Maine dogs take agility prizes at Westminister

6:39 PM, Feb 10, 2014   |    comments
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SACO, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Fans of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show got to see something new Saturday night. For the first time in the event's long and storied history, dogs got to demonstrate their athletic prowess in an agility competition.

For the uninitiated, agility trials are like obstacle courses for dogs that showcase how well the canine and handler work as a team. This year, two of the top honors went to a mother-daughter training team from Cape Elizabeth, Maine.

Jonesy, a miniature schnauzer, belongs to Cindy Ratner. Kelso, a border collie, belong to her daughter Delaney. "Jonesy wanted to run with Delaney. When I run him, he yells at me because i'm too slow," said Cindy.

Turns out Jonesy's instincts were good. He won in his 12" height class. But he was not the Overall Champion That honor went to Kelso. "His natural ability is amazing, said Delaney. "He's a really, really athletic dog."

Kelso beat out more than 200 other dogs to win both his 20" height class and the overall championship. The University of Massachusetts at Amherst sophomore says it's been a whirlwind ever since. "I woke up to calls saying we were on the Today Show. It's all so unexpected and cool!" she said. Cindy says she's delighted and proud of her daughter and Kelso, but not surprised. "They are a match made in heaven," said Cindy. "just completely bonded."

Delaney says Kelso is taking his newfound celebrity in stride. "He could care less. He's just as happy running around in his back yard as he is doing trials in front of hundreds of people.

But mother and daughter both say it's great to see their sport in the national spotlight. "Agility has such a cult following. It's crazy people doing obstacle courses with dogs. To represent the sport in this light is awesome.'

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