Bob Daigle spent decades as a physician specializing in addiction medicine before retiring in 2018. With such deep knowledge of the subject, he can accurately self-diagnose his own addiction: the sport of dog agility.
“Oh yes, that stimulates the dopamine receptors in the brain and gets you going, baby,” Daigle said.
It was over two decades ago when Daigle owned his first border collie, Southern Belle. He felt an instant connection, loving how hyper and hypersensitive they were … traits he recognized in himself.
“You can see their little ears go down when you fuss. She was real sensitive,” Daigle said.
Daigle and his family got more and more involved in the training and showing of their pure-bred dogs but it wasn’t until roughly 13 years ago Daigle began competing in the sport of agility. In agility competitions, a handler tries to lead a dog around an obstacle course faster than their competitors.
It was in 2018 that he began working with a black-and-white Border Collie named Blew Bayou, whose name is a fitting description for what he does to the competition.
“This dog just liked to work, Daigle said. “I really got into it, I said, ‘I’m going to train this one, and train her to the best of my ability.”
The pair have since become a tour de force in the world of dog agility. They’ve won competitions all over the country and are now a part of the American Kennel Club’s USA World Agility Team. The pair is headed to the World Championships in the Czech Republic next month.
“Obviously, I’m ecstatic. To be going to World Team with these guys is amazing,” Daigle said.
The success has come in spite of Daigle, at 72, being decades older than most of his teammates and competitors. All those extra years have brought with them a whole lot of extra pain.
“I’ve had two failed back surgeries. I’ve got a right knee problem. I’ve had a torn left hamstring in May. So I am the total underdog for anything that you would think you could achieve,” Daigle said.
Such a toll has led many to urge Daigle to stop competing.
“I can’t tell you,” Daigle said while choking up, “How many people have said, ‘You shouldn’t do it. Give it up. You can’t go on. It is too much.”
What they don’t understand is Daigle’s will to remain in the gym every day to stay active. And his addiction or strongly felt passion to train with Blew every day.
“Or you can say, ‘Yes, I’ll press on. And if I fail, I fail, but I’ve tried, and God knows, I’ve tried. So that’s all that I have to do. No matter where it goes, what it does, how it happens, and what the results are, I have tried.’ And all you got to do is keep going,” Daigle said.
Source: NBC Bay Area