Interview with a Junior Handler, Micaela Kenyon
Hi, my name is Micaela Kenyon. I’m 14 years old and live in Holly, Michigan, on a 10-acre hobby farm with my family where we raise goats, sheep, chickens, honey bees, and Norwegian Buhunds. I also co-own two Doberman Pinschers that I also show in addition to the Buhunds.
Where do you live? Where do you go to school?
I live in Holly, Michigan, and I’m homeschooled.
Do you have any hobbies or interests apart from purebred dogs? Do you have a job?
I am an active member of two 4-H clubs. I also show lambs and goats with our county fair. I do not have a job.
Have you grown up in a doggy family? What is your breed(s)?
Yes, my family raises and breeds Norwegian Buhunds.
How were you introduced to Junior Showmanship? When did you start competing?
It just became something I was interested in. I started competing in 2018 at nine years old.
What do you remember about the first time you showed as a Junior?
I remember just being very nervous, but also excited about getting to show my dog.
How do you prepare your dog and yourself for the ring? Any rituals? Any good luck charms?
Nothing special, really; I just groom my dog and off we go.
What’s it like in the ring when the pressure is on? Do you have a secret for handling the nerves?
I just go into “work mode.”
Do you have a mentor in the sport? Have you assisted any Professional Handlers?
Yes, Heather Sekovich has been such a blessing to me! She has taught me everything I know about Dobermans, Great Danes, and German Shorthaired Pointers. I love assisting the professionals… I learn a lot.
Are there any wins for which you are particularly proud? Any memorable losses?
Multiple wins! Four months after I started showing dogs, I co-owned a Bullmastiff named “Legend” (I miss you, buddy) who I got my first Reserve Best Junior Handler (RBJH) with.
It was super special when I went Best in Specialty Show (BISS) with my Doberman bitch in a large entry, and my puppy dog went Winners Dog/Best of Winners/Best of Opposite Sex (WD/BOW/BOS) for a 5-pt major.
I remember how I was so excited. I could have jumped out of my skin when my best girl went Reserve Best in Show-Owner-Handled (RBIS-OH) for the first time.
Also, going Top Junior at UKC Premier 2022.
As for losses, well, you can’t win all the time… tomorrow is a new day. I’m leaving with the best dog, win or lose.
How do you accentuate your dog’s breed type in the ring? How do you try to stand out?
I like to bait one of my Buhunds on that final look to show off her expression. With my Doberman, I stand in a lunge position to show off her beautiful neck.
Are there any breeds that you haven’t yet shown but would like to some day?
Oh my gosh, that’s a long list! But at the top of that list would probably be the Beauceron. I love
What can be done to encourage more young people to participate in Junior Showmanship?
Less ring conflicts! A lot of us use our own money to pay for entries, and entries are getting more expensive, which makes it really hard to miss due to a breed conflict.
Have you bred or co-bred a litter? If so, can you share what you’ve learned from the experience?
I will be co-breeding my first Doberman litter very soon! I just co-bred my first Buhund litter, and two out of six went to show homes.
Is breeding something that you’d like to pursue? Is breed preservation important to you?
Yes, I plan on breeding when I’m older, and yes, breed preservation is very important to me.
What are your goals for the future? Do you see yourself continuing in the sport once you’ve aged-out?
I love dogs and I absolutely see myself continuing in the sport once I age out of juniors. My goal is to become a successful professional handler someday.
Can you share a word or two about your relationship with your current dog? What does s/he mean to you?
All five of my dogs mean a lot to me. They each hold special places in my heart for different reasons. “Tisla” (Buhund) was my first good Junior dog, and first import, as well as my first BIS winner; she’s the best cuddler. “Saga” (Buhund), she’s my first big successful dog, my first dog to finish a championship, and my first Grand Champion (GCH) and Grand Champion Bronze (GCHB). She was my first dog that I got a Group placement on.
She’s my heart dog and best friend who sleeps in my bed every night. “Captain” (Buhund) is my first male and my youngest dog to finish a championship. He’s a “derp,” but he’s got the cutest and squishiest face and I just love him! “Cait” (Doberman) is my first Doberman, my first Doberman GCH, my first dog I ever got a BISS on, and she’s the perfect first Doberman… so patient with my novice Doberman handling, but she taught me how to be a Doberman handler. “Seger” (Doberman) is Cait’s nephew. He’s my first Doberman male, first red Doberman, and the first Doberman I got to hand-pick as a puppy. I’m so excited to see what the future holds for him.
Is there a funny story that you can share about your experiences as a Junior Handler?
My puppy, “Captain” (Buhund), tripped me at my first breed National Specialty and I fell on my face! I had a bruise on my hip for a month!