Amber of Stoughton had been looking for an Australian Shepherd and had an instant connection when she saw Mia’s picture on the breeder’s website. Mia is a red tri (like her mom) and Amber relates that she “was the ‘calm one,’ who would watch and then participate with her brothers and sisters.” The connection became even stronger when Amber discovered that Mia was born on the same date as her cousin. The cousin was like a brother to Amber and lost his life on his 24th birthday. Since Amber’s horse died the day before picking up Mia from the breeder, the puppy became her own therapy dog right away.
Amber and Mia hope to work with children in some capacity as a therapy dog team.
In addition to Mia’s therapy dog skills, she is a champion dock jumper, acts as team mascot at softball games, plays fetch, and enjoys “just swimming around.”
Thinking Mia needed a friend Nellie, an Australian Cattle Dog/Border Collie mix was added to the family. Amber said that Nellie is the one that played the most with Mia at Lucky Mutts Rescue, so that clinched that deal. Nellie is 2 years old now and Mia is 3-1/2 years old.
Dock Diving Dog: News from the Docks
When it comes to dog competitions, there are plenty to choose from. Mia and I made an attempt at agility, but, just like me, she’s a swimmer and not a runner. This past summer, Mia entered her fourth year of Dock Diving. We compete 2-3 times a year (as there is a lot of travel time during the summer), and she cannot get enough of it. Much like when we get to volunteer, Mia knows when we are going to a competition. She has specific toys that she likes to jump for! This year, we attended two jumps and she came out with two overall Divisional Championships with jumps averaging 16′, her record is 18′!
People always ask me how you get started in dock diving. Just like therapy work, it is just something Mia had in her. She loves to swim, run, and play. The dog park in Stoughton does have a pier that we started jumping off of when we first started going. First, we practiced running in the water via the beach. At one point, I threw the ball pretty far and Mia, on her own, ran to the pier and jumped right in. During one of the end-of-the-year dog swims, we decided to try it for fun. SHE WON! That’s when we decided to go into competition mode!
We do have a pool at the house with a dock, so that is where we do most of our practicing. She does need a good rest the day before competition so she can save up all her energy and fly high. When Mia gets her ribbons, she wears them proudly with a big grin on her face! There is nothing better than seeing the freedom and love in your dog’s face when they are truly invested in something they like to do. I’m so fortunate that we have been able to find two things that we can do as a family and Mia loves. Her little sister Nellie (who is sacred of everything) even comes to cheer Mia on! I’m hoping there are many jumps to come in the future!