Low turnout, high spirits at dog show
By Bryanna Allen
STAFF WRITER | September 01,2014
Anthony Edwards / Staff Photo
Kelsey Adams walks her dog Jules around the judging arena during Sunday's Rutland County 4-H Dog Show at the Vermont State Fair.
Although paws and dress shoes were covered in a fine layer of dust after trotting around the arena, both dogs and their owners looked their best during the 4-H Dog Show on Sunday afternoon at the Vermont State Fair.
Participants were judged on various factors depending on the class; some were based solely on grooming and appearance, others focused on the vocal obedience capability of the dog. Another was judged on how well the owner and dog worked together to form a team.
With only three owners and three dogs in the show on the rainy afternoon, the level of judging was intimate as officials walked among the contestants, muttering compliments and chatting casually.
Kelsey Adams, 9, is fairly new to the world of dog showing but looked professional in a red dress and sparkly shoes, a treat bag attached to her belt in order to reward Jules, the smooth fox terrier she borrowed for the shows.
Kelsey and Jules took a third-place ribbon in the junior championship class, a prize she immediately handed to her dad after exiting the ring.
Kelsey said she needed to prepare for the next class.
“Third place is all right,” Kelsey said, placing a different collar on Jules and adjusting the smooth fox terrier pin on her dress.
“It was our first class together and the white ribbon matches her coat.”
Kelsey has two German Shorthaired Pointers at home, but uses Jules because she is just the right size.
“Our dogs are too strong and big for her, she just gets pulled around,” Dan Adams said about his daughter and her competing partner. Adams said Kelsey is an only child but 4-H events such as these help her to socialize and interact with other kids. The group of three competitors practiced together all summer, a regular task that Kelsey thought was “fun, but exhausting.”
Nika Thorton, 12, and her dog Tucker, an All American, took second place in the event.
Coming in first was Courtney Marsh, 18, and her dog, Charlotte. Courtney has been involved with 4-H since she was 4 years old. Now, as a college student studying to be a veterinarian, Sunday marked the last 4-H event she would ever participate in.
“It feels strange to be leaving the club,” Courtney said, standing with her 3.8-pound Yorkshire Terrier, Charlotte. Charlotte wore a red ribbon on top of her head to keep her fur neat and out of her eyes, which is something that both male and female yorkies are required to do during shows, Courtney said.
After leaving 4-H, Courtney hopes to continue working with dogs and people in the world of showing, both in local clubs and through AKC events. Courtney’s favorite events are the agility classes, ones that require the dog to navigate an obstacle course by the verbal direction of the handler.
“It’s very easy to say that I’m a dog lover,” Courtney said, Charlotte sitting patiently at her feet. “It will feel weird not to be the one holding the leash, but at least I will be involved.”
Lynn Marsh, Courtney’s mom and the assistant leader of the “Crafty Critters Dog Club,” watched her daughter and Charlotte loop around the arena, Charlotte’s small legs pumping to keep up.
‘‘It’s good for these kids to do these shows, even if they are small,” Marsh said. “It’s good practice and experience. Our club always does really well.”