Showsight Express - July 1, 2021

JUNIOR HANDLER Q&A

How do I assess my competition? Is everyone usually a good sport? In my area, we all know each other, and everyone is usually a good sport. We always congratulate the class winners. What about the judges? Do they seem to enjoy the Juniors ring? Most often, the judges seem to like spending time judging the Juniors. But I have encountered some judges who seemed to not be enjoying themselves. It is definitely a nice experience when you have a kind and positive judge. Do I have a mentor in the sport? My mentor who has trained me is Debra Metcalf-Morris. I have been training with her for six years. She has taught me so many things about so many breeds. She is more than a mentor, she is family, and I don’t know where I would be without her! Are there any wins for which I am particularly proud? My first all-breed Best Junior with my French Bulldog, Jaime, was an awe- some memory. Also, helping to put championships on several dogs that I co-own has been amazing! How do I accentuate my dog’s breed type in the ring? I have several breeds that I show regularly; Great Danes, French Bulldogs, Beagles, and Clumber Spaniels. Each breed has its unique charac- teristics, and different ways to make them shine in the ring. Are some breeds better suited for Junior Showmanship than oth- ers? No, I think it’s all about what you put into it, and which breed your heart belongs to. I started with a young and stubborn Great Dane who really made me work. Although it wasn’t always easy, he taught me so much and gave me the confidence to handle anything in the ring. He will always hold a special place in my heart. Is there something that judges should know about judging Juniors? Are all judges the same? No, all judges are not the same. I think it is important for Juniors judges to know how each breed they will be judging is shown, since each breed is shown differently. Have you bred or co-bred a litter? No. I have not bred or co- bred, but I hope to in the future. Is breed preservation important to me? Breed preservation is very important in order to preserve this sport, and for the preserva- tion of purebred dogs in general. What are my goals for the future? Do I see myself continuing in the sport once I’ve aged-out? My goals for the future are to go to veterinary school and work part-time as a Professional Handler. Can I share a word or two about my relationship with my cur- rent dog? I am blessed to share a special bond with all of the dogs I show, but I have an extra special connection with my Harlequin Great Dane, Riddick. Is there a funny story that I can share about my experiences as a Junior Handler? Well, when I was younger, I was on the ground presenting my Frenchie. As I went to stand up, my foot was on the back of my skirt and, when I stood up, my skirt fell down. Luckily, I don’t think many people noticed! SOFIA EATON I live in central Massachusetts, and I am in the 6th grade at Tah- anto Middle School. Do I have any hobbies or inter-

Have I bred or co-bred a litter? I bred one litter of Rhodesian Ridgebacks last summer and I learned so much! We had a litter of 13 beautiful Ridgebacks, which was one of the most challenging (but rewarding) experiences of my life. I learned so much, from how to bottle feed puppies, doing “ninja turtles” (where you stimulate the puppies for a few seconds every day by putting them on cool sur- faces, tickling their feet, etc.), to caring for newborn puppies, and learning how to properly evaluate the dogs at eight weeks of age. Is breeding something that I’d like to pursue? Breeding is defi- nitely something that I can see in my future. However, it would have to be the right time and dog. What are my goals for the future? Do I see myself continuing in the sport once I’ve aged-out? I have a couple of goals for my future in the dog showing world; the biggest is finishing my nine- month-old Rhodesian Ridgeback, Coco, (who is from the litter of 13 that we bred). While I have fully trained and taught Coco, she has taught me a lot as well. Can I share a word or two about my relationship with my cur- rent dog? My current show dogs are Coco, Thistle, and occasion- ally, Jasper. All three of them, plus our other two dogs, Olive and Skylar, mean the world to me because they are a part of my family. Coco is incredibly special to me because she is the first dog that I have bred and fully trained. We’ve been a team since the moment she was born. Thistle is the sweetest dog, and I love being her part- ner in crime within the ring. Jasper is my heart dog and best friend. He can always make me smile and he makes my heart happy. He’s currently semi-retired, but he loves to occasionally come out to strut his stuff in the ring! Is there a funny story that I can share about my experiences as a Junior Handler? A funny story that I experienced showing in Juniors was at the very first show that I competed in. I was in Best Junior and the judge asked us to go around the ring one at a time. When it came to be my turn, Lottie saw a piece of bait on the ground and dived for it. Then I lost my shoe! Luckily, Lottie quickly regained composure, let me put my shoe back on, and we continued to run around the ring. It was intimidating for 10-year- old me in the moment, but looking back, it is pretty funny. IZZY EATON I live in central Massachusetts, and I’m in the 8th grade at Tahanto Middle/High school. Do I have any hobbies or interests

apart from purebred dogs? I like to travel to new places, and spend time with my friends. Have I grown up in a doggy fam- ily? My family has had Great Danes since before I was born.

How was I introduced to Junior Showmanship? When did I start competing? I was introduced through my Aunt Rachel’s first show Dane. I would watch her show—and I saw kids in the ring. I wanted to give it a try, and started showing when I was nine. What do I remember about the first time I showed as a Junior? I remember going in the ring and not really knowing what I was doing. But I had a blast, and couldn’t wait to do it again! How do I prepare my dog and myself for the ring? I make sure to get my dog groomed with plenty of time to spare. I always head to the ring at least ten minutes early to give myself, and my dog, time to settle in before it’s time to go in the ring. My best dog show pal, Katie, and I always high-five each other for good luck before we go into Juniors.

ests apart from purebred dogs? My hobbies are playing softball and spending time with my friends. Have I grown up in a doggy family? I grew up with Great Danes, an English Mastiff, and a Bulldog. We now have a Great Dane and a Beagle.

How was I introduced to Junior Showmanship? When did I start competing? My older sister was a Junior Handler, and I want- ed to give it a try. My handling instructor, Debra Metcalf-Morris,

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