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Bay area team making history at 2011 AKC Agility Invitational

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While many are prepping for the holidays, local gal Aryn Hervel and her sidekick Crush will be making canine history. Their home is in Novato but they've travelled almost 3000 miles to take part in the AKC Agility invitational being held this weekend in Orlando, Florida. The American Kennel Club(AKC) was created in 1884 to promote the registry and sport of purebred dogs, so here is where it gets interesting. Crush is somewhere along the lines of an Australian Cattle Dog and Parson Russell Terrier, in other words, a mix. How did this mighty mutt get past the proverbial velvet rope in order rub snouts with the purebreds?

The answer is a new category called "AKC Canine Partners" which is open to all canines of mixed heritage wanting to compete in AKC dog sport events. This is groundbreaking as so many "All-American" dogs can't claim to be purebred and until April of 2010, weren't able to take part in AKC dog sport events. The AKC Agility Invitational selects dogs using a points system based on a year's worth of competition, only the top five dogs in the country for each breed can attend. In Crush's case, she is one of these five "Canine Partners" welcomed to join the Agility Invitational for the first time this year.

Crush, a petite powerhouse at just 18 pounds, absolutely loves "working" in the ring and earned her MACH or Master Agility Championship title last September. Aryn is no stranger to dog sports and hard work either. She is a well-respected, certified professional dog trainer in Marin County (Leaps and Hounds Dog Training) who has been competing for years in canine obedience, agility, rally obedience, flyball and most recently, K9 nosework. Simply being invited to this event is a huge accomplishment and you can check HERE for pictures, video and results for the AKC Agility Invitational on Dec. 17 & 18.

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