By: Kristen Carpenter
I was born into a dog family, dogs
have always been a part of my life, and my dogs are my best friends.
I am a twin, but unlike my sister I was born with many medical problems
(most are life long) as well as having a speech impairment and multiple
learning disabilities. Life has not been easy for me, but thanks to
my dogs it has been a lot better!
One of my medical problems is a muscular disease that makes me pretty
weak; I have never been able to do many of the physical activities
others can. But, I learned how to work with and train my dogs and
even work some for a professional dog handler. I have shown some in
juniors, but my health did not let me do it on a regular basis. My
biggest moment was when I was Best Junior Handler at a large local
show. My hard work had paid off and my dream of winning came true!
The photograph of that day proudly hangs in my bedroom. I even wrote
an article for the AKC Junior Gazette about being able to show in
juniors, even though I had disabilities. It was a great thrill and
honor to have my article published. Because of that article I was
invited to attend and participate in the Sporting Dog Judges Institute
held in San Jose.
Even though I was not always in the junior ring, I instead have trained
many dogs to be ready to show in the conformation ring. I have also
helped begin junior handlers at my local dog club. To earn my Girl
Scout Silver Award, my twin sister and I wrote an informational brochure
for junior handlers just beginning in the sport. We gave it to the
local dog clubs to give to their junior handlers. We then gave a presentation
to our Girl Scout Council about junior showmanship.
When I couldn’t go to dog shows, I helped whelp and raise my
mom’s golden retriever litters. My mom has always said I am
her right arm when it comes to puppies. I love helping take care of
them and watching them grow. I have also trained two of our golden
retrievers in obedience to their CGC’s and TDI’s (Therapy
Dog Institute Certification). Now if I ever have to be in the hospital
for a long period of time again, one of them can visit me. Now that
I have turned 18 I want to become involved in TDI and take my dogs
to visit sick children in the hospital. I know what it’s like
to be in the hospital for long periods of time and miss your dog.
It made me feel better when someone’s dog came to see me in
the hospital and it always reminded me of my dog. Maybe I can do the
same for someone else.
I was recently given the responsibility of a Bouvier puppy to raise
and train, and as a result I am now her proud owner. This is a new
breed for me and I have learned a lot in taking care of her, grooming
her, and training her. I plan on showing her and putting my first
championship on a dog. Then I will train her for her TDI also.
I know I will always be involved in the sport of dogs, training,
and show dogs, and maybe even becoming a breeder myself, with my mom
and dad’s help. I can’t imagine my life without dogs!