Beasley the Champion Dog
Sep 14, 2018 11:30AM
Chrissy Joy combined her passion for training dogs with her love of performing to win The National Stunt Dog Championship, held at the Trick Dog Expo (TriDEx) in Missouri on March 18, 2018.
PHOTO: MICHAEL COLE IMAGERY
Joy says, “TriDEx is the National Trick Dog Expo that attracts competitors from all over the world. The National Stunt Dog competition was an event held there for the first time.” “The difference between tricks and stunts, explains Joy, is “while you can teach your dog tricks in the home, stunt dogs are trained to excel in complicated tricks and perform in front of a live audience with their handler.”
A trainer at BFF Pet Services in Brandywine, MD, Joy says she and her beloved dog, Beasley, practiced for about a year to win this title in spite of prior obstacles and health problems. “I used to work at Discovery Channel and had a history of depression and anxiety; it was a hard time in my life and I needed a big change. As a child, I had suffered agoraphobia and feared leaving my house. I thought a dog would be a great way to get back to my animal training background—working with horses.
“I left my job and adopted Beasley, one of 14 puppies who had been taken in by a Pennsylvania rescue, in 2014. My husband, Chris, who is in the military, and I named him Beasley, which means oak tree in Old English, because of our love for hiking and nature. We hiked Mt. Rainier in Washington when Beasley was just a year old.
Beasley, a golden retriever, Australian shepherd, and Ibizan mix, was diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease and was life-threateningly ill before he was two. “It was a long road to getting him healthy; we check in with our veterinarian often. IBD is very touch and go—a very tough part of his life. But to have him in my life keeps both of our hearts happy, and that’s when you know it’s the right thing.
“I wanted to have a well-trained dog, so I brought him to BFF Pet Services as a client. I fell in love with trick training, working with props, and being creative. This training spurred Joy’s interest in stunt work because of her passion for working on set and performing for TV. “Before moving to Maryland, I had my time as an actress in New York City. I appeared on Ugly Betty, The Good Wife, 30 Rock, and Gossip Girl.” But her schedule was grueling. “My time in New York wasn’t real easy. I would get to the set at 6 a.m. and leave at 6 p.m. I commuted from New Jersey by train and had to be back the next day.”
Her performing and her training experiences with Beasley led Joy to her work as a trainer at BFF Pet Services. “The BFF’s Bone-a-Fied Talent Group grew organically from there. We train dogs for film and TV work by preparing them for what they would need to do on set, such as distance work, special behaviors like roll over, and act like they’re sleeping.”
“So far, we have had a pug appear on the Disney Channel. He played a character, for a popular TV show, KC Undercover. We have also worked as Head Trainers for puppies who are featured in the Animal Planet Puppy Bowl. Over the last year, some of our dogs were in commercials for Home Depot and the Pennsylvania Lottery. And you can see Beasley on the national commercial for Chewy.Com.
“It’s been wild. I’m in the right place and have never had such control over my anxiety because I’m doing what I love and trying to make a difference,” says Joy. In fact, the themes of Beasley and Joy’s winning performance at the 2018 Trick Dog Expo were anti-bullying and building self-esteem. “I had been a victim of bullying and I did not handle it well as a child. I learned you just have to keep rising ahead of bullies who don’t think you’re good enough and keep moving forward.”
PHOTO: MICHAEL COLE IMAGERY
“The storyline of our Stunt Dog Championship was you should be brave and know it’s okay to be yourself, and dogs will accept you just as you are. My routine shows no matter what the world dishes out to you, having a dog in your life can provide you with mental fulfillment and the fulfillment of your soul.” Joy says, “All dogs can do this, trick as well as stunt work—no matter what age or breed. Even if it has three legs. It’s not just fancy dogs that can jump really high or through a hoop with fire. Adopting a dog is an excellent option. Anything is a possibility, and it can change your life forever.”
Chrissy Joy, Beasley, and BFF Pet Services will be back at the World Dog Expo in New Jersey on June 1 and 2, with a new storyline, theme, choreography, bigger props, and a powerful message. Chrissy Joy will also be a special judge of the final round at TriDEx 2019. Follow Joy and Beasley at Mybffpetservices.com and Good Beasley (facebook.com/goodbeasley) on Facebook and Good Beasley(@thegoodbeasley) on Instagram.