Fly Away’s Ghosteyed Wingman, HCTs, FMCh, WFD-MF

Rafe (pronounced like "Safe") is a 6-year-old neutered male Australian Shepherd.  He was purchased from a breeder near Lebanon, Pennsylvania in March of 2002.  I wanted a workable dog with a calmer temperament inside the home and my husband already owned an off-the-wall Australian Shepherd from all stock dog lines.  Rafe was my first Australian Shepherd and was bred from half working and half show lines.  He has far exceeded my expectations in every thing he does!

Rafe and I have ventured into several different sports together.  With both of us being new at them all, we have managed to accomplish great things together in a very short amount of time.

I tested Rafe on his stock sense as a puppy and very easily gained his Herding Capabilites Title through the American Herding Breed Association on sheep.  While I haven’t had as much exposure to stock as I would have liked with him, I’m positive he would have been a stellar herding dog and would have made his heritage proud.

Rafe and I began competing in Flyball when he was 1 ½ years old.  Flyball is a relay racing sport for dogs and their handlers.  Rafe quickly excelled in that sport and has matured into a reliable and fast dog, racing the lanes at 4.3 seconds!  He has gained his Flyball Master Champion title (FMCh) by earning 15,000 points!  We currently are halfway to his next title, the Onyx, at 20,000 points.

While racing on the flyball lanes we quickly befriended a Canine Musical Freestyle instructor.  She and I met up and planned a Pairs Routine with her blue merle aussie as well.  During learning about the sport and preparing for our Pairs Routine, Rafe and I quickly created a Singles Routine and traveled up to Saratoga Springs, NY for our first competition.  Rafe wowed the crowd with his extraordinary capabilities and ended up gaining Highest Technical and Highest Artistic scores on Saturday and Highest Scoring Beginner for the weekend.  Rafe also gained his Beginning title in Musical Freestyle and one leg toward his Novice title.  He is a natural at every sport we venture into!

Rafe also currently trains in Agility and will compete in his first trial this summer.  I look for him to do great things in this sport as he is a level headed runner with keen attention to my body language…now if I could just get my body to do the right things…LOL!

Rafe and I dabbled in the sport of Canine Disc late in the summer of 2005.  He quickly learned to love that sport, as well, and gained several impressive titles along the way.  Rafe currently holds the 2005 Regional Champion title in the Women’s Open Division.  He also holds the 2006 Open Qualifier Champion title in Women’s Sport Division.  Rafe also holds the 2006 Extreme Distance record for the NE Region of 182 yards!  Rafe was invited to appear on the Skyhoundz/Hyperflite Disc Dog Training DVD that was put out Nation Wide!  You can find the DVD on the Skyhoundz website, or at any specialty pet store in your area.

Rafe is now retired from Disc Sport due to a shoulder injury that required surgery in June of 2007.  During his recovery period, Rafe and I spent a lot of time swimming and rehabilitating the shoulder.  We found the Canine Spa in Dillsburg, PA and knew that would be a perfect place to help his shoulder back to full usage.  While swimming every week since December of 2007, we met up with the Keystone Dock Diving club and quickly learned about their practice sessions on Friday nights.  Since Rafe was good at jumping in the air after a disc and landing on the ground, why wouldn’t he be good at jumping in the air after a toy and landing in the water?  A new sport has been discovered! Rafe is showing great promise in the sport of Dock Diving.  He is a strong swimmer and loves leaping after that cool bumper in Extreme Vertical. I truly believe that thus far this is his favorite sport and we’ve barely just begun!  Hopefully he can show that Herding dogs can do it too!

2008 Chesapeake Awards:

       Regional Biggest Jump - 25' 4"

2009 Chesapeake Awards:

      4th place for Most Feet Jumped, 229'2"