Tiki proves that with hard work and discipline, any dog can be a super-dog.
canine athlete jumping
Credit: Courtesy of Jen Towers

Before becoming an all-star pup, Tiki, a 6-year-old cattle dog hound mix, was running out of time at her municipal shelter. She was luckily rescued from the shelter where she'd been held just in the nick of time—on the very day she was scheduled to be euthanized. After her rescue, Tiki lived with her foster mom for eight months while she recovered from heartworm and a mammary tumor.

Jen Towers, the owner of Lead the Pack Dog Training based in New York, tells Daily Paws that when she heard about Tiki from the dog's foster mom, she fell in love. Lead the Pack specializes in dock diving, a training where dogs dive off a 40-foot dock into a 40-foot-long pool. The organization also provides agility training through Fast CAT, where dogs chase a plastic bag on a line. Thanks to the foster mom's ability to showcase Tiki's unique skills, Towers saw Tiki's potential and knew they were meant to be together. Towers says the woman "highlighted everything about this dog that makes her amazing … all the dog sports that she did. And I fell in love with her." 

Towers says that while Tiki may be a champion title holder now, the dog initially struggled with impulse control and focus during training sessions. "She's a very instinctual dog and she's a very impulsive dog," she says.

But through months of training and hard work, the hound learned to build relationships with humans rather than only responding to her impulses. And all that hard work has paid off with championship titles and cross-country competition wins!

Within the first year of her adoption, Tiki and Towers traveled all across the country to different agility competitions. Her first stop was the World Invite championship for dock diving in Tennessee. Later, the former shelter dog traveled to Florida to compete in the national competition for North American Diving Dogs. While Tiki excels at most sports (she's usually the top dog in her division!) Towers says the pup is especially fond of Frisbees.

Tiki lives with four other rescue dogs, and Towers describes her as "the clown of the group—Tiki keeps everybody having a good time." No matter what's going on, this little hound knows how to have fun. Towers says that while she isn't the biggest dog in the group, she is the most competitive. When Tiki hears the motor start for Fast CAT, she's ready to go. And if a Frisbee is thrown her way, Towers says she's shocked if Tiki isn't the one to get it first.

"If Tiki had a tagline, it would be 'Life is a game, and I'm just here to play it.'"