Interview with an Owner Handler, Patty Wirries
Where do I live? How many years have you been an Owner Handler?
Patty Wirries: I live in Salinas, California. I’ve been showing for 40 years, but have been competing in the Owner-Handled competitions since it started nine years ago.
How did I get my start in my breed? In the sport?
Patty Wirries: I got my first and best show dog from a breeder in Canada. I’d gotten caught up in the sport years ago in Australian Shepherds, and finally started to show in AKC when the breed was accepted.
Have I always loved to show dogs? Have I always been a dog person?
Patty Wirries: Yes, I have always loved to show dogs, and before that, I showed horses. Of course, dogs are the best and have always been a part of our family.
Is there a story behind my decision to show my own dog?
Patty Wirries: I’m a competitive person and have always enjoyed competition. So, yes, showing my own dog is an honor and a privilege. I always tell my friends that your dog will show its best for you. Keep persevering and become a winning team.
What makes showing my own dog so special to me?
Patty Wirries: What makes showing an owner-handled dog so special is the recognition of being honored for the teamwork that you and your dog achieve in the ring. My dog loves to show and it is apparent in the ring. It’s a joy to watch him command a judge’s eye.
In my opinion, is there a secret to having a great dog/handler partnership?
Patty Wirries: Yes. You need to love and respect your dog, and your dog needs to love and respect you.
Do I compete in the National Owner-Handled Series? If so, for how many years?
Patty Wirries: Yes. I have competed in the NOHS for nine years.
What goals did I set for myself and for my dog in 2022? What about 2023?
Patty Wirries: For 2022, I set a goal to be the Number One Owner-Handled dog in my breed (Wirehaired Dachshund) and we achieved it this year.
Am I going to Orlando? If so, what’s it like to have a top NOHS dog this year?
Patty Wirries: Yes, I am going to Orlando. It’s an honor to achieve that Number One status, but now that we have, it’s time to back away. I will retire my nine-year-old dog, “Freeway,” and let someone else take the spotlight.