MACH 4 ADCH Gold Corsair’s Run for the Roses TM-
Platinum, GCH-Platinum, JCH-Gold, SCH-Gold, SnCH-Gold,
RCH-Gold CD June 9, 2000 until today, August 12, 2016
A Donna Wasielewski post about writing your dog’s history before you
write her obituary made sense and this history began:
After our first Terv, Derby, died, his breeder, Marilynn Reichel, brought a
pending litter to Gina’s attention. The #1 conformation bitch, Topaz, and
one of the most famous and accomplished dogs in the breed, Hamish,
were parents-to-be. Marilynn introduced us and we traveled to Wisconsin
when the litter was five weeks old. We watched Cindy and Steve groom
them, feed them and play with them. We sat on Cindy’s lawn and watched
them all waddle around. One, Teal, had a particular affinity to Gina, and
she eventually decided Gina should be her friend.
Gina flew to O’Hare and met Cindy there. She took the next flight back to
Houston with a small puppy peeking out of her sherpa bag. Riley, named
for a Kentucky Derby winner in honor of Derby, arrived and immediately
took over the house she shared with us, our cats, Koshka and Basheera,
our Aussie Allegro, and our beloved Dodger.
Marilynn knew we took Dodger to agility classes to build her confidence
and she told Gina about Jane Simmons-Moake. Gina took Riley for a
private lesson with Jane and I will never forget her coming home from that
lesson and telling me that Jane watched Riley, looked at her, and said,
“you’re special.” And a star she was.
For the next ten years Riley stood out for her agility acumen. She ran in
AKC, USDAA and NADAC events, and excelled everywhere she went. A
lasting memory was standing by the ringside in Hutto, TX watching Riley
prepare for a standard run. Marcus Topps was nearby talking with
someone and he interrupted the conversation saying, “Wait a minute, I
want to watch this dog run.”
Riley was the first Tournament Master Platinum Terv in USDAA history.
She was the second or third Terv to reach all the Gold milestones. She
was the #1 Terv invited to the inaugural AKC Invitational. She was also #1
for the next two years. Her first year at the Reliant show in Houston, the
weaves were situated near the ring gate, where several rows of chairs
were full of spectators. When Riley entered those weaves the crowd
erupted in cheers. When Riley competed in the Reliant International, the
handler who had the current first place dog watched Riley’s run. Someone
asked him if his dog was in first. When Riley finished he turned and said,
“Not anymore.” She won that one too.
Riley teamed with some awesome dogs in her career: Sterling, Blast,
Scout, Remy; and every one of those teams took first place. Riley never
took a back seat. She was so often in first place Gina had to remember
what a third place ribbon looked like.
Riley trialed in 23 states. She was invited to AKC World Team tryouts. She
participated in three AKC Nationals, five USDAA nationals, and multiple
regional events. She loved to travel. She loved to run with Gina. She even
ran with me a few times in her career. I felt like I was driving a Maserati.
Riley was much more than an agility dog. She was a gamer. If you
showed her a game, she would learn it and try to win every time. Gina
decided to get her CD and took her to Debby Quigley for lessons. Debby
told her Riley had “OTCH written all over her.” Riley’s dad, Hamish, was a
renowned obedience dog. Riley and Gina went to Reliant and entered into
obedience, and Riley earned her CD in three consecutive days, with an
active agility ring across the aisle, and once with her sister, Matisse, in the
long down next to her. She took 4th, 2nd and 2nd place; better every day.
Paris had a brother owned by a police woman who was training her dog in
cadaver work. She came to our home one day with a training device that
contained remains. Riley took a step back when she was first introduced,
but when she realized it was a game, she was all in. She found that bag
wherever it was hidden. She knew she was good.
With her intelligence, drive, enthusiasm, and athleticism, Riley was
special. Yet the best was in her zest for life with us. She and Gina are so
attached you can see similar traits and habits. She would go anywhere
and do anything if it was with Gina, even if it was simply lying on the couch
while Gina worked. At trials, she would spot me walking towards her and
rise on her back legs and bark to greet me. When I entered a room she
would run to me with her “propeller tail” in rapid motion. Later in life she
would sleep between us and split time cuddled against each.
After Riley retired from agility at 10, Gina played games with her in the back
yard and her office and Riley never lost her enthusiasm.
From Houston we lived in Maine, Florida, Maine, North Carolina and now
Cincinnati, and Riley was ever present. She selected the house we rent
when the realtor invited her in and she ran up the stairs like she owned the
The years have slowed her down, but she retains her beauty and loving
eyes. There has never been another quite like her and there never will be
again. She is a jewel, rare and bright. We will love her for the rest of our
Alas, I did not listen closely enough to Donna’s advice and I am
completing this on the day Riley died. There is never a “right” time and this
is not the right time, but it is time. We love you Riley, always have, always