Bulverde’s latest sports star may walk around on four paws and have fur all over her body, but she’s still helping bring home the bacon — and eating it too.
Bulverde resident dog agility competitor Catherine Laria and her 11-year-old border collie Blizzard or “Bliz” took top honors, the “Performance Versatility Pairs Tournament championship” at the Cynosport World Games, hosted by the United States Dog Agility Association late last month, an honor Laria said she was proud of Bliz for securing.
“This was probably Bliz’ last big go of it,” Laria said of her senior dog. “So it was a really sweet moment.”
Taking top honors in her height category in Performance Versatility Pairs Tournament championships, Bliz showcased her speed and technical ability in the sport of dog agility.
“We train year round,” Laria said, gesturing to Bliz, her sister Jellybean and Laria’s newest addition, a 2-year-old border collie named Sunny.
Laria co-owns a pet boarding location and training academy, the K9 Country Club, in Bulverde. The full-service business offers basic obedience, herding, and agility training, houses a full agility course, a dock diving pool, a “dog beach” and offers grooming services on top of boarding pets.
“I moved out here for horses but I’ve always been a dog person,” Laria recalls. “Thanks to Jellybean here, we’ve medaled in every category.”
Both Bliz and Jelly hail from the same sire, Paint, who sadly was put down earlier this year along with one of Jelly’s brothers, Laria said.
“It was just a really emotional moment,” Laria said tearing up slightly. “When Jelly won her category that was the only medal we hadn’t gotten yet so it was really a bittersweet thing.”
Laria and Blizzard are quite the team, having been in a Cynosport finals every year they have attended since 2011.
“Since 2011, my goal at each big event is to stand on the podium,” Laria said. “We had been in many finals but have never won the gold; it was extremely rewarding to win our first gold medal in 2018 and then to be able to repeat a gold medal win in 2019,” she added.
What’s unique about Bliz is her amazing work ethic and her utter sweetness, Laria said.
“She’s the sweetest dog I’ve ever had,” Laria said. “She loves to please, she loves to work.”
Laria said her training methods have always been reward based, but over the years she’s focused on becoming even more relationship based.
“I always had strong relationships, but I used to be really stern too,” Laria said. “Dogs, if you give them enough love, will do anything you want.”
Now that she’s had a long and successful career, Bliz can take it easy now, Laria added.
“She’s been a great teammate and an amazing dog,” Laria said.
For more information about the K9 Country Club, visit http://www.k9countryclub.net.