AKC Fast CAT Invitational Winner – Speed of the Breeds Division: Beetle – Handler: Carrie Griffen-Yakush

Dancing To A Different BeetBox MX MXJ XF T2B FCAT TKI
L-R: AKC Executive Vice President of Sports & Events Doug Ljungren, Carrie Griffen-Yakush, Field Representative Joe Shoemaker


Interview with Carrie Griffen-Yakush


How long have you competed in AKC Fast CAT? How did you discover the sport?

Carrie Griffen-Yakush: Both “Beetle” and I are new to the sport of Fast CAT. We started competing in 2021.


Did you have a strategy for competing with “Beetle” at the AKC Fast CAT Invitational?

Carrie Griffen-Yakush: Currently, my husband and I have eight Chihuahuas. Beetle is the type that enjoys her one-on-one time. I knew this trip would boost her morale as it would be only me and her for a week in Florida. We live in Queensbury, New York, which is upstate between Saratoga Springs and Lake George—1,300 miles from the convention center. We flew down to Orlando. It was her first time flying and she handled the entire trip like a champ! She is an adventurer, through and through. It’s what excites her and motivates her, but, deep down, all of that doesn’t really matter when it comes to Fast CAT. She loves Fast CAT so much that it wouldn’t matter who was with her, where she was, or what was going on around her—she just loves to run!

Carrie Griffen-Yakush with her Chihuahua known as "Beetle"

She loves Fast CAT so much that it wouldn’t matter who was with her, where she was, or what was going on around her—she just loves to run!


Do you compete in other dog sports? If so, which sports appeal to you and why?

Carrie Griffen-Yakush: I have been active in dog training since 1998 and competing in Agility since 2003 in multiple venues. I love it. I love the camaraderie. I love the rush, the high, the teamwork. But most of all, I love the bond and working side by side with my teammates. Over the years, I have had eight teammates in Agility. They are the ones who make it the most enjoyable.

In 2022, I started competing in Scent Work with Beetle. We have also taken a Barn Hunt workshop the year before and I hope to add Barn Hunt competitions to her accomplishments. (There are only so many weekends!) I am also currently competing in Agility with another Chihuahua named “Kansas.” I hope to get him into Fast CAT and Scent Work as well.

For Beetle, I would say that the sport of Fast CAT is definitely her number one love. To see her excitement for it warms my heart greatly. Most people call the lure a bunny, but to her it’s a squirrel. GET THAT SQUIRREL!

Featured photo courtesy of the American Kennel Club.


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