Dustin is a special little guy.
The 5-year-old sable-and-white Shetland sheepdog, owned by Joan Meyer of Lawrence, is one of the top agility dogs in the United States.
That means he's one of the best canines around who can zip through an agility course of ramps, jumps, tunnels and other obstacles while being judged on his speed and accuracy.
Dustin, weighing in at 20 pounds, was a member of the American Kennel Club World Agility Team that brought home a second-place silver medal from the World Agility Championship Oct. 5-7 in Portugal.
Dustin raced with the club's Mini Team, which missed first place by only two seconds in the 21-entry small-dog division. The American Kennel Club's Standard Team, for larger dogs, won the gold medal in its division.
Then, Dustin placed first and won a ribbon in the American Kennel Club National Agility Championship Nov. 4-6 in Denver.
Meyer is awfully proud of Dustin.
"He's an extremely special dog," said Meyer, owner of Triune Canine Training Center, 1774 E. 1200 Road. "He's constantly looking at me like, 'What's next?' He's very friendly and loyal."
At her center, she teaches training, behavior modification and agility skills to dogs of clients who seek her out from across the country.
Dustin actually likes competing in the agility contests, according to Meyer, 39.
"He's a working breed, so he wants to work to get praise and dog treats," she said. "Dogs really like to be mentally challenged. Any breed can do it."
In addition to his agility contests, Dustin is a therapy dog in Lawrence nursing homes, doing tricks and giving kisses to residents.
"They love him he's soft and he's always smiling," Meyer said.
Dustin has also been featured in TV commercials and magazine ads for a variety of businesses.
Aside from all his awards and accolades, he's a beloved pet. Dustin goes with Meyer everywhere, always wanting to be in her lap or by her side. It's a good life.
"He's spoiled rotten," Meyer said. "He likes a bowl of ice cream when we go to McDonald's."