Dogs have always been in my life and they always will be. It started from the day I was born! I was born into a very active dog family, and I became active in the sport of dogs when I was very young. In fact, I was at a dog show the weekend I got home from the hospital at a week old.
I began participating in dog shows when I was 6 years old in the “pee wee” showmanship class, but I felt capable of doing so at the age of four. I learned the importance of training the dog before you walked into the ring with it. I was taught how to care for the dog on my own and become responsible for it. I believe these things are crucial to learn at a young age to be successful in working with dogs.
I believe it is important to learn how to train a dog when you are young, because the younger you learn, the more you value it when you get older. When you are young you have more time to improve, learn from others, and further, learn from your mistakes. The learning will also continue when you are an adult. I am now eighteen and training other people’s dogs as well as my own. I have also learned how to present other breeds other. For example my breed is Golden Retrievers, and I have learned how to present Bernese Mountain Dogs, Finnish Spitz, Siberian Huskies, Akitas, and many more breeds. Training a dog can be very rewarding. If you fully train the dog, then you will have better success showing it yourself, rather than having to rely on someone else to show it for you.
When I was fourteen I did a project for my Silver Award in Girl Scouts about showing your dog in junior showmanship. I did this project with my twin sister. We worked together and made a brochure about juniors and the requirements in order to compete. We also included some helpful tips on dress, manners, and attitude. We presented this with a poster board further explaining the sport of dogs and then did a presentation to both our Girl Scout troop and the Girl Scout Council. We handed the brochure out to local dog clubs to give to interested juniors. I believe this project proved how much I have learned about dogs and the responsibilities that come with them.
I have been active in junior showmanship until I aged out earlier this month. I have also shown my dogs and others in the breed ring and put points, including majors on them. I enjoy the breed ring as much as I did showing in juniors. Junior showmanship has not been my first priority since I have always worked for a professional dog handler, and my job came first. I have worked for the same professional handler since I was eight years old. I love it! I know I have learned so much more working for a professional handler than I ever could just being around the dog shows and being an ‘observer’. Not only the care and the grooming of the dogs has been part of my job, but I have also learned more about etiquette, professionalism, and working with adults than I would have otherwise. I have learned valuable lifelong lessons from working with a professional handler. I will be able to carry these skills throughout my adult life.
My life goal is to become a veterinarian. I hope to be accepted to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where I will be an Animal Science Major. I then hope to go on to UC Davis for veterinary school. Dogs and other animals will always be a part of my life, both professionally, and personally!