National flyball champion Astro proves rescue dogs can rule the world

April 24, 2018

Astro is a star Australian flyball champion with national accolades – few would guess the Border Collie cross Jack Russell was once in RSPCA South Australia’s care and desperate for a new family.

Finding his forever home 

Found wandering the streets of Port Lincoln in 2011 as a stray, 4-month-old Astro struck it lucky with when his now-owner Martin popped by RSPCA’s Port Lincoln shelter. Martin, a Flyball coach and enthusiast, had spent months scrolling through RSPCA South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales adoption pages searching for his next star athlete. That is, until he found Astro.

“He was just so friendly to me. We spent about 30 minutes together off the leash and he just wanted to be with me,” Martin recalls.

Astro had no trouble settling into his new home and falling into a deep bromance with his big brother, a Jack Russell named Cosmo. The two spent Astro’s first night in his new home playing until they were too exhausted to continue, eventually crashing on the floor in front of a thrilled Martin.

Becoming a flyball superstar

Flyball is a popular canine team sport that encourages dogs and owners to participate in obstacle courses, jumping over small hurdles and retrieving targets in a team environment. As a safe way to stimulate active pets, Flyball is a popular canine sport, with branches in most Australian states.

Martin, who’s also a judge and Flyball instructor, waited until Astro was a fully developed one-year-old before beginning his training. Nonetheless, Astro saw much of the sport as a youngster, spectating as his older brother Cosmo competed.

Since his debut, Astro has fast become a champion of the sport, competing all around Australia and earning multiple awards. He’s held the title of Australia’s Fastest Flyball Height Dog since 2014 and is now the first Flyball height dog in Australia to complete a run in four seconds, breaking his own record – did someone say over-achiever?

“He is very focused on winning. He usually runs last in a four dog line-up and is quite often behind the dog he is racing against when he starts his run, but puts in a lot of effort into catching up to and beating the dog he is against,” Martin says.

Changing Astro’s world forever

It’s not all work for this star athlete though. Martin rewards Astro with plenty of post-victory tug-of-war games. And when he’s not competing or training twice a week, ball-obsessed Astro loves nothing more than playing hours of fetch with Martin in the backyard.

“Whether you want a lap dog or an athlete like Astro, speak to the staff at RSPCA and they’ll be able to find the breed to fit your lifestyle,” Martin recommends.

“Saving one dog will not change the world, but surely for that one dog, the world will change forever.” We couldn’t agree more, Martin.

If you’re considering opening your heart and home to a rescue pet, head over here to see all our animals currently available for adoption.

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