Little Nala pretty big (text of the article)
Visit at the worldchampions’: How the Beagle from Bavaria roughed up the rivals in Moscow and Dallas
“Comecomecomecome” the girl in the darkblue trainingcoat is calling while running with flying hair over the grass. First green is covering the court of HSV Diessen, soft subsoil for dogs paws. And Nala doesn’t need a second request: Like a little flash the Beagle runs through the tire and weaves the poles in record-time. With bright eyes and flying ears Nala comes to get her praise: “Good girl!” Since she has been in Dallas last year at the American Agility Grand Prix, where she finished 13th, she also understands English. But her Russian still needs to be exercised – though she finished the parcours in Moscow as best and became IFCS-Worldchampion. Against all favourites from Russia and the US. They even played the German National Anthem for Nala, while she was standing on top of the pedestal.
And here on the dog-court at the Ammersee her career had its beginning. Here she practised her first “Sit” in the Puppy-Play-Meeting. That is now 7 years ago. A great career for a dog, who originally was just planned to be educated well. Her owner, 20-year-old Riccarda Schünemann, remembers: “Originally Nala was bought because my little sister wanted to have a dog”. But aged only 8, she was too young: The Education of Nala became Riccardas job. So they went diligently to Puppy-Play-Mettings, Young-Dog- and Obedience-Lessons. At that time Riccarda was 13. A age at which most are interested in lipgloss colours and rockstars and not in flinging slobbery tennisbally in the mud at any weather conditions. “Most times I was the youngest on the dog-court.” Nevertheless she kept going and made it to upper Bavarian champion in Competition Dogsport.
But Nala is small for a Beagle. “The hurdles in Competition Dogsport are the same height for all kind of dogs. That’s why Agility is much better for her”, Riccarda says. Nala also prefers the independent work on distance in Agility to the “By foot” work in Competition Dogsport.
Because they did not have Agility equipment in Diessen at that time, Riccarda started practising on self-made equipment from bamboo and wood in the garden. From there Nala made it to 4th place at German championship 2001 and 2002 in a row – not many dogs boast such a consistency!
Now time had come to participate in international competition. In 2001 Riccarda heard about the Agility Worldchampionships of IFCS in Moscow. She corresponded with the Russian IFCS-President (in English) and enrolled Nala. The trip did not only become a success for the athletic Beagle. “People took lovely care for us”, Riccarda raves about. Accomodated in the only hotel in Moscow where dogs are allowed, she experienced cultural highlights at the same time as the inner-city dogcourts full of rubbish and potsherds.
At the Championships she got to know the American Team, who invited her to Dallas to the Grand Prix of Dog Agility. The clever girl already had an idea how to finance that. She contacted the company who sponsors the Grand Prix in Dallas, whose products are also available in Germany. And they were prepared to finance Nalas trips. In return Nala will be on advertisements for anti-tick-products saying “recommended by the world champion”.
Despite sponsoring Riccarda, who wants to study vet medicine, doesn’t want to stress Nala with such long plane trips in future. Three hours to Moscow are no problem. But in Dallas Nala landed on the airport with a terrible cold. “Well, someone who sleeps in eiderdown beds normally, doesn’t like plane freight rooms” Riccarda laughs, who already took Nala into her bed when she was a puppy. Besides that 4 days of competition was just too much for the Beagle, who lost the interest for it after 2 days. “We just had trained too much in August”, Riccarda explains. Today she plays with her and goes walking very long daily, but she maximum trains once a week – and at least two weeks before a competition she doesn’t train at all. “Then she runs like a canon ball.” Once a week she also does tracking with Nala. Through that the dog becomes wellbalanced and doesn’t snoop around that much. Because Nala still has the temperament of a puppy.
And she got it done that Riccardas boyfriend lost his fear of dogs. Now his biggest wish is also to have a dog once…