Thursday, February 12, 2015

Meg McCarthy & Bolt and Nike

Who is in the photo at right?

I'm Meg McCarthy and these are my two shelties, Bolt and Nike. Nike is my oldest, he's 10 years old and has been retired from agility for the last few years (he's very much enjoying all the couch time now). Bolt is three and he is actively competing in agility -- he's been quite successful in his young life and we have many events we're looking forward to this year; coming up is in the near future is Westminster, Sheltie Nationals, AKC Nationals, and World Team Tryouts!

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Today is a bit of a different one for us. The shelties and I are crashing at my Dad’s house waiting out the blizzard that hit the Northeast. We are enjoying an afternoon cup after lots of shoveling, quad-riding through the snow, and much eating. The snow is still coming down quite hard.

What's brewing?

My go-to is always a home-brewed Starbucks with cream and sugar. Today it’s a house blend with caramel creamer. Nice and toasty beside the fireplace for sure!

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

They have been allowed lots of extra treats because of the snow storm… including the ever-coveted pizza bones (pizza crust).

How did Bolt and Nike get their names? Any aliases?

Nike was named after the sports brand-- which is from the Goddess of Victory-- though he assures everyone he's quite manly. He goes by Nike Nathaniel when he's in some sort of trouble, but luckily that only happens a couple times a week (okay, maybe a couple times a day). Bolt, on the other hand, got his name for the natural occurrence-- a name that's a bit too serious for this very goofy, happy dog. Though sometimes people think he's named for the Disney character and I don't mind that at all-- he's a superhero, after all. He goes by many nicknames, the most ridiculous of which is Bo-beast. Don't ask, because I don't know.

How were you and your dogs united?

Nike came in to my life when I was 15. I had worked all summer to pay for him, and had high hopes of what our agility career together would be. He was the only puppy of the litter and was going to be a bit over-sized, so the breeder wanted him to find the right person: luckily she thought I fit the bill. Bolt was a sort of unexpected puppy (the best sort) and came to me when I wasn't exactly sure I was ready for a new dog (I was). My long-time friend, Paulette Swartzendruber, had a litter of puppies planned from her awesome dog, Rush. I luckily lived close enough to her to be there the day they were born (and almost every day after that). She helped me pick out Bolt, and now that she's no longer with us, her spirit and memory lives on through him. He's become a very special dog to me.

Bolt and Nike are both agility dogs. What is each dog's proudest achievement in the sport?

Both Bolt and Nike have had many great achievements in agility. Nike's proudest moment was when he placed 1st at the AKC National agility championships in the International round-- we had worked so hard to make it to that point and it felt like such a moment of accomplishment for us. Along with that Nike earned his Master Agility Championship (MACH), attended several world team tryouts and two national championships. Bolt has been competing for just over two years but has achieved much. I haven't had a particular achievement with him that I am most proud of yet-- he's qualified for three World Team Tryouts, two National championships, has almost completed his MACH, and has many more events in the upcoming year. I see many proud achievements in our future.

Squirrel, postman, cat....?

None, actually. Both boys are a bit oblivious to those sorts of things. Though Bolt does enjoy running the fence and play bowing to horses.

Squeaky-toy, ball, stick...?

Nike's favorite would have to be the ball. Though he is definitely not a retriever, and most games of fetch become a game of Nike barking while I retrieve the ball myself. Squeaky toys are definitely Bolt's favorite. He usually chooses to begin incessant squeaking around 11pm every night when we've all settled in to bed. (There's a current embargo on any new squeakies entering the house per "Daddy"-- my fiancé, Joe).

What is your dogs' favorite outdoor destination?

Anywhere that allows for some hiking. We plan hiking trips all year long, and love to explore places we've never been before. We're planning on doing a day hike this spring/ summer to the Appalachians. That’s aside from the outdoor agility training we do when the weather cooperates, that is!

Who are Bolt and Nike's best pet-pals?

Bolt and Nike love their friends Sir Prize (a border collie), Jive (a sheltie), Aidan (a golden-mix) and the newest addition to our 'extended family', Seamus (also a sheltie) owned and loved by my good friends, Carolyn and Dee. We spend many weekends with them playing agility, hiking, having bonfires and going to the beach.

What is each dog's best quality?

Nike's best quality is his thoughtfulness. He's a sensitive dog (don't tell him) who would attach himself to my hip if he were able. I'd have to say that Bolt's best quality is his smile, and his unrivaled love of life. He has made me a better person, and has made me learn to appreciate the things I once took for granted-- he has put an entirely new perspective on the world.

If Bolt and Nike could change one thing about you, what would it be?

Probably the fact that I work a full-time job. They would much rather I be home all day with them.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Bolt and Nike could speak, which actors should do their voices?

I have a feeling Bolt would best be suited by someone like Ashton Kutcher. Especially after his role as Kelso on That’s 70’s Show. Nike, on the other hand, seems more suited to have someone like Patrick Stewart as his voice—a more refined, mature sort of character for my older boy.

If your dogs could answer only one question in English, what would you ask them?

Do you really think you’re protecting me from the hair dryer/ shovel/ broom/ vacuum, etc?

What advice would Bolt and Nike give if asked?

Nike and Bolt would certainly say that more cookies would fix whatever was broken. That, or nothing a few barks and spins couldn’t solve.

Visit Meghan McCarthy's Unstoppable Dogs website.

--Marshal Zeringue

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