ALEXANDRIVA, VA – It’s 7 A.M., and Hurricane Lloyd is up. Time for a run. He begins by lightly jogging around the neighborhood, picking up the pace with each step, but just as Lloyd’s about to get into a groove, he comes to a screeching halt.
The Hurricane Lloyd v. Lawn Mower Saga is about to have another installment because someone’s cutting their grass, and this pug won’t stand for it.
“He’s excitable”, says Marie Manning, Lloyd’s owner, “He loves to chase after cars, bicycles, and people but most of all, lawn equipment.”
Now, no one ever said that being a sports AND show dog would be easy, but it certainly doesn’t help when your pug gets distracted by virtually everything that moves. Despite this, Lloyd is incredibly successful in both respects.
On the sports side, Lloyd competes in Agility, a timed event where dogs are guided through an obstacle course by their owner. While training for it, which he does at Frolick Dogs right off Duke St., Lloyd can be seen weaving around poles, marching through tunnels, and propelling his tiny legs over 8-inch jumps.
In this event, there are three different levels of competition – Novice, Open, and Masters – all of which vary in difficulty and require a certain number of points to compete in, which are based off the dog’s completion time and lack of faults.
There are also two distinct course types, a self-explanatory one called Jumpers with Weaves and another termed Standard, which consists of contact obstacles, like a teeter-totter. Lloyd already has his Novice title in Jumpers with Weaves and is currently competing in the Open section, with the hopes of one day making it to Masters.
Lloyd also competes in Fast Cat, a 100-yard dash. Normally clocking in around 14 M.P.H, he is the second-ranked pug in the country. Presently, he is working toward his FCAT ribbon, which he’ll get once he reaches 1000 points; he’s currently at 789.
Lloyd is also a natural show dog, probably because he loves being the center of attention. Manning describes him as having a “show-off look at me personality”, which is crucial to excel at this type of competition.
In this event, dogs strut the walkways and are hoisted onto a table for examination by the judge. Points are awarded by looking at movement and bone structure in comparison to the breed standard, which is a written set of characteristics the American Kennel Club deem ideal for a certain dog type. If a precise number of points are obtained, then the dog becomes a grand champion, of which there are five different types: regular, bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. Lloyd is a regular GCH, whom Manning hopes will eventually make his way to bronze.
More important than all the accolades though is the fun that Lloyd has training and participating in the events.
As Manning states, “it gives him something to do, and he gets really good treats at the end.”
He is an incredibly happy, go-lucky animal, whose sole purpose is to have a good time. Lloyd has a blast competing, which strengthens his bond with Manning in the process.
“We have fun, we hang out”, she says. “There are things that I can signal or do with Lloyd, and he’ll know what I mean, whereas another dog would have no idea what to do.”
For Manning, it’s a really enjoyable hobby with innumerable benefits, not the least of which is tiring Lloyd out. He loves his beauty sleep, and after an event, Lloyd will fall into a deep slumber, unable to be awakened, unless a lawn mower is in the vicinity.