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Age Is a State of Mind – Readers Choice

Dateline: Deland, Florida

From time-to-time, Best In Show Daily checks in with handlers to see the world from their eyes. We’ve been following a young lady that’s been turning heads in Florida. This week, we put the Spotlight on Emily Cloudman, a golden retriever handler recently returned from the Golden Retriever Club of America’s National.

Emily is the daughter of well-known photographer and ad designer, Megan Cloudman. 
Emily’s family, Chris, Megan, and her little sister Isobel, 3, reside in Deland Florida. Chris is the Associate Director of Continuing Education at Stetson University. He is very active in his community as a member of the Rotary Club of Downtown Deland and the City of Deland planning board. Megan Cloudman grew up in the horse world, riding Hunters and Jumpers. She is an active member of the West Volusia Kennel Club, GRCA, and Florida Gulf Coast Golden Retriever Club. Most weekends you can find her at a dog show with camera in hand. No stranger to dog shows, Emily’s introduction to the show ring was being carried as a baby while Mom took candids & portraits.

Emily’s entry into the dog world has been nothing short of sensational.  Emily entered her dog, “True” GCH Gemini’s Chant To X-Cel SDHF, owned by Kathy Cudak and Emily Cloudman, in the Veterans’ Class. Nothing too unusual there, that was the correct class for the 9 year old champion to be entered. The entry for veterans was a staggering 45 dogs. Not much unusual there, either, it IS the National. What is unusual is Emily is 7 years old.  Too young to be in juniors, but with a champion temperament of her own, tenacious and talented Emily stepped into the ring where the really big kids play.

Emily Cloudman and “True” GCH Gemini’s Chant To X-Cel SDHF

When she learned she was not eligible yet to be a Junior, she inquired whether she could participate in the class & breed rings where the age of the dog is all that matters.  The answer was “yes.”  Being a can-do girl, locked out of Juniors due to the age qualification, and preparing to show a dog that is older than she is, Emily reached out to those around her for mentoring.  According to Jane Myers, Professional Handler and soon to be AKC Rep, “Emily is a talented young lady. She is like a sponge, absorbing all the information available to her. This is quite impressive for someone at her young age. It is good to know that she is the future of our sport.”

Emily and Professional Handler Jane Myers

Emily’s entry into the veterans class caused quite a stir as everyone wanted to see the little girl with her retriever as word spread, the ring was surrounded with spectators.  Emily walked in to win and presented “True” capably and with self-assurance. “It was so much fun to travel with my Mom and friends to Texas. I really liked being able to be in such a big ring showing. I can’t wait to show on the blue carpet in Orlando.”  Emily will be debuting in the beagle ring at Eukanuba with her new dog partner  “Lacey” Longhorn’s Legacy of Love owned by Emily and Megan Cloudman, Aaron Wilkerson, and Janice Granda, and bred by Sharon Wilkerson.  If you’re attending Eukanuba this week, watch the beagle ring for a glimpse at the future of the sport.


Emily on her tip toes at the table with her beagle

The future looks bright for Emily. When not in the ring or working on her dogs & horses, Emily is a first grader at George Marks Elementary with straight A’s.  She loves art, reading and plans to be a farmer when she grows up.

Editors Note: Emily Cloudman became an instant, world-wide celebrity when her photo was posted as our cover picture during the week of the National. It was titled “A Little Girl and Her Dog”. Emily and True became a sensation with over 100,000 views with questions ranging from “who is she” to “her dog is older than she is” to our favourite, “this is what the sport is about”.  Miss Cloudman is the daughter of one of our own, Megan Cloudman.

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  • Margaret Keuser December 10, 2013 at 11:50 AM

    Just fabulous. Thank you for sharing Emily’s story. It truly brought tears to my eyes and HOPE for the future of the sport. I would love to see a follow up on her at Eukanuba this week!

    Maggie Keuser
    Glendale, Arizona

  • Julia Stege December 10, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    Congratulations, Emily! What a nice story!

  • Cathy Driggers December 10, 2013 at 6:30 PM

    Emily is an amazing young lady! So proud of her and look forward to watching her success in years to come.

  • Pat Pierce December 11, 2013 at 5:52 AM

    Good job, Emily! Best of luck in Orlando! Present your dog to the judges with confidence, and bring your willingness to learn to every endeavor in the future. And at the end of the day, know you will have inspired many, many people with your actions.

  • Diane Stille December 17, 2013 at 1:39 PM

    Congratulations Emily, that’s quite an accomplishment to show your dog at the National Specialty. For those of us that are concerned what the future of purbred dogs will bring, we can only hope there are more “Emily’s” out there, and adults willing and able to mentor them!

  • Peggy DaValt December 30, 2013 at 10:56 AM

    Here here to Miss Emily!! I so concur that she and those in her age group are the future of our sport. If we, as breeders, handlers, judges and exhibitors do not encourage them to participate, then there will be no sport as we know it.

    I love to educate anyone that asks me about the dog show world. From that little girl that always wanted a dog and her parents wouldn’t buy her one….take it from me…once you have the dog gene, you cannot get rid of it. It is a passion, an obsessive-compulsive behavior. It is a part of who you are. It is in your DNA.

    So for all the future Emilys of the world…thank you for loving dogs and loving them enough to compete with them. Therein lies the future of our sport!!

    Best wishes for a fantastic 2014!!

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