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My Dog Show Life -- Inside and Outside the Ring
By Kathleen Waldock

Dogs have always been an integral part of my life. My family always had dogs, even before I was born. However, at the age of nine, I was introduced into the dog show world when my family welcomed our first show dog. From that point on I was hooked on everything related to dog shows. I believe very strongly that my experiences with my dogs and with showing has made me the kind of person I am today. One of the most important lessons I have learned through showing is not just how to win well, but how to lose gracefully. The showing experience has taught and will continue to teach me that receiving the blue ribbon is not the most important thing. What is most important is the love and caring you have for your dog, and the belief no matter what anyone else thinks, that you have the best dog there is.

I was lucky enough to be able to assist with the birth of both my Clumber Spaniel champions. I was involved in their lives from the moment they took their first breath. Having the opportunity to see the full process it takes to raise puppies opened my eyes to what a big responsibility it is to help develop another being. Taking on the huge role of raising, training, and showing my own dogs, I believe helped me develop into a more mature person.

Over the years I have done many things at my school and in the community to show and inform people about different breeds of dogs and what goes into owning and showing a dog. In middle school I would bring my dogs in and give demonstrations on how to show dogs and the different awards offered. In high school I gave speeches about my love of dogs, the rules and techniques of showing, and my own experiences in the dog show world. Now that I am in college, I continue to show as often as I can even though I live at the university located a great distance away from my dogs. I still love handling and expanding my horizons in showing other breeds. Wherever life and my career takes me, I know my love of dogs and showing will always have a special place in my heart!

Author is a 2007 AKC Junior Showmanship Scholarship recipient.