Terry Barnaby - Agility Instructor
I began dog sports at the advanced age of 52 with my 9 year old cairn terrier, Hobbes. Hobbes was truly my best friend and seemed uncannily human. Leslie Hoy, a fellow trainer, was the one who convinced me that we should try agility and rally obedience. It changed my life – and that of my dogs!
My family had a dog off and on throughout my childhood, but their responsibility was to be part of a very active family of 7 children – a full time occupation. I fell in love with a 10 week old black brindle Cairn terrier five weeks after being married and borrowed my father’s credit card to purchase him. My father would joke that Fred and I paid $250 a pound for a dog! My husband Fred felt badly that Snoopy was alone during the day and we adopted Heather to keep him company. We’ve had Cairn Terriers in pairs ever since – joined by my daughter’s dog as soon as she was old enough to ask for her own. We feel that dogs are equal members in our family, contributing so much to the love and companionship we share. After that first agility class my relationship with my dogs changed to a full working partnership.
I was a teacher and team leader for the first third of my career. I then embarked on a very rewarding career as a field representative, Director and manager with the Pennsylvania State Education Association, retiring as Associate Executive Director over 5 years ago to work for the PA Department of Education. I am a Bureau Director at this time.
Hobbes helped me through the inevitable insecurities and panic of the beginner. After many years of building knowledge, skill and confidence as a professional, I was really surprised at how insecure I felt. Roo became my partner after Hobbes and the Roo Team was established. I’ve had a wonderful time and I’ve developed much more confidence and skill. It’s fun to think about those early days and how I’ve changed.
Because I began rally and agility later in life and had no athletic background – I threw myself into learning. I read books, took multiple classes and attended as many seminars as I could. I still do. I’ve worked with some very talented people but I have to say that my best learning partners have been my dogs. Annie is now competing as part of the Roo team for the first time this year and she is amazing! She is a rescued Cairn Terrier/Chinese Crested mix and we spent the first 5 years building a relationship and changing her beliefs, attitudes and behavior around people and dogs. It will never matter how many titles she wins – she is my best accomplishment and deserves a great deal of praise for the progress she has made – beginning agility trialing at the approximate age of 8.
Our agility credits are in AKC, NADAC, TDAA, and CPE. I’ve been an instructor with beginning dogs for 3 years at Bella Vista and I’m a judge for TDAA. I look forward to continuing with the Roo Team and I can’t wait to get the opportunity to work with a young dog again. I’ve promised Hobbes, Roo and Annie that I will be a much better partner the next time around. I owe them so much.
My main goal as an instructor is to help other handlers and dogs experience the pleasure of working as a team, helping one another to learn and grow. I hope to progress to more teaching opportunities.