From abandoned pup to national champ

Anthony Abbondanza
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Wonder dog ‘Keeper,’ a Border Collie, aims for the world agility title in the Netherlands in May

Keeper was found at a post office in Marieville, Qc. Days later he was dropped off at a local SPCA.

At Timberlea Veterinary Clinic, no task is too large to be completed –even if it entails sending a talented seven-year-old Border Collie to the 2014 World Agility Championship in May.

Led by long-time veterinarian Amanda Glew and Isabelle Cote, the clinic is hosting a gala to support the once-abandoned Keeper, a Canadian champion, and his owner Tammy Gallacher on April 4, 6-9 p.m., at the Hudson Community Centre.

“This is a dog that went from being a shelter dog to one competing in a sort of Olympic-type event for dogs,” said Amanda Glew, co-owner of Timberlea Vet Clinic.

Glew added that the fundraiser is the best way to demonstrate the perks of adopting a dog from a shelter.

Keeper’s story is a rather remarkable tale of what a rescued dog and his owner can achieve in unison –and with hard work.

It was in 2008 when the Kirkland veterinary clinic tended to Gallacher’s Pitbull, Becker, who was sadly losing his battle against Cancer.

“When I told her ‘get another dog, Becker would want you to do that,’ she told me tearfully, no dog would replace her Becker,” Glew told The Chronicle.

Weeks later, Gallacher fell upon an abandoned black-and-white furry little creature at a local SPCA.

“I visited a few other dogs, but when I saw him, I knew he was the one I wanted to keep,” said the St. Lazare resident. 

And so she named him Keeper.

His energy, her patience –it was a perfect match. The duo developed a bond few can match.

“He’s a sweet, loving Border Collie who does nothing but please people,” described Gallacher of her agility partner.

She began training Keeper for agility competitions, where speed, direction, and discipline is the name of the game as dogs weave through a series of obstacles as the owner keeps up pace from a distance, uttering commands.

“Practice, practice, and more practice,” said Gallacher, an agility competition enthusiast for the last 11 years.

“It’s a long process of just working together and developing a bond and teaching the obstacles.”


Soon, Keeper and Gallacher found themselves in nationwide competitions, and remarkably took home the national title last year in Leduc, Alberta.

Now, the duo is hoping to relive that magic at the World’s in Laag-Soeren, Netherlands, May 7-11.

While Gallacher remains humble of her chances of capturing the first-place title, Keeper’s veterinarian team is certain the duo will rise to the occasion.

“I hate to say it, but I’m secretly hoping he brings gold…If he’s on form and she’s on form, they might win,” said Glew.

Tickets (20$) to the fundraiser to support Keeper’s quest for the world title and other shelter dogs are still available at Timberlea Veterinary Clinic, located at 3100 Jean-Yves, Kirkland.

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Geographic location: Netherlands

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