Looking to the Juniors: Taking a Chance on Love | Pure Dog Talk
When responsible breeders, professional handlers and Junior Handlers work together, beautiful things can happen. The following is a story submitted by Pure Dog Talk listener Rylee Carlon. It’s a story of desire and heartbreak, redemption and joy. I hope you find it as touching as I did. And I hope you’ll join me in making it a lifetime goal to place responsibly bred, quality purebred dogs in the hands of committed and devoted Juniors like Rylee. Juniors, if you’d like to share YOUR stories of breeders and mentors who helped you along the way, please feel free to email me at email@example.com – Pure Dog Talk Host, Laura Reeves
My name is Rylee Carlon. I am 16 years old and a Junior Handler. Growing up, dogs have always been a part of my life. I loved learning about all the different breeds, AKC groups and each breed’s purpose. At 12, I became interested in the exciting sport of agility and knew this was a path I wanted to explore.
I did extensive research on what breed would be my perfect dog and decided my heart was set on an Australian Shepherd. I worked very hard and saved up my money for my first Aussie puppy. My mom found a training center not too far away from us, where I was enrolled with my puppy in a S.T.A.R. Puppy class and passed the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test. The trainer of the class noticed my drive, dedication and love for training. She introduced me to our local dog 4-H club, where I learned about showmanship, obedience, agility, and rally. I qualified for our State Fair my first year, where I received Award of Merits, Grand Champions and Reserves.
After being successful in 4-H showmanship, I wanted to try my handling skills in the American Kennel Club (AKC) conformation ring. My only problem was my current Aussie did not meet the breed standard. So I worked equally as hard as before to save up money for my next Australian Shepherd. I was put in contact with a breeder in Idaho where I met Leo, a beautiful 10-month-old black tri Australian Shepherd. Leo and I received two Winners Dogs – a five-point major in Puyallup, Wash. and another in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Sadly, I lost Leo to Idiopathic Epilepsy before the age of two.
After that horrific and heartbreaking experience, I didn’t know if I wanted to ever show again, but fate always seems to find its way! I decided that showing dogs was my passion and I would regret it if I quit. Finding my next show dog proved to be a challenge.
After many months of searching and reaching out to just about every possible Aussie breeder between the West and East coast via email, explaining my story, my mom stumbled across a PureDogTalk post on Facebook discussing the need to get Juniors more involved in the sport of showing.
My mom left a comment saying, “I have a daughter willing and ready to show and she has the financial support of her parents, but finding a breeder who would place a nice show prospect with us is not an easy task.” Soon after, a lovely lady named Laura Reeves replied to her comment, saying if I wanted to change breeds she would have a puppy for me but if not, she would reach out to some Aussie people in the Pacific Northwest and try to make a connection to breeders.
After several back and forth communications, I was put in contact with a Professional Handler who thought she knew the perfect dog for me in Canada. We had a phone interview with the handler to discuss my short- and long-term goals, and then I was put in touch with the breeder. A few weeks later, my mom and I made the trip to Canada to meet Channing, another beautiful black tri Aussie who was 2 years old and his breeder, Kim Schmidt.
Channing and I have had a very successful show career which consists of me recently getting his AKC Champion on him, Best Juniors and Reserve Best Juniors in AKC and ASCA. As of today, Channing and I are still showing in the breed ring as a special and rocking it in Juniors. I have plans to attend my first ASCA National this year in Greeley, Colo. We will be meeting Channing’s breeder there for a reunion.
Editor’s Note: To listen to some of our podcasts by and for Juniors, click below:
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER — FRANCIS BACON
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