Traveling from Italy to California and now Oklahoma, Monkey, the Lagotto Romagnolo, along with her owners and handler, have embarked on a journey to achieve their Agility dreams. Monkey has qualified for the AKC National Agility Championship in 2020 and 2021, and in 2023, at the age of 11, she will be competing in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Discovering Monkey’s Allergy-Friendly Breed

Monkey’s owners, Chris and Linda Mansolillo, were introduced to the rare Lagotto Romagnolo breed while searching for a hypoallergenic dog due to Chris’s allergies. Falling in love with the breed, they brought Monkey to California in 2012, where she required more training and socialization than expected. A dog sitter named Kent Tsurumaru played a key role in establishing a bond with Monkey through Agility training.

Brown dog standing in grass
Chris Mansolillo
Monkey captured the Mansolillo’s hearts

Forming a Strong Bond Through Agility

Tsurumaru’s love for Agility, initially with his own dog Jamie, led him to train Monkey in the sport. The dynamic between handler and dog in Agility deepened their connection, resulting in Monkey excelling in the sport due to her energy and drive. Tsurumaru’s training with Monkey required a higher level of intensity and skill due to her speed, and this journey led to their qualification for multiple championships.

Chris Mansolillo
Monkey has quite a few agility ribbons

Overcoming Challenges and Achieving Success

Despite facing challenges like injuries and surgeries, Monkey and her team persisted, with Tsurumaru’s guidance and patience helping Monkey recover and excel in Agility once again. Their determination and dedication led to multiple qualifications for championships, showcasing Monkey’s resilience and the strong bond between her and her handlers.

Brown dog with two toysBrown dog with two toys
Chris Mansolillo
Some of Monkey’s favorite toys – and yes, one is a monkey!

Monkey’s success in the Agility world has not only brought joy and accomplishment to her owners but has also inspired Tsurumaru to train other dogs in the sport, creating lasting friendships and opportunities for growth.

For more information about Monkey’s journey and other inspiring stories, visit

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