Hi, I'm Hannah Brandel, and this is my Junior Showmanship story. I have mild cerebral palsy in my left hand and side that results in giving me a limp, and I can't use my left hand very much. I was born three and half months prematurely. My cerebral palsy comes from that.
In May 2005, after left-hand surgery rehab, my parents said I could get a puppy to show in dog shows or go to Disney World. I chose the puppy, and I never regretted my decision.
I looked though dog-breed books and went to a dog show; the Irish Terrier was my favorite breed. We talked to breeders and got Missy from Mark and Laurie Ulrich, Dearg Madra Irish Terriers. I was 15 years old then.
Missy was the best puppy ever! I loved raising her and learning about the Irish Terrier. The Ulrichs were extremely helpful and willing to teach me how to groom an Irish Terrier for dog shows.
Missy would become Ch. Dearg Madra Sona Cailin. In showing Missy in Junior Showmanship classes and Best of Breed classes, I've worked hard to overcome my disability in the process of grooming and showing Missy. And to accept wins and to lose with grace like any great handler would do. Missy and I have won many ribbons together, including Best of Breed, Best of Opposite Sex, and some Grand Championship points, sometimes over professional handlers.
The wins are always sweeter because I handle Missy myself and groom her myself most of the time. Showing her in Junior Showmanship has taught me to show Missy to the best of my ability and to accept constructive criticism kindly. I developed friendships with other junior handlers. We encouraged one another to do our best with our dogs.
Junior Showmanship has given me the opportunity to work hard at overcoming my disability. I've learned how to hold the show lead in my weak left hand and show Missy to the best of my ability. I've worked to create a finished picture in the judge's mind of Missy and me.
I have learned so much about dog shows and real life though Junior Showmanship. I've learned to stack a dog and how to use the show lead to move the dog up. Also, focusing on only the dog when I am in the show ring and to use my left hand to help move Missy and stack her the correct way was something I worked on. I also have learned to get good advice from other breeders and friends who also show Irish Terriers.
Missy has also helped me overcome my fear of public speaking. Missy and I gave speeches about the Irish Terrier and showing and breeding this amazing, wonderful dog breed at Willowbrook High School for three years and at College of DuPage last year. Missy is the 1st furry high school graduate! She has an official-looking diploma.
Missy became a mom on May 25, 2008. It was the beginning of my kennel Irish Creme Irish Terriers. Missy had three puppies, a boy named Eeyore and two girls named Kanga and Emerald. The theme of the litter was Winnie the Pooh, because I am an Eeyore addict.
The moment I saw the pups being born, I felt I wanted to be a dog breeder forever. Seeing the birth of the litter was a wonderful experience! I would raise a litter of Irish Creme Irish Terriers again in a heartbeat a million times over. I love showing Missy and hope to breed another litter of Irish Crème Irish Terriers sometime in the future.
I am going to college right now taking general education classes. I would love to become a Veterinary Assistant but my disabilities stand in my way. This is extremely hard for me to deal with emotionally.
My future participation in the American Kennel Club will include showing dogs, including Irish Creme Irish Terriers. I plan to continue to educate the public about the Irish Terrier. Last year Missy and I did a Canine Good Citizen class. I hope to help Missy get her Canine Good Citizen in the future. Missy is a very companionable dog and a great Irish Terrier.