Top Dog: She’S Light On Her Paws

Tizzy, a top dog in the world of canine agility competition, makes Rim Country home.

Tizzy, a top dog in the world of canine agility competition, makes Rim Country home.


She has soulful, golden brown eyes, a soft coat of dark red and white and a quiet, comforting presence. Still, she knows she’s a star and expects visitors at Rim Country Hay and Grain to give her a treat — or two or three or five — from the bowl sitting handily on the front corner.

Tizzy, a top dog in the world of canine agility competition, makes Rim Country home. Tizzy, a 12-year-old Australian shepherd, won a lifetime achievement award from the U.S. Dog Agility Association in October.

The award comes from accumulating points successfully completing a mind-boggling series of agility courses: standard, jumpers, snooker (yes, there is an agility course based on the cue sport), gambles, pairs and the tournament classes of team, grand prix and steeplechase. The courses must also be completed in a set time — often in a matter of seconds.

Owned and trained by Jane Burlison of Payson, Tizzy has had a storied career. Her skills in agility earned her an invitation to compete in Bermuda in 2007 and she traveled in the plane cabin along with Burlison — didn’t we say she knew she was a star.

She came into Burlison’s life as a 9-week-old rescue dog. She has certification as a therapy dog, is a canine good citizen, worked as a demonstration dog for care and obedience classes at PetSmart when Burlison was employed there, participated in pet safety training programs presented at Home Depot and was even part of telethons for the humane society. Tizzy helps Burlison with the dog agility classes she offers at her Round Valley home and is now participating in herding competition.

“She loves herding,” Burlison said.

“I don’t expect to ever have another one like her,” she said.

That’s saying a lot, Burlison is president of Aussie and Friends Rescue and has 10 other dogs, along with some she is fostering.

Aussie and Friends Rescue

The rescue dogs come from shelters all over Arizona and even some in New Mexico.

Aussie and Friends Rescue is a small non-profit 501(c)(3) rescue organization for Australian shepherds in need of a new home. It gets the Aussies into rescue in various ways. Many of these animals were abandoned at shelters or turned into rescue for various reasons. The group charges an adoption fee to help cover these expenses.

The group does not have a shelter, so every Aussie rescued becomes a part of a family in a foster home until they get adopted. If for any reason the dog is not working out within 10 days, the group will take the dog back and return the adoption fee. To learn more go online to


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