Abigail the mutt’s success story: From ticks to trophies
By Nick Longworth
A dog that was once seemingly left for dead in the woods is now a state champion.
Abigail, a stray Australian Shepherd mix, was brought to the Headwaters Animal Shelter a little over a year ago.
Adopted by the Stack family and trained by Molly, “Abby” was taken to the state fair this past year, winning grand champion in both the “obedience” and “rally” competitions.
But it wasn’t always ribbons and pictures for Abby, having come a long way since her rocky beginning.
“In June 2012 (Abby) was found in the woods near Ice Cracking Lake. She was brought in by people who found her. She had mange and was covered in ticks. They brought her in and we began treatment immediately,” said Danielle Perry, cat manager at Headwaters Animal Shelter.
“On July 14 she went out with the first foster family,” Perry said. “Almost immediately they changed their mind, so they brought her back. They didn’t adopt any other pets either so maybe they just weren’t ready.”
On July 24, a second foster family came in and they kept her for a little over a month. They ultimately decided they did not agree with the medical treatment policy for her on how the shelter was treating her skin.
“I think the lady liked a more holistic approach but we have to go by what our doctors and veterinarians think is best,” Perry said.
Still without a family, Perry insisted Abby was very friendly and loveable. She just needed a chance.
“(We never had any) bad behavior out of Abigail. She was a perfect, sweet dog,” Perry said.
She started to look better and feel better.
“By August, the third family, Mr. Stack and his family came in. They are the ones who currently own her. They continued with her skin treatment and did everything they were supposed to do,” Perry said. “On Dec. 4, 2012, we were able to successfully close her adoption, making her their dog forever.”
Once adopted, Molly immediately took to Abby’s training. She attended weekly 4-H training classes, with the goal of seeing Abby reach her full potential.
“It was amazing to see Abby do so well her first year,” said Dean Stack, Molly’s father.
Molly attended the Hubbard County 4-H canine program Tuesday nights for a year.
Once she started, Abby’s training really progressed.
“If you get a blue ribbon for placing in the county fair you can make it to the state fair and try your chances there,” Molly said. “I ended up winning grand champion in the fields of obedience and rally. Rally is agility and obedience testing combined. We have to do different tests according to (the judge’s) instructions and timing is factored in. Abby had to do different sits and down-stays and other tests. She did really well,” Molly said.
The sky is the limit for Abby’s training under Molly’s supervision.
“(The state fair experience) was really fun. I really enjoyed it. I plan to pursue entering the state fair again next year,” Molly said. “I also plan on doing more training with her and maybe see if she can be a service dog.”
Abby has gone from being homeless, covered in ticks, to having a loving home and family, decorated with champion ribbons.
Not a bad story.