Ileana Nadal was a well-known figure in the local agility and dog training community and the owner of Cool Critters in Valrico. Ileana recently passed away.
“The best agility advice that Ileana gave all of us was, ‘When you are having fun, everything else will fall into place,’” said, Ileana’s friend Don White. “We have lost a superhero.”
A Cuban-born artist, Ileana, comes from a family of fine artists and architects. She completed a B.A. in fine arts from the University of South Florida in Tampa and an M.A. in education from the University of North Florida in Jacksonville.
Having been involved in training and showing dogs since 1972, Ileana was very familiar with all breeds of dogs. She participated with her dogs in conformation, herding and tracking as well as competed at the national level in obedience and agility. The sport of dog agility requires the utmost in endurance and fitness for both dogs and handlers. In order to compete successfully, Ileana trained in the physical and mental discipline of the martial arts and attained a third-degree black belt in tae kwon do.
“She was also an amazing artist,” said Amelia Farley, another friend of Ileana. “She was a wonderful person and touched so many lives. Our doggie community lost an angel on earth for sure. It was much too soon for her to leave us. She had many friends, students and agility people from communities like Twin Lakes, River Hills and Brandon Reserve, and really all over our state, as well as outside of it.”
Ileana finished in more than 30 agility championships in USDAA, AKC, NADAC, ASCA, CPE, TDAA and UKC. She was supposed to be the host of the Cool Critters North American Dog Agility Council (NADAC) Trials on August 19 and 20 this year. To honor her and all she did for agility and dog training community, her friends and family came together and continued to hold the NADAC Trials in her honor.
“My mom loved art and she loved training dogs,” said Ileana’s son, Bob Nadal. “I know she would be thrilled to know that the community she loved so much came together to make sure the NADAC trials were still held. It means a lot to our family as well.”