I was 40 years old when I got my first dog, a Pointer, and had him until he was 12 years old. Having gone back to school part-time while working full-time, I was in no hurry to get another dog. A few years later, I was invited to attend a dog show and saw the Pointers in the ring. I knew I wanted another. Wanting a finished dog, however, there were none available. So, I got a puppy! Yikes, my first puppy! My friend, whom I got my first dog from, asked if I was going to show him or neuter him? Show? (As a child, I showed dairy cattle in 4-H.) She offered to handle him if I trained him. We attended handling classes for two months and I entered our first show at his age of six months.
My handler, however, was in a serious accident and was unable to show him. I attended the next handling class and was encouraged by my fellow classmates and handling coach to show him myself; we received Winners Dog the first two shows! I continued to enter on occasion, but was not that serious to show. Per my father’s advice, I decided to invest in a show quality dog. Earlier this year, we completed her Grand Championship!
My first year, we tied #10 NOHS in Pointer, having only six months to compete. The following year, we were #10 NOHS in Pointer. This year, we are tied #4 NOHS in Pointer.
This year, we are packing it up and heading from the West Coast of California to the East Coast to compete in the NOHS Championships in Orlando, Florida.
Wish us luck!
1. When were you first introduced to the sport of purebred dogs? To your breed?
I was introduced approximately five years ago to the sport, and to my breed in 2000.
2. How many years in dogs? How many as an Owner Handler?
I’ve been an Owner Handler for five years.
3. Do you attend show handling classes? Handling seminars?
Handling classes? Yes. Have I attended any handling seminars? No.
4. Have you found virtual learning tools to be helpful? Classes? Videos? Websites? Social Media?
Yes, to all the above.
5. Do you compete in the National Owner-Handled Series? Are rankings important to you?
Yes, I compete in NOHS. I was able to place in the Top Ten in my breed for the past three years.
6. In which class(es) are you most likely to enter your dog(s)? Why?
The age-appropriate class for unfinished dogs, and Best of Breed, now that I have a champion.
7. Are you intimidated by the professional handlers? By the judges?
The pros set a standard and I learn by example. I think it is
fair to say that some judges are more pleasurable to show to than others.
8. Who have been your mentor(s) as an Owner Handler?
Too many to name; it takes a village.
9. What are your goals as an Owner Handler? Is there a victory that has eluded you?
I’m living in the moment and have not set any future goals.
10. Is there a funny story that you can share about your experiences as an Owner Handler?
One thing that comes to mind is when exhibiting at our local speciality, I put my armband on upside-down. My number was 81 and I thought it was 18!