Team Member Spotlight: Kate Corum, CVPM
Hi, I'm Kate and I'm Monica Dixon Perry’s Administrative Assistant at VMC, Inc. We work together to assist practices all over the country with everything from employee manuals to financial decisions. I work solely from my home office and consider this to be my dream job. My favorite part of working with VMC is looking at a practice’s business plan at the end of their year-long engagement and seeing the progress they have made. What a feeling to think of all the lives we have changed! When I’m not working, my life revolves around my husband, my 2 year old twins, and my five dogs.
In 2005, I decided I wanted a golden retriever as my first dog. I wanted a large, dark red, male “couch potato” golden that I was going to adopt from Tennessee Valley Golden Retriever Rescue and we’d be best friends forever. I found a dog in one of the group’s advertisements that seemed to fit the bill, so I headed to Knoxville, TN on a cold and rainy Saturday in February. I met the dog I had seen and he was gorgeous, well mannered, and I was convinced I was going to take him home. I sat down in the floor just for fun to cuddle some of the puppies that were available, and a petite light red female welcomed herself into my lap. Her name was Emma. She smelled bad, had fleas, and had an ugly infected incision from her recent spay. Twelve years later, I can still feel that exact moment that I knew she was my dog. What I didn’t know is what she’d lead me to. She led me to the world of competitive dog sports.
In May of that year, I decided to attend my first Flyball practice on the recommendation of a friend. Flyball is a relay race with two teams each comprised of four dogs. Each dog runs down over four jumps and hits a spring-loaded box that shoots out a tennis ball. The dog catches the ball and brings it back over the jumps and the next dog in line passes at the start/finish line. The first team that completes the course without faults is the winner. Times are measured out to the thousandth of a second. My club’s fastest time is 14.924 seconds and we are officially the 12th fastest club in the world.
Emma was a natural and quickly became the fastest golden retriever in the country in 2007 and still holds that title today. At her fastest, she completed the 102 feet long course in 4.022 seconds. She ran her last race in the summer of 2016 at 12 years old due to some health concerns. Her friends and fans were there applauding her.
As I became more competitive, I decided that an addition to my family was in order. We added Vito, a Border Collie - Staffordshire Bull Terrier mix, in the summer of 2007. Border Staffies, as they are called, are mixes that are bred specifically for sports. They are smart and agile like a border collie, with the intensity and strength of a Staffy. In 2009, Vito set the Border Staffy speed record, completing the course in 3.663 seconds. Our love for Vito and the Border Staffy breed led us to get Enzo in 2011. He lived up to the expectations that Vito laid and ran even faster. At five years old, he set a new fastest time of 3.604 seconds.
The world of Flyball evolves every year, with dogs getting faster, breeding becoming more specific to individual team needs/wants, and everyone becoming greedier for speed. The Whippet bread made their entry into the sport and it was soon discovered that if you breed them to a Border Collie, you get the brains and work ethic of that Border Collie with the body and speed of a Whippet. In 2012, we added Antic and just last month, we added Vintage, both Border Whippets.
I know what you are thinking. How does she manage to get anything done with two toddlers and five dogs? Easy. I am passionate about all of it. I find great pleasure and reward in my job and my family (human and canine). I wake up (almost) every morning excited to see all of them. Flyball fills a place in my heart and I could never picture my life without it. If you have questions about Flyball or are interested in getting your dog(s) involved, I’d love to help you find a team in your area!!
Here is a video is of my club’s fastest time. We are on the right and the dogs are Journey (Whippet), Taunt (a Border Whippet that I trained), Antic (my Border Whippet), and Enzo (my Border Staffy).