In June 2012 I adopted Dustin Alexander Lane from New York City Care and Animal Control. He was only days away from euthanasia and was not allowed to leave the shelter without an experienced handler taking him in. He failed tests at the shelter with dogs, people and kids and was obviously maltreated in his former home. With lots of hard work he has turned into an amazing dog. He is very laid back and has a very happy go lucky attitude. He became a Trick Dog Champion in July of 2013, starred in a short film entitled “Introducing Parker Dowd,” and most recently played Sandy in Riverdale Professional Childrens Theatre's production of Annie. His amazing transformation was also featured in the local Manhattan newspapers “Our Town” and “West Side Spirit” when we found out that at four years of age he had developed cataracts and was blind in one eye, which required an expensive surgery to repair.
Student Helps Star Pup Regain his sight
Ever since City College of New York student Rachel Lane saw Dustin, a 19-pound terrier mix, in an Animal Care and Control of NYC Center on 110th Street, she has been fighting to give him a better life.
First she argued with shelter staff members who told her a 20-year-old could not handle an aggressive, disagreeable dog who failed all of the shelter’s behavioral tests. He was picked up in the Bronx covered in feces, a typical victim of an abusive home and therefore an unsuitable pet for a young, first-time dog owner, they said. He was bad with kids, people and other dogs.
“I told them I’d deal with any issues he had,” Lane said. Within days, Dustin came home to Lane’s apartment in Harlem.
Then Lane began the struggle to help a dog who had been so cruelly treated. Dustin became stressed around animals, which made him bark aggressively when approached by other dogs. Working as an apprentice at Sit Stay Dog Training, a dog behavior modification facility, Lane knew about and adopted the “Do More with Your Dog” training program to alter his temperament.
Courtesy of the West Side Spirit. To read more click here
Dustin's most recent acting job was playing Sandy in the Bronx Riverdal Professional Children's Theatre spring production of Annie. He worked with children from ages 8-14 as well as some broadway professionals. He had scenes on stage alone, with a couple of kids and with up to fifty people on stage at once.
Pictured are some of the kids he performed with and the playbill from the show.
Introducing Parker Dowd
Dustins made his acting debut in a comedy entitled "Introducting Parker Dowd." He played Parker, a dog who stole fame from his owner and the struggle she has to come to grips with this betrayal.
Some behind the scenes pictures!
Earlier this year Dustin began competing in Rally. Rally is a newer dog sport based on obedience. According to the AKC website Rally is "Rally is a sport in which the dog and handler complete a course that has been designed by the rally judge. The judge tells the handler to begin, and the dog and handler proceed at their own pace through a course of designated stations (10 - 20, depending on the level). Each of these stations has a sign providing instructions regarding the next skill that is to be performed. Scoring is not as rigorous as traditional obedience."
Dustin so far has competed in four trials. Two sanctioned by AKC and two sanctioned by WCRL. The sport is the same but the rules vary a little.
In all four of Dustins runs so far he has taken first place! I am incredibly proud of him for performing so well in such a new enviornment; it is quite hectic during a trial!
Pictured above is Dustin with his ribbons from his trials. Below he is recieveing his first, first place ribbon from the judge.
Here is the website for AKC Rally:
Here is the website for WCRL Rally:
Photo Courtesy of ©Morgaàna Photography ˁ˚ᴥ˚ˀ
2016 was a year of new adventures for Dustin and me. It has been a lot of fun exploring the world of competitive dog sports with my boy.
This year he has earned his Rally Novice, Rally Level 1 and Rally Level 2 titles. We also qualified for the 2016 AKC Rally National Championship. In 2017 and 2018 Dustin continued to amaze me with his beautiful performances in the rally ring. He earned his Rally Level 3 title, multiple combined championships, and ranked 19th in the world in the 2018 ARCHEX WCRL rankings.
Sometimes the hard part about being a city dog is not having your own yard to run around in. Dustin and I have fixed that problem by making the whole city our playground. With parkour dogs get introduced to the world of jumping, climbing, balancing over, crawling under, and going around different obstacles in their everyday world. Parkour can be done anywhere and is limited only by one’s imagination. Dog Parkour helps with confidence and overcoming fears, and it is a low impact but challenging activity for any canine athlete.
Dustin's champion trick dog submission video through Kyra Sundance's Do More With Your Dog program.