Stories: AIR LYRA
Lyra was the first Frisbee dog in Slovenia and the first Slovene competitor to take part in Dog Frisbee European and World Championships. She has appeared in an advertisement for chocolate, has been a guest on several television shows and has kept competing around Europe and appearing at events of various kinds including entertainment, children’s events and sports competitions even in her almost senior years. She was a black and white Border collie mix with an excellent memory and an extraordinary ability to spot movement. Her owner and handler Jean McCollister brought Lyra from Indiana, USA, where she lived for a period of time after having lived in Slovenia for several years. In 2004, she moved back to Slovenia with Lyra and first took up agility with her, then Dog Frisbee. Dog frisbee did not exist in Slovenia as a sport at that time, and elsewhere in Europe it was still in its infancy. Jean learnt the basics at a novices’ seminar in Oberammergau in Germany in 2007. Less than a month later she and Lyra won their first competition, in Prague, in the beginners’ freestyle category (doing tricks to music) and in the super mini-distance event, where points are scored for frisbees caught in scoring zones at different distances. This amazing success encouraged Jean to sign up for an advanced course and Lyra instantly became one of the best in Europe. By the end of her career Lyra has won countless trophies and competed in six European Championships and a World Championship. In the meantime the number of competing pairs in Slovenia was growing, thanks to Jean. She was running seminars and courses, and in 2009 a dog Frisbee club called Flipsi was founded. That same year Lyra and Olivia (“Oli”), Jean’s second Frisbee dog, were joined by Bamm Bamm, a brown and white Border collie from Germany. Lyra and Bamm Bamm shared the national record in the Frisbee distance category (55 metres), while in 2011, Lyra also set the time-trial record, catching two consecutive 18-metre throws in a time of 16.4 seconds. Lyra was extremely smart. She understood whole sentences, let alone an enormous amount of words. She was hypersensitive to movement, which is also why she loved watching television or catching sparks or passing cars (while in the back seat going to a workshop, presentation, seminar or a competition). And of course constantly catching something in the air. Jean and her dogs regularly travel to European countries to compete. The trips are long and expensive, and usually it takes a lot of sacrifice to make that money to go. But dogs are crazy about Frisbee and they actually love to travel. Lyra also had a special bond with Jean’s neighbor Jana. She spent most of her time with her, either in Jana’s weekend house next to Jean’s in Brje or in Ljubljana. Jana and her husband took her to trips and vacations etc. Lyra lived like a star. And just like Air Jordan in basketball, she was given a nickname Air Lyra in dog frisbee. She died in September 2016.