Indy and Cortney take gold

One look at Indy and one wouldn't believe that the stocky corgi would ever enter, let alone win, a dog race, but checkered flags and top finishes are the norm for Indy and Cortney Grand Bouche, her handler, when it comes to dog agility.

Cortney, 12, and her two-year-old corgi Indy, went to the Animal Planet/USDAA Grand Prix of Dog Agility Championships in San Diego and won two gold medals and a silver in different events.

Indy and Cortney (daughter of Bret and Glenda Grand Bouche) competed against dogs and handlers from across the continent and beat out their competitors in the Jr. Showcase Division.

Even though Indy isn't the sleekest looking of all dogs, she is successful because the hard work, intelligence and teamwork that is vital to winning dog agility competitions. Dog agility is a competitive activity in which the dog and handler make their way through an obstacle course while being timed. There are see-saws, ramps, jumps and tunnels to challenge the team. Cortney said that the secret to her success is the bond that she has with Indy.

"We play a lot together, she sleeps in my bed and we did the 4-H obedience class together, so we have a very close bond," said Cortney.

Indy and Cortney have an impressive resume of successful dog agility competitions, including strong finishes at the fair and other competitions around the state, but the San Diego competition is the Super Bowl of dog agility. Both Cortney and Indy were nervous about the San Diego extravaganza, but Indy was more nervous about the plane ride while Cortney was nervous about the television cameras at the event.

The television show Animal Planet covered the competition. Again the teamwork helped them pull through. Cortney helped Indy get through her fears of the plane ride, and when it came time for them to run the course with the television cameras bearing down and watching every move, Indy performed flawlessly making the pressure more bearable for Cortney.

"I was nervous, I think everybody was," said Cortney. "A lot of people's dogs ran off the course."

Now that the hours spent working with Indy have paid off, Cortney plans on keeping the duo together and competing in the future. Even without the medals, she enjoys spending time with her dog.

"It's fun, and its a challenge to try and get a clean run," said Cortney. "It's something that we can do together."

Cortney and Indy can be seen competing on the Animal Planet channel Dec. 4.

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