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Dog days

Weekend events offer quality time with owner's best friend

Posted: Sunday, July 15, 2007

 

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  Tammy Dohmen's bichon frise' dog named Bo tries to get Dohmen's attention as the two waited for a conformation showing Saturday at the American Kennel Club conformation, agility, obedience and rally shows and trials at Skyview High School. The event continues today. Photos by M. Scott Moon

Tammy Dohmen's bichon frise' dog named Bo tries to get Dohmen's attention as the two waited for a conformation showing Saturday at the American Kennel Club conformation, agility, obedience and rally shows and trials at Skyview High School. The event continues today.

Photos by M. Scott Moon

When Deborah Luper came across her first Shetland sheepdog, she spent half a month's salary for it. It was 1979, she was 18 years old and making $800 a month.

"Somehow I managed not to eat," she said. "But I think you were more vain about your figure in those days."

Luper, founder of Wyndsong Shelties in Wasilla, owns and breeds 10 Shetland sheepdogs —— or shelties. She got into showing them in 2000 and dreams of the day when one of her dogs wins the coveted best in show prize.

"Two girls that I bred came in second," she said.

She stood under a tarp at the Kenai Kennel Club's dog show, grooming a male called Storm while chatting with several more shelties ranging from scruffy puppies to older dogs with long silky locks.

"Shelties are very addictive," Luper said. "It's just like having little people around."

 

Above, Dennelle Seetomona's English bulldog Iris keeps an eye on the competition. At right, Nancy Condon's dog Indy winds through the weave poles during the agility competition Saturday.

Photo by M. Scott Moon

Skyview High School went to the dogs this weekend as canines ranging from Great Danes to dachshunds competed in obedience, agility and confirmation at Kenai Kennel Club dog show. Exhibitors raced with otter hounds around the confirmation ring as boarder collies leaped over hurtles in the agility pen. A Belgian tervuren lay in the obedience ring patiently awaiting her owner after a three-minute out-of-sight down trial, where a dog has to lay down in the obedience ring while its owner walks off and out of its sight.

"I didn't intend to get a purebred dog, but she picked me," said Kathy Howse of Anchorage. Howse's Belgian tervuren, Topaz, nuzzled Howse's leg after attaining graduated novice status in her nonregular obedience class. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), a dog is considered a novice before it's won three first prizes in its class, or more than one point for its breed. "She didn't pass on the jumps," Howse explained.

Fairbanks resident Pam Watson clothes her Italian greyhounds in booties, coats and hats, but not so her dog Chance can follow the latest trends in canine wear. At his full weight of 10 pounds, Chance's short hair and slight stature makes him vulnerable to the Interior's harsh winters.

 

Tammy Dohmen's bichon frise dog named Bo tries to get Dohmen's attention as the two waited for a conformation showing Saturday at the American Kennel Club conformation, agility, obedience and rally shows and trials at Skyview High School. The event continues today.

Photo by M. Scott Moon

"I bought 16 booties and four coats," Watson said, adding that she owns four grayhounds: Chance, his mother and three siblings. "I bought them from a local gal who made them especially for Italian greyhounds."

Despite the breed's namesake, Watson said her dogs don't chase after mechanical rabbits like their bigger cousins.

"It's not a good thing to do to these guys," she said, holding Chance close. "He's scary fast, though."

Before the agility competition, handlers ran through the course, encouraging invisible dogs as they went along.

"Handlers have different techniques," said Heidi Vania, who won an agility champion title Saturday. "They're allowed to walk the course to memorize (it) and determine their strategy."

Karen Wolski's dog Ransom bounded over hurtles and intwined himself around the poles, finishing the course in a perfect 28 seconds.

"I've been training for 20 years," Wolski said. "(Ransom) is my third boarder baby."

Al Basler of Sterling looked on as Ransom ran through the course. He said boarder collies and shelties traditionally do better in the agility courses than most dogs given their nature to herd.

"This is what they were born, bred and trained to do," he said. "It's weird to watching a Great Dane go through the loopholes."

Every now and then a spontaneous growl or bark would escape a dog's lips as he leaped over hurtles.

"That means they're having fun," Vania said.

Jessica Cejnar can be reached at jessica.cejnar@peninsulaclarion.com.



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