4-H Dog Show draws 15 competitors
Working with a dog to show is not a part-time job, as was evidenced by the 4-H youths who participated in the two-day Fayette County Fair Dog Show.
The first day consisted of grooming, showmanship and obedience. On Friday, it was rally obedience, agility, skill-a-thon and costumes.
The event, hosted by the Fayette County 4-H Dog Club, welcomed 15 4-H contestants who participated both days.
“These kids work with these dogs all year,” said Patti Kline, Fayette County 4-H Dog Club leader and event organizer. “These kids have to be dedicated once they join the club.”
The club teaches the youths about showing, grooming and obedience. The event is held to showcase what they have learned.
“When they join, they can no longer take their dogs to any groomer,” Kline said. “They learn to groom. They learn obedience. They learn showmanship. We have had several kids go to show in AKC (American Kennel Club) shows.”
The club meets in fall and winter, then begins to meet more frequently as the fair approaches.
The dogs can be big or little, full-blooded or mixed breeds, but all must have handlers dedicated to what they are doing and who enjoy the dedication and hard work.
“I really think this is fun,” said Morgan Holloway, 10, of Vanderbilt.
Holloway showed her 4-year-old dog, Sadie. This was the second year she competed in the event.
“Doing this has taught me to be a lot more responsible, because I have to work with her every day, but I like it,” Holloway said.
Sarah Kline, 18, of Connellsville learned so much from being in the club that she now shows dogs in AKC championship events — something she has done since she was 12 years old.
“When showing, you meet the most amazing people who are working with the most amazing dogs,” Sarah Kline said.
She added that her involvement with the dog club has shown her what she would like to do with her future, which is to become a veterinarian.
The dog show had three age groups, with trophies going to the top scorers from the combined, two-day totals, and ribbons going to second through fifth place.
“Doing this has taught me patience and also teaches you that you are responsible for another life,” said Chloe Showalter, 18, of Uniontown.
Showalter has shown at AKC shows and had her dog Pixie, a champion show dog, with her for the event.
“You have to learn to take care of your dog, and I really have enjoyed doing this all these years,” Showalter said.
Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer.