May 2004 brings my nineteenth birthday, thereby marking the one-year anniversary of my final time competing in the Junior Showmanship ring. While I am very pleased to be aging into a new era of my life, as I am now attending Johns Hopkins University, I fondly remember my days as a junior with my Dachshund at the other end of my lead.
I first entered the world of Junior Showmanship relatively late being a sophomore in high school. I credit a professional handler, Shawny Hogan, with shaping an inexperienced teenager and an untrained pup into a competitive duo. I found that in my three short years of showing, I not only gained factual instruction about the sport of Dog Showing in both the Breed and Juniors ring, but a lasting education on competing with class. Most notably, competing in Junior Showmanship illustrated the importance of not losing sight of the fundamental motivation, the love of showing your dog, as the basis for participating. Whether or not I walked out of the ring with ribbon in hand, if my Dachshund and I enjoyed the chance to work together in the ring, then it was a good day at the dog show.
After graduating college, I plan to pursue a career as a veterinarian. My current intentions focus on specializing in smaller domestic animals. I look forward to not only being able to benefit from the joys of working with purebred dogs, but one day being able to aid the future of purebreds by treating them medically and supporting responsible breeding.