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Interview with Patricia Anne Keenan – 2024 WKC Dog Show Terrier Group Judge

Patricia Anne Keenan

Interview with Patricia Anne Keenan – 2024 WKC Dog Show Terrier Group Judge

Can you describe your reaction to receiving an invitation to judge the Terrier Group at this year’s Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show?

Patricia Anne Keenan: When an envelope arrives with the Westminster logo there is always a wave of excitement wondering what might be enclosed. Upon opening the envelope and reading the letter, there were many emotions. Thrill, shock, disbelief, and a huge sense of responsibility to uphold the Westminster tradition of greatness.

What does it mean to judge a Group at this historic event?

For me, absolutely everything! The tradition and excellence that is Westminster has been part of my world since birth. To be invited to play a part in that is my greatest honor.

In your opinion, how does this show differ from other AKC shows?

Patricia Anne Keenan: As we all know, “There Is Only One” Westminster. Tradition, hard work, and all-around excellence take it to another level.

What were you thinking or feeling moments before you stepped into the center of the Group ring?

Patricia Anne Keenan: Honestly, a calming sense of peace. Leading up to the trip, I assumed I would be very nervous and emotional, thinking of my mother judging the same Group 22 years prior. She was definitely present, and I hope she enjoyed it as much as I did. Full disclosure: not tripping or falling were also on my mind!

Was there a heightened energy coming from the dog and handler teams? Did you feel the energy of the spectators?

Absolutely! The floor of the arena has an energy all its own. The majority of the dogs and handlers take it all in stride and put on a great show. Until watching the recordings of the show, I was unaware of the crowd’s reactions to things as I was concentrating so hard on making some very tough decisions.

How challenging was this assignment? Can you share your selection process?

Patricia Anne Keenan: There were very tough choices to make, to be certain. Thanks to the four Terrier aficionados who judged the breeds, I had the best of the best to evaluate and that makes it fun, not challenging. I made my final selections based on the evaluation of breeding stock and firmly believe all four of the dogs that placed will make their breeds better with their contributions to future generations.

Do you have a word or two about your Group winner? About the dogs that placed?

Patricia Anne Keenan: All four of the dogs that received ribbons that evening are exceptional examples of their breed and the hard work and dedication of their breeders. There were several others in the ring that night that I absolutely love and only wish I had a lot more ribbons!

There is no other show quite like Westminster. Is there anything you’d like to say to the Officers of The Westminster Kennel Club?

Patricia Anne Keenan: The people of Westminster are like no other and every year they make it better! There is no stone left unturned and they think of everything to make it extra special. From top to bottom, everyone in the organization works tirelessly and with a smile to make you feel welcome. Deepest gratitude and appreciation for all you do.

Are there specific ways in which this show furthers the cause of purebred dogs?

Patricia Anne Keenan: The public outreach and inclusiveness speak volumes and share what we do with millions. Adding the Saturday Canine Celebration event this year and all the pre-show events in the city where huge to spread awareness. The Fox coverage is great and brings Westminster to fans around the world.

Now that your assignment is complete, what does Westminster mean to you personally?

Patricia Anne Keenan: It is the stuff dreams are made of. I competed at my first Westminster 42 years ago. I have only missed a few since then. Having attended as a Junior Handler, Owner-Handler, Professional Handler, Ring Steward, Judge, and Spectator, it is always special and exciting. I look forward to attending and supporting this amazing event long into the future!