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Where to Find Junior Results and Stats
Finding Junior Showmanship results and statistics is not an easy task, which is why I thought I would share with you some of my favorite ways to get the job done. The easiest way to keep track of your own wins is...
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Junior Newcomers Need More Than Desire
As if joining a new sport isn’t rough enough, entering the world of dog shows, and Junior Showmanship specifically, takes that feeling of “rough” one step further. I think most of you would agree that in the past and today most junior...
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How Dogs Rule Our Worlds
In our own little worlds, sometimes we aren’t the first priority, whether our kids, a significant other, or, yes, even our four-legged friends come before us. There always seems to be something that we put ahead of ourselves. Most DFR readers may...
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Practice Makes Perfect
Skills and talents fade if we don’t put them to good use. If we don’t practice what we know and learn more about what we want to know, we are essentially “out of practice.” This is why practice should be a part...
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An Interview with Kirby McNab
Wanna meet an amazing, inspiring girl today? Well here’s your chance! This girl is a total force to be reckoned with!  Today I introduce to you Ms. Kirby McNab of Huntington Beach, California.   I first saw Kirby in February of 2013...
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Bad to the Bone
Naughty or extra naughty? That is the question! I continually ask myself this question as I watch my puppies grow up. It’s like a fun game to see who can be the craziest – and the baddest! To dogs, it doesn’t really...
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The Importance of Knowing Your Standard
On a scale of one to 10, the importance of knowing your breed standard would be somewhere close to an 11. Don’t ya think? Obviously it may be difficult to memorize an entire standard word for word, but little by little the...
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Dock Diving: Something for Everyone!
Dock diving or dock jumping; call it what you will. Overall it’s just too much fun, and not just for the dogs! It’s fun for the handler, the dog and every single person watching! Although popular in the United Kingdom and Australia,...
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Tricked Out!
Throwing conformation aside, most dog fanciers would agree there’s a big difference between pets and show dogs. But I like to think there’s something that meets in the middle. I’m talking about our dogs that may have once shown, but have retired...
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Dog Shows Are Hard Work
The title says it all, but it’s not saying much of what we don’t already know right? The good thing is that hard work never killed anyone, at least according to actor Edgar Bergen. Recently I saw the poem “Hard Work” by...
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An Interview with Anna Pearson
Today I bring you a very special young woman, who proves that when you set your mind to achieve what you want, it can be done. Miss Anna Pearson of Snohomish, (say that five times fast) Wash., has been involved in the...
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A Show Worth Entering: Farmington, Utah
Each year in the small town of about 19,000 people, Farmington, Utah, holds one of the three all-breed dog shows in the state. Not only does this show have two all-breed show days, but two additional days full of specialties, obedience, rally...
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A Little Food for Thought
Today I have a few things that have been weighing heavily on my brain, and what better outlet than here to share them? By the way, you could do the same by blogging out what makes you think. It’s all sorts of...
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What Does ‘Relax’ Mean?
Relax: 1. Make or become less tense or anxious; 2. Rest or engage in an enjoyable activity so as to become less tired or anxious. The word itself is pretty simple, really, but as a junior handler this word seems to confuse...
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Performance Juniors in the Spotlight
This past week I essentially dedicated DFR to acknowledging the future of our sport – the junior handler – here and here. Today I’d like to take the time to recognize those juniors involved in the performance side of things. It seems as...
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The Current Top Three Junior Handlers
Today I want to take the time to recognize the current top junior handlers in our sport. Three young ladies from three different areas of the country have been working hard with their dogs to make it to where they are thus...
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Junior Handlers Have Months to Qualify
Summer is a beautiful season for most junior handlers. It’s when you get to spend more time in the ring with your four-legged friends and less time behind desks listening to lectures. With all of this extra time spent at shows, it...
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An Interview with Jordan Confer
Showing in Junior Showmanship can be difficult enough as it is, but today’s interviewee from Hereford, Ariz., knows all too well about the difficulties – and then some. Jordan Confer seemed to emerge on the scene this year as quite the handler...
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Is Anybody Happy Here?
We’ve all been there. I can be the first to admit, “Guilty as charged!” You know that moment when we find ourselves in a dumpy mood at a dog show? Well, lately I’ve been on the search to find out why, and...
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Juniors in Houston
It was a regular routine for some, but a first time for many, including me. I’m talking about the Reliant Park World Series of Dog Shows held last weekend in Houston, Texas! The limited-breed and all-breed shows were the reason for my...
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PHA Award Recipients Inspire
Going into these two interviews, I wasn’t anticipating just how inspirational these two young handlers would be when answering five simple questions about a special award they both received from the Professional Handlers Association to help pay for a trip to the Westminster...
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An Interview with Kelly VanNatter
It can be hard transitioning from the life of a junior handler to that of a professional handler, but an 18-year-old from Sparta, N.J., Kelly VanNatter, doesn’t seem to show it. Kelly enjoys going to shows with her new clients just about...
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Junior Handlers Assist for a Summer to Remember
As far back as I can remember – and even further in the sport of dogs – young handlers have been spending their summers doing what we doggie people like to do best! No, not spending all day in bed, or going...
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Doggie Yoga Classes with Chris Ott
Wanna have a little bit of fun this summer with your pup? Well look no further because doggie yoga is here! Wait, what? Yes, doggie yoga! Today I bring you the one and only Chris Ott from Jackson, N.J., to tell us...
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Boom, Boom, BOOM!
Is it really that time of the year already? July has definitely arrived faster than anticipated. It seems like just yesterday that it was snowing! July is here though – loud and clear – and it’s time to celebrate! Today is one...
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A Recap of Terrier Junior Handlers at Great Western
As we all know, the Great Western Terrier Association show is one of the “it” spots for junior handlers who show Terriers to compete. This year I was able to attend and watch the competition unfold for the second year in a...
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Don’t Be an Over-Handler
Every single time I have the chance to actually sit down and watch Junior Showmanship judging, I learn something. I might be introduced to something new or reminded of something old, or maybe I’ll see a judging style that I think should...
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Smiles All Around in the Ring
Now that my baby Beagles are getting older – in fact, they just turned 1 a few weeks back – I find comfort in knowing that I will be spending more time in the ring instead of out of it. I love...
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Be Ready for a Bitch in Season
For those of you who don’t know: as a junior handler you cannot show a bitch that’s in season. So what do you do when your girl comes in season in the middle of a dog show circuit or when you’re already at...
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An Interview with Kaitlyn Benedict
Last week I brought you a young handler who walked into the ring doing what any other handler would aspire to do at least once in a career: to be awarded a Best in Show. This week I bring you yet another young...
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What to Wear: Junior Edition
It’s funny that when the seasons change the chatter starts going around about what is the “right” thing to wear – as if there is some strict dress code by which we all abide. Well, maybe there is no actual dress code,...
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An Interview with Chloe Tilford
Talk about a day to remember! Miss Chloe Tilford, a 16-year-old junior handler from Louisville, Ky., who’s only been showing dogs for three years now, was awarded not only Best Junior Handler, but also Best in Show at the Southern Indiana Kennel...
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The Language of the Juniors Ring
Getting together outside of the ring while watching other classes being judged can be a big advantage for junior handlers who are paying attention. Juniors can utilize what they’ve seen and heard in order to feel more relaxed when it’s their turn...
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Introducing the 2013 USA Agility Junior European Open Team
Over the past few years, it seems that more and more young handlers have taken quite an interest in the performance side of the dog sport. Young agility competitors have proven time and time again that they can compete in the “big...
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Sportsmanship Matters, Win or Lose
When it comes to winning and losing, we’ve all been there and done that. Sometimes, as competitors, we tend to focus only on winning, but it’s important to remember there’s a fine line between someone who exhibits good sportsmanship and someone who’s...
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Rain, Rain, Go Away!
Weather is unpredictable, of course, but just how far will exhibitors go for those points when the forecast calls for rain – and the show is outdoors? It’s not very often that we experience crappy weather at shows in my home state...
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International Agility Teams Announced
The results are in, and this year for the first time, at what is now called ITT – short for International Team Tryouts – not one but two separate U.S. teams were chosen for two separate agility competitions. The event has been...
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Nothing Like a Dog Show in Utah!
As you know by now from reading previous blogs of mine, dog shows are rare in Utah. In fact, there are only three shows a year. In hopes of increasing entries and helping make these shows a bit more popular year by...
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An Interview with Becker Reep
I’m not really sure how to introduce you to perhaps the most inspirational 13-year-old junior handler I’ve had the pleasure to meet this past year. All I can say is that after you read this you all will know exactly what I’m...
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Blogging from Thailand, Part III
It’s funny how all over the world dog shows can be so different, yet in so many respects, exactly the same. Now I know what you’re thinking, “Well, that doesn’t make any sense!” Hopefully after reading this blog, you will see what...
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Young Talent Shines in Thailand and Neighboring Countries
This past weekend I had the chance to attend my first Kennel Club of Thailand dog show. I was looking forward to exploring the Junior Showmanship world here, but little did I know that I wouldn’t find much of one. In fact,...
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Blogging from Thailand, Part II
Greetings from Thailand! When it comes to owners’ lives revolving around their dogs, it seems that people in this country take things to a whole new level. When you are a breeder here or in surrounding countries, you must work twice as...
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A Special Congrats to 2013 AKC Junior Scholarship Recipients
Every year for the past 14 years, the AKC has awarded scholarships to the future of our sport – junior handlers. Recipients have used the scholarship monies to further their success in their college educations. In order to be chosen as a...
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An Interview with Diana Chan
Today I’d like to introduce you to 17-year-old Diana Chan from Old Saybrook, Conn. Diana is a lifetime dog lover with big dreams, some of which she’s already accomplished. In November of 2012, a friend sent me a link to a video....
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Blogging from Thailand
I want to be the first to let you, as DFR readers, know that I will be away for a few weeks. That’s right. As you read this, I am discovering the beautiful country of Thailand! It has actually been a while...
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Dogs Learn from Each Other
Dog fanciers are more than just “dog people.” We are breeders, handlers, groomers, mentors and so much more. Most of us are dog trainers, at least at some level, but the truth is our dogs teach each other plenty of things when...
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'P’ Is for Punctual
Let’s face it. We all have a lot on our plate between managing our dogs, going to shows and trying to have a real life, not to mention everything else that comes our way. One way to help minimize the day-to-day stress,...
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Juniors Make Memories that Last Forever
As Junior Handlers, we all have what seems like a very short time frame to make lasting memories. For some of us, we have only eight or nine years in the juniors ring; others have even fewer. I know, I know, eight...
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Kindness Is Contagious
Now that Spring has sprung and summer is fast approaching, more and more spectators will have the chance to make their way to a dog show. As dog fanciers, it’s our job to be kind and welcome the visitors with open arms and...
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Juniors Keep It in the Family and Do It on Their Own
In the sport of dogs today, the majority of junior handlers come from families who are also involved in the sport. Usually someone closely related, like a mother, father or friend of the family, has already been showing dogs for a couple...
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Springtime Fun for Happy Easter Puppies
The first day of spring was just last week, and although some of us may not be seeing much sunshine outside, there’s no doubt that the season is right around the corner. So, on one of our recent sunnier days here in...
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Showing in Juniors After Aging Out
Some of you may be reading this solely because of the title. After all, showing in Junior Showmanship after aging out is unusual, but it is an obtainable experience. For Taylor Ault of Knoxville, Tenn., the chance to do just that became...
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Kentuckiana Cluster Regional Top Junior Handler Competition
This past weekend, in conjunction with the Kentuckiana Cluster in Louisville, Ky., juniors residing in nearly two dozen U.S. states, who had two Open wins (with competition) between January 31, 2012 and January 31, 2013, were eligible to compete in the Midwest...
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A Whole Lot of Incredible
Most of you DFR readers know by now that I am definitely a conformation girl, but over the last year my dog world slowly expanded into a love of performance. Honestly, I hadn’t been able to experience much because of a lack...
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Bill McFadden Judges Juniors at Crufts
Today I have very special guest who has taken time out of his busy, busy schedule to answer a few questions about his experience judging the International Junior Handling Competition at Crufts this year. Bill McFadden has been handling professionally, with his...
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Emma Goes to Crufts – Again!
Today, DFR readers, I bring to you the one and only Miss Emma Echols. Emma has just returned home from her second consecutive year representing the United States in the International Junior Handling Competition at the largest dog show in the world,...
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Challenging Yourself In and Out of the Ring
”The most rewarding things you do in life are often the ones that look like they cannot be done.” – Arnold Palmer Lately I have been noticing that life has thrown some challenging situations my way, not only in the dog world,...
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Traveling with Your Four-Legged Friend
Just a few weeks ago I had the pleasure of hand-delivering a Beagle puppy to a fellow dog show friend on the East Coast. It’s not often that I travel with a baby puppy, let alone fly with one. In fact, I’ve...
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A Final Farewell with Morgan Mattioli, Part II
We first read about Morgan Mattioli’s journey competing for the last time in Junior Showmanship here, but what you didn’t see, hear or know are all of the details about what happened in between and after the fact. I had a chance...
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Helping Our Dog Show Family
From time to time we hear the sad news of one of our own dog show family members falling ill or being right in the middle of a car accident. But it is in hard times like these that we all seem...
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2013 Westminster Best Junior Handler Savannah Livingston
Today I bring to all of you DFR readers and junior handler supporters an interview with the one and only Savannah Livingston, the 16-year-old Open Senior from Burton, Mich. Savannah was chosen from more than 30 junior handlers from all over the...
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Fun Match Fun With My Puppies!
A couple of weekends ago, I was able to attend yet another fun match. The Mount Ogden Kennel Club put on the event, and, along with great prizes and a raffle, had lots and lots of fun planned for the day! This...
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Love Is in the 'Square'
Madison Square Garden, that is. During these last few days, I had the pleasure of spending my work days (and nights) at the wonderful Westminster Kennel Club dog show. Not only did I see some of the most beautiful dogs, I experienced...
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A Final Farewell to the Juniors Ring with Morgan Mattioli
At this time of year, when everyone comes together to celebrate one of the most prestigious dog shows, we’re all reminded of just how much we love dogs. For some though, it can be a bittersweet experience. For some junior handlers, the...
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Get to Know California Junior Breanna Uyeno
Today I get to share with you an interview with someone who is not only a talented junior handler, but a knowledgeable, inspiring young lady! From the Open Intermediate class, I introduce to you Miss Breanna Uyeno. This 14-year-old from La Habra...
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Time to Tally Up Your Wins for the Master Class! New Dates!
Calling all conformation junior handlers! It’s officially the second year of the Master class, and let’s just say there was quite a buzz going around all year about it. Good, right? Well, mostly. Either way, it’s safe to say that this is...
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The Ins and Outs of Junior Showmanship at Westminster
This year, for the first time in history, junior handlers competing to take home the top prize of Best Junior Handler at the Westminster Kennel Club will have qualified by winning Best Junior Handler at seven or more AKC-licensed or member shows....
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A Few Words with Toy Junior Handler Marina Nagatani
Today I am pleased to share with you my recent interview with 14-year-old Marina Nagatani from Visalia, Calif. Marina began showing dogs at the same time as her mother, just six years ago. With a lot of hard work, dedication and passion,...
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Snow Day!
That’s right, guys! We had an actual snow day when it’s impossible to get to work, school is canceled, and you’re lucky if you can make it 10 feet out of your driveway! Now I know that isn’t the case for everyone....
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Third Time's a Charm
This year marks the third year in a row, in fact in all of my years showing dogs, that I have been lucky enough to attend the first show of the year, the Palm Springs Kennel Club in Indio, Calif. Now most...
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A New New Year, Again
“Don’t change because a new year is coming up but change for your own personal growth; no matter what resolutions you make, they start with you.” –Unknown I can’t believe that this time last year I was just starting out on my...
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AKC/Eukanuba’s Best Junior Handler Is a Repeat Winner
It’s a great honor to win Best Junior Handler at the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship, and even greater to win twice! In fact, it has only ever happened once before. This year 17-year-old Emma Grayson Echols took the top prize for the second...
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Great Photos Are the Result of Teamwork
As a photographer, I am not the first person to admit that the job – which is also a passion – is not always a walk in the park. The challenge of finding the perfect spot at the perfect time is only...
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2012 AKC Juniors Agility Competition
The American Kennel Club announced this year that they are excited to host the 2nd Annual Juniors Agility competition in conjunction with the AKC Agility Invitational in Orlando, Fla. – and so are we! This includes me and many, many juniors out...
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Best Junior Handlers at AKC/Eukanuba
Junior Showmanship competition has been part of the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship since the first event in Orlando, Fla., in 2001. Junior handlers are invited to this annual event to demonstrate their expertise in handling and for the opportunity to receive a $2,000...
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Highlighting the Northeast Junior Handler of the Year and Regional Competitions
I knew that I was not the only one pushing for the future of our sport to have recognition at every show, and I am glad to report that some clubs and events go the extra mile – with the help of...
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A Different Point of View
I promised in an earlier DFR,  which I wrote before attending the National Dog Show Presented by Purina, that this blog would feature, in my own words and photographs, the benching area at this year’s NDS weekend! People seemed to be everywhere...
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Junior Handlers Deserve Recognition at Every Show
This is not the first or last time that I will be blogging about “the future of our sport.” Yes, I’m talking about our up-and-coming junior handlers, not only in conformation, but in performance sports as well. At a recent event where I...
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Starting Over For Junior Handlers
With December quickly approaching, all of you junior handlers out there are already a month into the new year, at least as far as qualifying for the big shows of 2013 and 2014 goes! For all of those juniors who made their...
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The Happy Dance!
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” – Gandhi. There’s no doubt that our dogs essentially know what we are feeling and how to react. Lately I’ve noticed, though, that even with all...
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Philly-Bound for the National Dog Show
Lights, camera, action! In my last DFR I talked about how many of us are starting to count down to the end of the year, but what are these last few months without some big, exciting and even legendary shows? Despite all of...
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The Countdown Begins!
It’s official. Only five more weekends of shows remain for the year! Can you believe it? It’s definitely safe to say that November snuck up on us! This is the month when dog fanciers start to think not only about the year’s...
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Big Shows Versus Little Shows
Have you ever played that game “Would You Rather”? If not, it’s rather simple, and when I think about big dog shows and little ones, a lot of “Would You Rather” questions pop into my head. First off, would you rather go...
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If Only Dogs Ran the Canine Country…
Today is the day to voice your opinion and vote for what you believe in, of course, but this whole election thing got me thinking that I personally would much rather be voting for dogs. So I decided to suggest some potential...
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A Grand Way to Support the Future of Our Sport
Show after show I hear people talking about how the junior handlers are the future of our sport. Some clubs go the extra mile to show just that and even take it one step further. The Harvest Moon Junior Classic, in conjunction...
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Del Valle Mania
Photos by Kayla Bertagnolli For most who attended the Del Valle shows in Pleasanton, Calif., weekend before last, the reviews have been mixed. The chat around the show was that while it’s great and all of the big dogs come out, which...
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Picture Perfect
Photography is all about capturing a single moment in time. It’s also about luck. Everyone has a different “eye,” so each photographer’s images are unique. And when it comes to capturing that perfect moment, there are a lot of things that can go...
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A Weekend to Remember
Lately I feel like I have been going non-stop, traveling from show to show, shooting photos and showing dogs as well. So when I decided to make the journey to the East Coast for the Montgomery County weekend, I was hesitant. I...
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Comedy Night at the Harvest Moon Classic
It’s not often an event comes along on a dog show weekend that has everyone saying, “That is a must-attend event.” Well, look no further because this one’s not only something fun to do and timely, but it supports one of the...
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Introducing the 2012 AKC Agility World Team
The time has come for one of agility’s biggest events of the year! That’s right, starting today the 2012 FCI Agility World Championship will commence in the Czech Republic, where 38 countries are expected to compete for the big prize. The opening...
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An Afternoon with the Professionals
For the second year running, the American Kennel Club Registered Handlers Program, in conjunction with the Durham Kennel Club in Raleigh, N.C., and Purina, held a special event and learning opportunity just for junior handlers and anyone interested in becoming a junior...
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Back in the Ring and It Feels so Good
As many of you may know, I was at local shows this past weekend in Farmington, Utah, with a four-day cluster of specialty and all-breed shows I wrote about last week. The shows were beautiful, well-organized, and the club members were as...
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My Hometown Shows in Farmington, Utah
We Utahans only get three shots a year to attend local all-breed shows. This makes it easier to narrow it down to a favorite, and for me the four-day cluster in Farmington, Utah, which includes two specialty days and two all-breeds, is...
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We Remember
We all remember where we were 11 years ago today when we heard the news of the disastrous events unfolding in New York and Washington, DC. Time stood still as we turned on our television sets to watch terrorism’s arrival on American...
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Tornado Warnings at the 2012 Golden Retriever National Specialty
Photos by Kayla Bertagnolli Where I live, tornado warnings are not a frequent happening. So when I heard the tornado warning siren at the Golden Retriever National Specialty last week, I wasn’t even positive what it was. Personally, and for everyone else...
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A Girl Without Her Camera
For the first time since I started shooting pictures professionally, I have encountered a technical difficulty. Let me just say, it was not fun! Of course it couldn’t have happened at a more inconvenient time, and, in that moment, I have never...
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My Santa Barbara Weekend
Photographs by Kayla Bertagnolli In one of my previous blogs, I wrote about the exciting events scheduled for the four-day Santa Barbara weekend. As I write this DFR, it’s all over but the flying home. So was it all it was talked up...
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Dreaming Big
Dream: “A series of thoughts, images and sensations occurring in a person’s mind during sleep.” This time of year, the dog show world is packed with pressure-filled moments as we near the countdown to some big events. Although some of our favorite...
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The Law of Attraction
The law of attraction says that you attract into your life whatever you think about. Whether the result is positive or negative, your dominant thoughts always find a way to manifest. Now, just to clarify, I’m not talking about being attracted to...
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Off to Santa Barbara for the Weekend
“Historically, Santa Barbara must be credited, not only with one of the most magnificent settings available for the dog fancy, but certainly as one of the oldest and most prestigious of shows. Santa Barbara Kennel Club is the place to be with...
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Inside a Junior Seminar
As promised, today I’m writing about the Junior Showmanship seminar I attended in Waukesha, Wis., held in conjunction with the Waukesha Kennel Club shows in late July. In my previous blog, I referred to this seminar as a little bonus requirement in...
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Making Fun Matches FUN Again!
This past Sunday, my mom and I set out for Tautphaus Park in Idaho Falls, Idaho, to attend an AKC B match, held by the Eagle Rock Kennel Club. I’d been asked to judge puppy and adult conformation, as well as Junior...
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Comical Canine Olympians
Every four years the Summer Olympic Games leave us with new history-making moments, this year maybe more so than ever. Not only did Team USA bring home a lot of gold and break a lot of records, we laid claim – once...
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Ring Layouts: Risky or Rewarding?
As far as ring layouts go, I have been able to see them in all forms and from many perspectives: from showing to assisting to photographing and even fun-match judging. No matter how it pertains to you, it is always important. It’s...
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First Impressions
You know what they say about first impressions. Well, what is it exactly that they say? Oh yeah, first impressions are lasting. It takes just a quick glance, maybe two or three seconds, for someone to evaluate you when you meet for...
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A Little Energy Boost
Do you have enough energy? Or do the days seem forever long and you’d much rather be catching some “zzzzs” right now? Energy is a powerful thing, right? It’s the difference between having the strength to get through each day mentally and...
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Letting Go
As you probably know, I’ve written several blogs lately about my little baby Beagle munchkins and the cute things they do. Well, now that they’re getting older, you may be wondering, “What happens when the time comes to let some of them...
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Keepin' It Cool
You know it’s officially summertime when record temperatures hit. Summer usually means the livin’ is easy. School is out, everyone is doing one thing or another outside and, yes, of course, dog shows are more apparent than ever. But a heat wave...
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My First ARBA Show
I recently attended my first American Rare Breed Association show. It was relatively close to my hometown, held in Spanish Fork, Utah, of all places. So how could I pass it up, right? It sounded like a “must go” for anyone interested...
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Life in Black and White
For today’s DFR, I’m going to veer off-subject a bit into something that is one of my main passions – not only in life, but in the dog show world as well. If you haven’t guessed already by the title, I am...
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Home-Raised Puppies Are Happy and Healthy
The USDA wants to take away our rights to raise puppies in a home environment, the way I grew up. Puppies were always part of the family, causing a ruckus and chewing something. In our house, corners of baseboards bear witness to...
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My Four-Legged Homecoming
I guess you could say I’m kind of used to the “all over the place” type of lifestyle, in the sense that I travel a lot. When I come home, though, it’s always the same. You know the saying, “Home is where...
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Birthday Mania
Being a June baby, the chance of my birthday falling on a dog show weekend is more likely than most. In fact, probably half or more of my birthdays have been celebrated at a show, on the way to a show or...
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A First Time for Everything
As you probably already know, one of the biggest Terrier shows of the year – the Great Western Terrier Association of Southern California – was held recently in Long Beach, Calif. But what you didn’t know is that this was my first...
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Celebrating Independence Day Traditions
If you’re a regular DFR reader, by now you probably know that I have this addiction to holidays. Is that even possible? Well, maybe it’s not an addiction, but every year when each holiday comes around, I like to remind myself of...
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Expect the Unexpected
I’ve said it before and here I go saying it again: “Expect the unexpected.” The other weekend I attended shows in Chula Vista, Calif., otherwise known as the Bahia Sur Kennel Club. Now I knew these would be smaller shows – I...
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They Grow Up So Fast
Puppies are cute, rambunctious and sweet, aren’t they? You can pick them right up and cuddle them, and they won’t think anything of it. What more could you ask for? Isn’t it funny to think about how fast little pups grow up?...
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A Plethora of Goodies
Every now and again this sudden burst of goodness pops up out of the blue. You know how whenever you’re looking for something, you can never find it, but when you’re not particularly searching for something, a plethora of goodies pop up...
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Heavy-Hearted
We all love dogs, right? We love our own dogs, and we fall in love with dogs we see at shows. For handlers and their assistants, we love the dogs we work with. Within the dog show community, everyone is connected by...
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I Remember When…
It becomes more apparent every time I attend a dog show that, yes indeed, I am getting older. I realize this not because of who I know or what I do, but because at every show I’ve been to recently, at least...
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My Favorite Things – the Adrenaline Rush
There’s nothing quite like having one of those “big” moments at a dog show to get the blood pumping. These adrenaline-filled experiences give us that feeling of overwhelming excitement and joy. And they’re not all that easy to come by, are they?...
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A Goose Bumps Moment
Occasionally we all get that excited feeling of butterflies in our stomachs when we see a really great dog. For me, the sight of a dog very rarely moves me emotionally. So when I felt the hairs on my arms stand on...
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Traveling and Packing
Isn’t traveling the best? Well, it can be, minus all the in-between stuff – like planning, packing and getting yourself to the airport. When it comes to flying, or even driving long distances, I tend to procrastinate, putting things off until the...
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Stepping Outside the Box
Stepping outside the box and out of our comfort zone is never easy. It forces us to view our surroundings in a different way and pushes our perspective to the limit. All too often, we become stuck in a particular way of...
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A Personal Look into the Agility World with Tori and Rev
I am more than thrilled to introduce DFR readers to a talented, unique, inspiring and very accomplished young woman. Her name is Tori Self, and her loyal teammate – who is always by her side – is her adorable Border Collie, Revolution...
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Springtime Inspiration
I don’t know what it is about this time of year that just screams “inspiration.” Spring is all about growth and expansion. It’s time to clear unwanted clutter, not only in our open spaces, but from our bodies and minds as well....
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Isn't It Ironic?
“An open mind leaves a chance for someone to drop a worthwhile thought in it.” Mark Twain This past weekend at the dog show really showed me something. It reminded me of those words parents always say: “I told you so!” I...
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A Secret Escape
This past week I was able to attend my local four-day dog show in South Jordan, Utah. With an entry of 1,101 at Intermountain Kennel Club’s Sunday event, the shows of the Beehive Cluster are Utah’s biggest. That might not sound huge,...
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Choosing the Perfect Juniors Dog
Choosing just the right dog for a junior handler today can be a challenge. For some, the choice is easy, but for others it can be a struggle to find the “perfect” dog. Sometimes it’s difficult to find the dog that will...
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Mastering a ‘Difficult’ Breed
The importance of showing a breed correctly – and to its standard – has been on my mind lately. I’ve been thinking about how correct presentation is important not only in the conformation ring, but also in the Junior Showmanship ring as...
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Puppy Lovin' My Beagles
Let me just start off by asking, “Who doesn’t love puppies?” Puppies are so cute. Sometimes I wish they could just stay little fluffy balls of energy forever. Whenever I see a puppy, it automatically puts a smile on my face and...
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Home Alone with the Pack
For the majority of us in the dog show community, vacations are virtually impossible to schedule. Impossible, that is, unless we have staff or friends who can lend a hand with our doggies while we’re away. This past week my family went...
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Transitioning Through the Seasons
It’s that time of year again to do some spring cleaning and adjust our daily routines now that the days are getting longer, the sun is brighter, and the weather is heating up. I think it’s safe to say that the snow...
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Scary Moments in the Ring
Nerves are a bizarre thing. It seems that we never realize we’re nervous until just moments before certain situations are about to happen. Right before a performance or, yes, just before we enter the ring for an important show, the nerves can...
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Celebrating Birthdays on the Road
Celebrating birthdays on the road definitely has its ups and downs. When it’s your turn to blow out the candles and you’re far away from home, you can bet that your dog show family will be there with you. Just remember that...
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What Junior Handlers Expect in the Ring
Two prominent Junior Showmanship judges recently shared their perspectives on what they expect from junior handlers in the ring. Today we take a look at the expectations of the young handlers, courtesy of a trio that actively participates in the American Kennel...
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Our Very Own Language
Doggie people like us have our own way of talking, a kind of language of our own. Well, at least that’s how it sounds to people who have no idea what we’re talking about! Out and about in the “real world,” people...
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Ring Parents
As a former junior handler, I know all too well what it’s like to have your mom standing right outside the ring watching your every move and trying to give you pointers. The key word here is “trying.” How in the world...
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Baiting or Begging?
The adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” is exactly what comes to mind when I look at these two photos. What they convey to me is the difference between baiting and begging. Neither is right nor wrong, depending on the...
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One Step Closer to My Goal
Four years ago, when I aged out of Junior Showmanship, I was determined to become a Juniors judge so I could always stay connected to this aspect of the sport. Unfortunately, life got in the way of my plans about as quickly...
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The Show Must Go On
Dog shows and bad weather are just not a good mix! Bad weather is an obvious reminder that we are not in control of Mother Nature and her plans! To me, it’s unrealistic to pay entry fees and expect that a show...
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Hair Do’s
So, today I thought I would present you with one of the dog show world’s lighter topics. That’s right, we’re going to talk about hair. Your hair! Our dogs are not the only one’s in the ring with hair, you know. In...
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Emma Echols on Showing at Crufts
“Good morning ladies and gentlemen, mums and dads, brothers and sisters, friends and supporters,” said Peter Purves, the commentator of the International Junior Handling Finals of Crufts 2012. He went on to announce the Juniors into the ring one at a time....
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It’s Time for Spring Training
Yes, it’s finally here! The first official day of spring is – or is supposed to be – tomorrow, so if you’re not seeing sunny days now, they’re sure to come in the near future!!! For the past few months, we’ve seen...
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Lucky Charms in the Ring
Happy (early) St. Paddy’s day to all of you DFR readers! When the majority of people picture St. Patrick’s Day, they see shamrocks, lots of green trinkets, leprechauns and corned beef! I know I do! But I’ll bet most of you don’t...
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The Step Ladder System
The beauty for dog fanciers is that there are many roles we can choose from to be involved in this business: breeder, owner, handler, junior, AKC rep, judge, vendor… and the list goes on! Moving from one to another takes time and...
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A Day in the Life of an Assistant
Being an assistant to a professional handler means more than just going to the shows and “hanging out.” It’s a full-time, adrenaline-charged job that can consume a person mentally, physically and emotionally. But what does the word “assistant” actually mean? Well, according...
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Crazy for Crufts, Plus a Mini Interview with Emma Echols
One of the biggest shows of the year takes place this week. That’s right, we’re talking about Crufts! Now, this show is not necessarily a hop, skip and a jump from my home in Utah. In fact, it’s held across the pond...
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What It Takes To Become an Assistant
By Kayla Bertagnolli When I was young, I never pictured myself being so involved in the sport of dogs. Look at me now! In 21 short years, I‘ve been to hundreds – if not more – of dog shows, assisted two professional...
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Introducing the Great Ones
We dog show fanciers live in what essentially seems to be a “BIG world.” To everyone else, however, the idea of dog shows must seem very foreign. Some people who visit a dog show might get the wrong impression or be skeptical...
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An Interview with WKC 2012 Best Junior Handler Ania Kelly
If you haven’t heard, the winner of Best Junior Handler at the 2012 Westminster Kennel Club dog show is Ania Kelly. The 16-year-old (yes, so young and inspiring) from Maryland and her English Cocker, ‘Wizard’ or ‘Wiz,’ not only took the great...
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A House Without a Dog
A house is not a home without a dog. Well now, isn’t that just the truth? Sometimes we take our dogs for granted, complaining or fussing about the naughty things they may do in our homes. In the end, though, it’s hard...
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The Best and Worst Trophies
By Kayla Bertagnolli So, we’ve all been there. Every time we show there is that possibility that we will win. When we do, we get rewarded with not only a good feeling, but also points and maybe some sort of trophy. Sometimes...
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Prelude to Valentine's Day
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner – I mean, literally, it’s tomorrow – and love is in the air. At this point, everyone’s thoughts have turned to love, not only for that special someone, family and friends, but for our doggies...
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An Interview with Casandra Clark
By Kayla Bertagnolli To all my DFR readers, I am more than ecstatic to introduce you to Casandra Clark. I cannot put into words how incredible this woman is and what an amazing dog show career she’s had. So I’m going to...
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The Road to the Garden
By Kayla Bertagnolli A whole year’s worth of determination and effort, and now it’s finally here! The time has come. The Garden is just one week away! For all you junior handlers out there, the anticipation is building and all of your...
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I Want Funnel Cake!
“Guilty as charged….” Aren’t we all? As dog fanciers, we seem to be on the road constantly, moving in and out of our so-called “normal lives.” Unfortunately, as we travel around we seem to get into this habit of snacking and munching...
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Social Butterfly
In a perfect world, we could protect our dogs from all things negative. But let’s face it, that’s not always how it goes. In the real world, we stress about helping our dogs to respond positively to different, and sometimes scary, situations....
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A Helping Hand
No matter how you’re involved in dog shows, I think we can all agree on one thing: “The more the merrier.” This is especially true for those traveling to shows every week with a big string of dogs. Of course the people...
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Your Dream Starts Today
Today marks the forty-ninth anniversary of one of the pivotal moments in American history. “I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation,” said...
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It’s a Brand New Year, Junior
With the New Year, a new cycle of competition begins. For all you juniors out there, a single thought is likely to be on your collective mind: Will 2012 be an epic dog show year for me? For any year to become...
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Kayla's Premier DFR Blog!
Hey everyone! Welcome to Best in Show Daily, the new fresh outlook with instant updates and features for all you dog show lovers out there! I’m Kayla, and I will be bringing you regular reports on what’s going on in the lives...
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