|A Life in the Sport
Growing up, Samantha Newton’s fellow classmates never understood why or what dog showing was. It was incomprehensible why some one would get up hours before the school bus arrived to care for dogs and perform the many dog-related chores each evening after finishing homework. Most kids would not dream of giving up the majority of their weekends to “sleep over” at hotels in far away cities instead of their friends’ houses. However, to Samantha, these things make perfect sense. She is the child of two former dog handlers who now breed Salukis under the Solari kennel name. Her first dog show experience was not at 9 years, but rather 9 days old. At 5, she took her first Saluki in the breed ring and she has never looked back.
As a Junior, Samantha was very successful. She was the top Saluki Junior handler for four years. Samantha qualified for Juniors at Westminster three times and the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship once. To gain experience, Samantha worked for professional handler Sheri Hurst for a year. Working for a professional handler allowed her to see different aspects of showing dogs and to experience what it was like to work with clients and others’ dogs.
Now Samantha has aged out of Juniors and is attending Wharton County College. She is working on a Criminal Justice degree because she would like a police-related career. Her goal is to become a canine police officer. While attending college, Samantha has decided to join the Army Reserve. Once she finishes college she plans to go into active duty. Serving the country she loves is important to Samantha. Both her father and her grandfather were in the military, and she would like to follow in their footsteps. No doubt, many of the skills she has learned by showing dogs such as responsibility, perseverance, and time-management will aide in her in this life-changing endeavor.
Even as a college student, Samantha still shows dogs although not quite as often. Since aging out of Juniors, she has bred several litters of Salukis. One of those litters is one of Samantha’s proudest accomplishments. That litter produced a top 5 lure coursing dog and a top 5 Saluki that has won multiple Best in Shows. She has also diversified her dog involvement as she has gotten older. Samantha gives back to the breed she loves by helping with the Saluki Tree of Life Association’s rescue program. She is also a member of several kennel clubs and a volunteer at the Galveston Bay Saluki Club. Samantha helps develop the next generation of dog fanciers by teaching handling classes with her parents. The classes are informal and are taught in the parking lot of the local feed store. Enough people came to her parents with questions that they decided to teach the classes.
Currently, Samantha is working on getting her Juniors judging license. She also plans to become a Hound Group judge. Once she moves out of her parents’ house, she will begin handling for others (she cannot right now because they are judges). Samantha’s parents have been a huge influence in her involvement in the sport. Her ultimate goal is to continue their line of Solari Salukis. She hopes to breed dogs that are great companions, hunters, conformation specials, or just what she believes to be wonderful examples of the breed. Continuing to teach younger generations through her knowledge and experiences is another way she would like to contribute to the sport.
Samantha is a dedicated fancier who will be crucial to the future of the sport. Whether the she is serving our nation as a member of the Army Reserve or as a canine police officer or the fancy as a dedicated breeder and teacher, Samantha is a shining example of the benefits of growing up in the fancy.