Saturday, August 1, 2009

Fargo's Finest Clementine

Clementine appeared on the CBS Early Show this morning with Nadja. She showed examples of what people can expect to see dogs doing when they watch the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge. As a true "jack of all trades," Clem is a perfect dog for this job. At 9-years-young, this incredible mutt has had an amazing career and isn't showing signs of slowing down anytime soon. Clem's story is a great one, so I thought I'd share a bit of it here.

Nadja adopted Clementine when when she lived in Fargo, ND (Fargo you ask? Yes, Fargo.). Clem was a stray who showed up at a lake one day where lots of Fargo-ites hang out in the summer. After entertaining people all day long by playing fetch, someone had the good sense to call a rescuer they knew who came and picked up Clem and and took her into foster care. After spending several months in foster care, Nadja decided to foster Clem to see if she could find her a sport home. Well . . . after about a day with Clementine, Nadja knew she had found her next dog and that Clementine wasn't going anywhere.

Nadja quickly started training Clem in agility. Clem showed natural skills right away, and with some great training by Nadja, it wasn't long before Clem started earning titles, eventually earning the title of Master Agility Dog in the USDAA. Along the way, however, Nadja discovered another amazing skill Clementine had . . . dock diving! At 28 pounds, Clementine, is much smaller than your typical "leaping labrador," but that doesn't stop her from outjumping most of them. In 2005, Clem earned a spot in the ESPN Great Outdoor Games in Big Air, by far the smallest dog to ever do so.

At the ripe age of 6, Nadja started competing seriously with Clem in the sport of canine disc. Most dogs peak in this sport between the ages of 4 and 6. Of course, Clem isn't like most dogs . . . starting out as an old lady in the sport, she has qualified for the world finals in four different organizations. Clem has travelled all over the country and to South America twice to thrill audiences in multiple sports. She never lets them down.

Over the years, Clem has been x-rayed for injuries here or there (her self-preservation skills leave a little to be desired). Everytime she is x-rayed, we find a new BB. She is riddled with them from her days as a stray. We always talk about what her life as a stray in Fargo must have been like. Did she get too close to a farmer's chickens a couple of times? Come across some kids playing with a BB gun? Who knows. One thing I do know is how she survived. Clem has a spirit that could take her through almost any situation. You can count on her for anything. As long as a toy or some food is involved, she will give you 110% everytime. :-) Her zest for life is inspiring. I am lucky to know this dog, and look forward to spending the next 9 years with her.

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