rd in the UFO World Cup Series. He also qualified for the USDDN World Championships.
What CANIDAE formula do you feed your dogs?
I mix CANIDAE pureELEMENTS™, pureLAND™, and pureSKY™ so that they get an assortment of protein.
How does CANIDAE food help your dogs both in terms of health and doing well in their sport?
I feed CANIDAE because it helps to give the dogs the energy and nutrition they need to stay fit for competition.
What are your plans for 2012 competition?
The 2012 season starts up again in February, and the dogs and I can’t wait! I want to continue having a great time competing with Sketch, Flash, and Torch! I am hoping to compete more with Blitz , and debut Spirit in the MicroDog (for smaller dogs) Division.
Top three photos by Dave St. Clair; bottom photo by Anabel DFlux
Read more articles by Julia Williams
The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® Pet Foods.