Hi, my name is Karissa Groves, I am a junior handler and an avid dog show enthusiast. I began dog showing at 9 years old, with a miniature wire-haired dachshund named Sherman, who I showed in both breed and juniors and was fortunate enough to secure many breed wins, as well as group and junior placements. My highlight with him was topping off our time together with an AOM in Orlando at Eukanuba.
For the past 4 years I have been showing my family bloodhounds, where I have also had an amazing time ranking my bloodhound, Sebastian, in the Top 20 for the past four years, pulling out many breed wins, group placements, as well as enough best juniors to qualify for Westminster and for the AKC National Championship. There have been many highlights with my bloodhounds, but probably my 1st Top 20 (when I was 12) , and then being a junior finalist this year in Orlando, were truly the most heartfelt.
Now I am in a similar place as I honor and thank my bloodhound for so many great memories and for the privilege of being his junior owner handler as he has allowed me to accomplish things I never dreamed I would. Sebastian and I will still occasionally show together, but for the most part he is retired so he can do regular therapy and public education work.
This all means I have officially entered into another fabulous hound breed – Rhodesian Ridgebacks! We all know that with the sport of dogs we meet many people and it is funny how small the dog show circle really is. A few years ago I met Sharon Whitherspoon and her Ridgeback, MacGee. We were at the Roswell, NM dog show and both of us were doing well getting group placements with our hounds. Then fast forward to last year when a friend of my grandmothers, Linda Cannon, made a suggestion for me to meet MacGee and consider him as my next junior dog. Now I am happy to announce I am the proud co-owner and handler of Mr. MacGee.
We had two shows together in 2016, where we began to learn about each other, and we were pretty lucky to take breed 3 out of 4 days, as well as a group placement and a junior placement. I would call that a rather nice pre-start!
For 2017 we have officially started as “Team MacGee”, and though I would love to show more frequently, I am sort of a once a month participant; limited because of high school, competitive gymnastics, and family and friends. With Team MacGee there is this village infrastructure of crazy (in a good way) dog show ladies! I have never quite felt this before. I did get encouragement from a small circle of people in dachshunds (the breed I started with). Then onto my Bloodhound breed where honestly the community was not always positive to try to participate in. So this Ridgeback community is a refreshing new thing, and I really feel so fortunate to be included in it!
Overall I am not only feeling blessed with this magnificent dog, who I now get to show off and have fun with, but I feel so much support and good juju! MacGee and I have had four shows so far in 2017 and as dog show goes, some days you win and other days your friends win. For these couple shows I am so very proud of my MacGee, we have knocked out breed wins, group placements, a best junior and a reserve best junior, plus an unbelievable Owner Handled Best In Show.
It’s probably not something I can easily express in words, as how can I properly explain all the joy I feel from this boy and for my co-owner Sharon Whitherspoon. Of course there is also the person who put the team together, Linda Cannon. Each of them has taken a big part of my heart and I am honored to be part of their dog show family while being so grateful for such a warm and wonderful welcome from the ridgeback community at large.
Thank you all so much!
Also, I would not be a part of this sport if it were not for the main person who is there for me – to overall guide me emotionally and support me financially, and that is my grandmother, Marlene Groves. Thank you Mamaw for all you do!