The Australian OneMind Dogs Coach Niki Drage interviewed one of her students: Cornelia Kluck has been a great inspiration for Niki herself, but also many other OneMind Dogs pack members around the world. Watch the video!
Cornelia Kluck, or Connie as she is known to her friends, is an inspiring and passionate woman. I have always believed she is the true embodiment of the quote “impossible is nothing”. Connie has been battling bone cancer, a degenerative orthopaedic disorder, for 10 years. The cancer eats holes in the bones which means she is highly susceptible to bone breaks and skeletal changes. Connie says her hips, pelvis, back, neck, ribs and shoulders have noticeable skeletal changes which restrict her movement, but her lower legs are ok so she is still able to go out and enjoy being active. With a history of surf rescue and swimming in ocean classics, Connie could not accept a sedentary lifestyle, so the hospital that was involved with treating her condition recruited Panda, a Border Collie x Cattle Dog from “Aussie Angels” to act as Connie’s assistance dog.
Thanks to Panda, Connie is able to enjoy an active life in the Royal National Park in NSW, Australia. The pair enjoy bush walks, ocean swimming and even still paddle a kayak! Connie says “I am pretty slow, but I am still going”. Alongside these activities, Panda also assists Connie with getting dressed, answering the phone and daily household chores. He will reliably work out of sight, alerts to spasms and bone fractures and does mobility and balance assistance. If Connie breaks something, and can't get up, he gets the phone and assists the ambulance officers, he takes a light down to the gate and finds the outdoor key for them to let them into the house and last year he even went back for her walking stick to put it into the ambulance! Without Panda, Connie would likely be in a nursing home or hospice rather than enjoying life to the fullest.
To thank Panda for all his hard work and commitment, Connie decided that he needed an outlet for his play drive. So they became involved in several dog sports such as Treiball and Agility. Connie found that agility helped with her fitness as well as giving Panda an outlet for his high energy levels. After only a few years of competing, this outstanding team have managed to achieve a dazzling array of results. Panda is well known as one of the best maxi height dogs in NSW in ADAA; he was crowned Regional Dog of the Year for NSW 2015 and qualified with a 4th in the National Finals. He has his Australian Agility Champion title with ADAA and his ADM2 and JDM2 in ANKC alongside games and open titles. He has been 2nd and 3rd in his height class and in Open classes in ANKC which generally have over 100 participants. Since discovering OneMind Dogs and studying the method in depth, Connie is now able to give Panda even earlier and more accurate information so he can work independently on course. We are very excited to see what 2016 has in store for them after all the hard work they have put in. Most importantly however, Connie and Panda get to experience the joy of stepping up to the start line and giving it their all while playing their favourite game.