My mom and I had been taking handling classes with Tonya Struble of Rush Hill Golden Retrievers for a couple months and after talking with her, she set out to find me the perfect Junior showmanship dog. Over the next couple weeks at class, she brought three different dogs for me to try: Lincoln, Zorro and Dawson. After a couple of classes working with the three dogs, Tonya felt that Dawson and I were a good match. He came home with us that weekend and has been here ever since. Dawson is Rush Hill’s That’s The Scoop, RN, who at the time was an 18 month old Love Bug. He was born on August 19, 2005. He is our token Golden, and I love him more than words can express.
That pairing became the start of a very successful first year in Juniors and a whole new world of adventures and experiences opened up. (Grooming a Golden….WOW, that’s an article in itself but I’ll leave it to the experts to give you the “How To”!) Our great partnership and love continues to this day.
After working hard all spring going to handling class with Tonya, we decided it was time to enter our first show. I was so excited because the year that I got Dawson was the year that AKC lowered the age limit in Juniors from 10 to 9 years old, meaning that we could show that year!! We entered Bell Vernon Kennel Club in July and we ended up 2nd in our class. I was thrilled and so proud of my beautiful boy. We got 2nd in our class at the Golden Retriever Nationals in September that year. Boy, was that a sight! Goldens as far as the eye could see!!!! October of that year we got our third novice win which made us eligible to move to Open Junior.
In our second year of competition, our partnership continued to grow and I was thrilled to qualify for the Eukanuba National Championship held in Long Beach, California. In order for Juniors to be eligible to show at Eukanuba, a junior team must win their Open class 5 times with competition within the calendar year. I am incredibly fortunate with the help of my best boy, Dawson, to have qualified for Eukanuba three years in a row, most recently qualifying from the very competitive Open Intermediate class (12-15 years old). One of the biggest highlights of my Junior Showmanship career so far was receiving in the mail my Official invitation to attend Westminster 2010. Although we did not go, to be qualified in itself is thrilling. (by the way, that invitation takes 10 Open wins!)
Our partnership continues to grow as we venture out to different performance events (as Dawson is neutered, he is not eligible for conformation, but that’s ok!). He has completed his Rally Novice obedience title (a first for Both of us!), has one leg on his Beginner Novice Obedience title, and we are heading back into the agility ring. This year Dawson turned 6 and I don’t think he’s anywhere near ready to slow down so I’m pretty sure our fabulous adventures will continue!!
On top of all this fun with Dawson, I now have my first ever Bred By Exhibitor chocolate Labrador puppy, Jewel, who I’m very excited about and just started to show. My great friend, Kristi, has allowed me to co-own her Rush Hill bred Golden Retriever Takai, who I will be showing in conformation as well as Juniors. I’m happy to report he is pointed in Canada and he and I have our first class win together in AKC Juniors as well as two Best Junior Handler wins in Canada. I will continue to show the Labradors, the Goldens, and whoever else happens to need a handler. (Oh, did I also mention, I do 3-day eventing with horses, too, along with keeping a 3.5 GPA! Though I keep my mom very busy, I think she is proud of me.) Never a dull moment in our house.
Our motto is “A happy home is a house filled with Retrievers!!!”
Category : Juniors Corner