Friday, March 16, 2012

A dog named Mellie

Something I often say about flyball is how awesome the team aspect is. Having people by your side during training and at tournaments, to share in your defeats as well as the wins, and to really share every aspect of the experience, is something pretty amazing. I don't think I've ever really mentioned before, though, how much this goes beyond your immediate team.

In the flyball world, we often become close to members of other teams by interacting at tournaments, running in Open together, talking training details, or just seeing each other at every flyball event, be it a tournament or a local fun match. Flyball becomes a community that is much larger than just the individual or even the individual teams.

Recently, my local flyball community took a blow when a border collie named Mellie was injured playing disc at a local park. Mellie belongs to Greta Kaplan, who leads and trains the Portland Tailblazer's flyball team. Greta also does training work with reactive dogs or those with behavioral issues.

Mellie-10mosRunning-byTami Mellie is a six year old border collie who is active not only in flyball and disc, but also in herding, obedience, rally, nosework, and other dog sports. Mellie always gives 110% in everything she does. She is a handful on the starting line in flyball, but she knows her job and gives every single heat everything she has, even at the end of the day on Sunday when even the most reliable dogs are getting tired and making mistakes.

Mellie-13mos-carrytug2 Mellie helps her mom out around the house by picking up dropped objects (and greatly enjoys doing her work!), and also helps out the reactive dogs Greta works with on a daily basis by being the decoy dog, distraction dog, and meet and greet dog. Mellie loves going to work with her mom, and happily jumps into the car every time.

Mellie is Greta's heart dog- Greta, who gives her heart to every dog she puts so much time and effort into training and rehabilitating. Mellie always gets along with everyone, and is always there. She loves to rest her chin on Greta's shoulder in bed, and will give a little hop to help her mom pick her up.
But now, Mellie has a full cruciate ligament rupture as well as an unstable knee joint. She had surgery to repair both of these problems, including an older surgical method used to stabilize the knee joint with, basically, fishing line strung through. Mellie is doing good post surgery, doing regular rehab exercises including twice-a-week under water treadmill (thanks to the very generous support of a sports rehab vet who is also a part of our flyball community).
Greta has set up a Chip-In, which you may have noticed displayed on the side bar of my blog for the past couple of weeks. Many very generous people have donated to help pay for Mellie's surgery, but the full amount has not yet been raised. If you don't have the ability to donate, I hope you have been able to just read this post about an incredible dog, and that it helps you appreciate not only those incredible dogs in your own household, but those owned by your community as well, be they family, friends, or dog sports competitors that you see most every weekend.

Mellie in action on the big screen at a Portland Trailblazer's half time show 

 If you do have the means and desire to donate, you can do so either on the sidebar or using the link below. And know that you are not only helping out Mellie and her mom Greta, but an entire community of dog lovers who would have been much worse off without this amazing team in action.


  1. Aww, Crystal, you totally made me cry. Thank you! Mellie sends Mellie kisses, too.

  2. As Mellie's (and Greta's) teammate, I thank you and all the flyball community for your support. As you say, it's more than "team" and we are lucky to have great friends in this Region and beyond. Mellie is a blast to run with (except, perhaps, for the screaming on the line) and is truly our "anchor" dog!

  3. Mellie sounds like one terrific dog! I hope her recovery is swift! Happy St. Patty's Day!

  4. Oh poor miss Mellie! We're wishing you a swift recovery- it sounds like you have a lot of important work you have to get back to!

  5. Best wishes to Mellie for a full recovery. It looks as if she's getting the best care that's available.

  6. Having been through two knee surgeries with my best red dog, I wish only the very best to Mellie and Greta! It's a real bummer of an injury. I hope Mellie is back up and running soon!