The Comforts of Home
To say this past year has been interesting would be an understatement. Six months ago I left the comforts of home. Not just the comforts of my home or university, but that of the United States as well. Since last September I have been living and studying architecture in Rome, Italy. The AKC scholarship has been one of the biggest proponents which has allowed me to follow this dream. Living in Rome has given me an entirely new perspective in which I view my family and my home. Like many of the families I have become familiar with over the years, dogs are not just pets, but they are brothers and sisters. They are the ear that you can always talk to and family that I have grown to need. Rome has helped me to appreciate that better than I have ever previously been able to.
My involvement with purebred dogs and conformation showing has been an inherent part of my life for nearly ten years. I rose through the ranks of Junior Showmanship where I placed nationally among some of the best in the United States. Last summer I continued my work with the dogs by handling both my own as well as receiving several clients. This amount of involvement has been made living this year in Rome difficult at times but has helped me grow as a person. My family has tried to always keep me involved with the dogs even though I live half a world away. Countless phone calls have been merely to tell me how shows went a certain weekend as opposed to my parents telling me how they were doing. One of the calls informed me that I have a new champion to come back home to. She was shown at Westminster this past week, something I wish I could have seen, but I will look forward this summer to showing her as my “Special.” Some of our conversations may seem odd to others, but it has helped me realize that home is only a phone call away. It has also continued to build my excitement and desire for what is in store for me when I return home.
Since the sport of purebred dogs has been so important to me, I look forward to staying involved with it as much as I can. My parents have been establishing their own kennel, while my mom continues to show in my absence. Merely a few weeks before I left, we had a litter that I co-bred. I learned to appreciate what an expectant father goes through. I actively participated from start to finish with the delivery. This was an experience that made me realize what the phrase “love at first sight” truly means. The litter was so beautiful that we kept three of them. I’m very excited to see them again and how they have developed during my stay in Rome. With my family, I am very excited over the prospects of continuing to develop our kennel and breeding program.
Since I will not have to plan for living in Rome this coming summer, I look forward to pursuing my Junior Showmanship judging license and joining the Professional Handlers Association this year. These things coupled with my own work for my parent’s kennel and my client’s dogs will definitely keep me involved in the sport.
In another three months I will return home in time to once again
show in the summer circuits. Although this trip has been an experience
of a lifetime, it will be very comforting to return to familiar surroundings