Most dog owners are happy with a pooch who knows how to sit and stay. Andrew Han ’05 is not most dog owners. “I heard about how doing sports with your dogs can build a stronger bond with them, and something about that intrigued me,” he said. So he started doing agility training with his first dog, Blitzen, a border collie mix, and soon noticed a change. “He was always a happy dog, but he became more focused on me, and he wanted to learn more.” In addition to conquering agility courses, Han taught Blitzen a number of tricks, including speaking versus whispering, and how to limp.
But Han still wanted to do more, so he rescued his second dog, Solar, an Australian shepherd, and they began doing freestyle canine disk competitions. Han and Solar placed three times in the Purina® Incredible Dog Challenge, and were named Ashley Whippet® Invitational world champions in 2014, which is the original and longest-running dog disc competition. Han’s pack eventually grew to six dogs, and they travel all over the country for competitions, seminars, and performances in front of audiences.
Today, Han works full time running Capitol Cleaners, the Shorewood, Wisconsin business established by his parents in 1993, and he recently started selling real estate. He and his dogs don’t travel as much as they used to, but he is grateful for the experiences they have had. “You could say I gave my dogs a second chance when I adopted them, but really they’ve given me all these other opportunities. Did I ever think I would someday own six dogs? No. But I love each and every one of them.”