Ever since Mrs. Gloria Lewis gave me first place in a Junior match in West Palm Beach, Florida when I was 9 years old, I was hooked on showing dogs. These last 9 years in Junior Showmanship Competition have been a blast. I had great experiences competing in Juniors and learned many lessons, such as good sportsmanship, having confidence, and to NEVER give up.
Throughout the years, I’ve shown some of my other breeds of dogs such as Dobermans or Standard Poodles in Juniors, but I’ve always been most successful with my Aussies. The most exciting accomplishment I’ve earned was winning second place in Juniors at Westminster with Teagan, AKC/ASCA CH. Skyecove’s Out and About, my male Aussie. I’ll always be bragging about that win! The following year after that win I didn’t even qualify for the Garden which was very disappointing but that helped me learn that every day is a new day (or year).
My very first Junior dog was Amber, Ch. Otter Creek’s Simply The Best. She is my 12 year old red tri Aussie who had always loved to show. The very first time I showed in the AKC junior ring I won first place with her and within 4 days of showing I had gotten my 3 novice wins to move up to the Open Class! My second junior dog was Cajun, Ch. Touchstone Cajun Stomp, who was the most challenging dog to show. He is a very smart dog and he thought he knew how to show better than me sometimes. With Cajun, I had to be on my toes all the time and I really learned how to show a hyper, happy dog. My last junior dog was Teagan. Teagan’s breeder sent him to me to see if he and I would be competitive together and we were friends from the beginning. I showed him for the longest time and we were a very strong team together. I finished Teagan in ASCA and AKC on the same day when he was only 18 months old and we went on to have many, many wins in breed and in Juniors. Other than his laziness when it was too hot out, he was the perfect Junior dog. We have traveled the Country together and as long as Teagan is with me, he is laid back and content. He is not happy, however, if I am with another dog and is very stubborn as he barks until I return to him.
I aged out of Juniors on Feb. 27 of last year and I wanted to do something very special for my final Junior competition. For my very last show, I decided to pay tribute to Amber who was now 12/2 years old and show her one last time. Amber was so excited to be up on the table getting groomed that day. She was never happy when one of the boys left with me to compete and she had to stay behind. I think she was even “skipping” on the way to the ring! Many of my friends and family came to the ring to cheer for Amber and me. My class had 13 Juniors in it so it wasn’t going to be a walk in the park or an easy win. Amber never liked her feet touched when I would try to stack her, but once I set them down she wouldn’t move at all. Even after all these years, she showed exactly the same way. She didn’t forget one thing!! Going around the ring she was out at the end of my leash and nailed all of her freestacks. I was actually wondering why I ever stopped showing her in Juniors! On our individual down and back, the crowd cheered really loud and I couldn’t help from smiling even though I never smile in the ring. On our go around I think Amber ran the whole way because she was so excited but I didn’t care. We placed second that day and even though I needed only one more win to qualify for The AKC/Eukanuba Invitational, I was still really proud of Amber and all of my accomplishments. Amber loves to show more than anything and I’m sure she’s rubbing it in Teagan’s and Cajun’s faces that she was picked to show with me on my last day of Juniors.
I kind of miss showing in Juniors just because it was fun showing with my friends, but now I’m moving on to my Professional career in the sport of showing dogs. I’m completely satisfied with my Junior career and I happy to say I ended it with a great performance with a tremendous show dog!