Neighborhood pets making it big in the dog competition world
Photography by Jessica Turner
Story by Natalie Murphy
Piper, also known by her show name, Woodbe’s Sunny Sundae Sensation, has an acupuncturist and chiropractor. She gets regular blood work and X-rays done to ensure she is in the best health.
“They probably get taken care of better than we take care of ourselves,” says owner Charlene Chaney. “Because they’re really athletes, the conditioning part is very, very important.”
Piper competes throughout the country with whippets, a British breed loosely re-lated to greyhounds. She has won national titles such as best-in-breed in lure coursing, first place in triathlon and second place in versatility.
“She’s pretty driven when it comes to activities,” Chaney says.
Piper started competing in agility in 2016, when she was 16 months old. Later, she be-gan competing in dock diving, fast Coursing Ability Test (a timed 100-yard dash) and rally. Chaney says Piper’s strengths are versatility and drive.
“Once you get out there, the dog knows the difference between practice and the real thing, because they feel their adrenaline from you,” Chaney says. “You can see their progress, and you learn to work as a team, and you kind of bond, you know. You really bond a lot with them.”
Besides getting to spend the whole day with Piper, the best part of competitions for Chaney is the community.
“Everybody’s really supportive. We all cheer for each other, and everybody helps each other out. We all kind of travel together,” Chaney says. “They’re always willing to lend a hand.”
On days when Piper is not competing and conditioning, Chaney likes to take her on hikes. She also enjoys swimming, playing around the house and taking naps. When it comes to playing with siblings, Chaney says she’s the alpha.
“She’s the party police. If the other dogs are playing too much, she’ll put an end to it, and if she thinks it’s getting out of hand, she’ll intervene,” Chaney says. “She doesn’t miss a thing. She watches everything. We think she’s not watching, but she’s watching. Don’t try to sneak and give somebody else a treat.”