22 December 2009

The time Laura and Team Small Dog interviewed dog agility rockstar Ashley Deacon and superstar Luka and super wild Dash.

Maybe you've heard of Ashley Deacon and his dog Luka. On the dog agility rockstar scale, Ashely totally surpasses and speaks much more clearly than Ozzy Osborne, although is not doing Louis Vuitton ads like Keith Richards. Yet. Probably just a matter of time. Actually, Ashley doesn't even have his own rockstar bus with giant flat screen tv's everywhere even, which I thought was weird. He has a Rav-4, if you are wondering what dog agility rockstars drive. Full of kid toys and dog stuff.

Photographing rockstars can be really challenging due to security, agents, groupies, travel schedules and so forth. Luckily, I have finely honed paparazzi skills so it wasn't too bad. I just hid in the bushes sit outside his house for a couple days then followed him around as he went about his day.

Wait, maybe you haven't heard of Lady Gaga, either? In case you live under a rock, Luka, Ashley's first agility dog, a super cute Pyrenees Shepherd with little dreadlocks, recently won everything at the AKC Invitationals. The 16" Grand Prix and Steeplechase Finals at the USDAA Nationals. Won stuff in Europe on the World Team. That was just this year. The year before, not that different. The year before that, I think sort of the same. Ashley and Luka have something pretty special going on out there, that gives them the consistency to be one of the fastest AND most accurate teams out there. Anywhere. Period.

Ashley and Luka were one of the reasons I started taking lessons from Jim at Power Paws. Luka would always beat Ruby and I knew Ashley took lessons from Jim so I went up there for a lesson, and was all, "Jim, can you help me get good enough to beat Ashley and Luka?"

Jim just chuckled and took my money. We never beat them in anything. Although we have gotten much better from taking lessons from Jim! But between Ashley's super fast running and supersonic front crosses, and Luka's amazing training, tight turns and crazy fast running dogwalk, they are kind of hard to beat. I just moved Ruby down to Performance and that solved that.

By day, Ashley works as a scientist at Stanford. Doing molecular biology. You know, like crystallizing enzymes and stuff. You probably see his wife Jessica and his super cute little boy Liam sometimes at trials. And then of course, there's Dash. Because one Pyrenees Shepherd isn't enough, Ashley added on to the family with completely adorable and somewhat incorrigible Dash. Dash is young and wild. He will get older and beautifully trained. Ashley does not let him escape and is teaching him a super strong recall.

I mean, look at that. I am sure one day he is going to be an agility super champion. Right now, that's just pretty darn cute.

OK, you want to know a few of the things that ADCH-Gold and LAA-Gold Luka has accomplished? Luka has been in 12 US National Finals (AKC/USDAA) and she has won 9 of them. So let's start with the USDAA Steeplechase in 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009. She's never been beaten in the Steeplechase Finals. In 2007 and 2009, she won the Grand Prix Finals as well. In 2008, was second. In 2006, Luka's DAM team, took 2nd place.

In AKC (Luka is the first Pyr Shepherd to earn a MACH), she won the 2006 and 2009 AKC Invitationals, and won her divison of the AKC Nationals in 2007. She now has a NAC MACH2.

In addition she has won AKC World Team Tryouts for the last 3 years in both selection categories. She has only been on World Team for two years (2008/Finland, 2009/Austria). In 2007 Norway dogs with a docked tail were not allowed to compete because of laws in Norway.

This year at the FCI World Championships in Austria Luka helped the medium (midi) team take Silver medal (with Karen Holik/Sizzle and Jennifer Crank/Blaster). She was the high combined medium team dog in the competition (team competition is a jumpers with weaves round and standard round). There are videos on Youtube.

Whew. So I'll tell you this. It's not just speed and training. Ashley is a thinker. He plans. He focuses. And then he gets out there and RUNS. Ashely, Luka and Dash, all very cool canines.


Anonymous said...

Wow. Most excellent interview! Is Ashley growing the beard in solidarity with Dash?

vici whisner said...

Laura, as usual a most EXCELLENT interview. Wow! entertaining and informative.

corinne said...

Awesome interview, Laura! Ashley and Luka are one of my favorite teams out there!

Elf said...

Are you kidding, he does SO have a huge celebrity bus for touring around to all the agility concerts! It's about 90 feet long and probably is covered inside with flat-screen TVs and wallpapered with blue ribbons, but I've never actually looked.

Great interview as always. The photos and captions Crack! Me! Up!