by ROSIE PIGA PIZZO
The Flying Paws Agility Club agility course, set up inside a refurbished horse barn, offers dogs (and their people) a big space to run, fetch, and show off their skills.
When 7-year-old border collie Ari runs through tunnels, fetches toys, and then begs for more with a playful growl, her owner, Jana Wilson, president of the club, is happy to oblige. “I can’t think of anything more fun than coming here and working with my dog,” Wilson says.
The club was founded in 2006 by Leslie Ems as a way to build a community of dog owners with a focus on agility training. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization has been at its 6695 N. Bottom Road location, which features a 150-foot-by-80-foot competitive ring, since 2018. “Dogs need something to do, and agility is a great way to build a relationship with your dog,” Wilson says. “And, in the process, owners and dogs get mental and physical benefits.” The club offers classes from April through November, seminars with experts, and open practice times, which owners and their dogs can attend after taking the first two classes.
Wilson has seen Great Danes, Labradors, Chihuahuas, and other breeds in action. “All different breeds can be super successful, as long as they have some fitness and are not too old,” she says.
Flying Paws currently has 16 members. Some compete at the national level. In February, Kyle Miles competed in the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show agility trials in New York City with her miniature American shepherds, Loyal and Ever. Loyal made it to the Masters Agility Championship. “We support whatever people are interested in doing, whether it’s competing or just the enjoyment of training their dogs,” Wilson says.
Dog owners can become members after completing the Agility Foundations class. Monthly fees are $25. Membership benefits include discounts on classes.
“Over the years, we’ve become more educated,” Wilson says. “We learn from teaching and from the students. We’ve advanced in our knowledge and understanding.”
For more information, visit flyingpawsagility.com.