Brevardians Prepare for American Kennel Club Dog Show Week


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For Susan Thibodeaux, the road to this month’s Orlando Cluster of Dog Shows / American Kennel Club National Championships opens with the drive to Canaveral Groves in Maryland, undertaken with a cheerful little fox terrier named Flyer and a toy Manchester terrier puppy. named Bailey.

They’re heading to an event Thibodeaux signed up for a long time ago and going there, not because it has special meaning, but because Flyer and Bailey so enjoy participating in dog shows, where they can run. , jump, dive, hunt and show how obedient they are. are, if they want. But they can also show how healthy, healthy and happy they really are, and that means how they conform to the standards of their breed. Calm, content and silent in their cases, they are not disappointed to be heading to a show.

“Are you kidding?” said Thibodeaux, laughing. “They love to show off. They are caressed, they receive sweets; they attract attention and are applauded. What more could a dog want?

What someone who shows dogs in conformation events wants is what Thibodeaux has, i.e. over 40 years showing dogs with everything from cockers to vizslas, now foxes toys and Manchesters, winning multiple events with all.

It is no exaggeration to call Thibodeaux the best at what she does in her region, having won the Best of Breed award at this year’s Westminster Kennel Club Show with Gemma, Champion (CH) Kallmee Gems N Jewels ; and have the nation’s top-ranked toy fox terrier, Flyer. He is GCHS (that’s Grand Champion, Silver) BISS (Best in Specialty Show) CH Kalmee the Aerialist, this year’s Best of Breed in his National Specialty Show, meaning the best toy fox terrier in a show with only the best toy fox terriers in the country.

He is “Airborne” because his owner knows that historically, plush fox terriers have distinguished themselves as circus dogs, and Thibodeaux has trained his people to do circus-style tricks, which they adore. Take out a hoop and the Kallmee dogs eagerly bounce back. Manchester, Sunkissed I Need A Me – Bailey – 8 months, are an early player who will become champions in the days to come.

8 month old Manchester Terrier Bailey is a precocious player who will become a champion in the days to come.

The Orlando Shows will open December 14 at the Orange County Convention Center with the Space Coast Kennel Club Show; continue the next day with the Brevard Kennel Club Show and end the first part of the festival on December 16 with the Central Florida Kennel Club show. The competition group culminates on December 18-19 with the AKC’s biggest event, the AKC National Championships presented by Royal Canin.

The road to these shows is lined with people like Thibodeaux: Brevardiens.

The Space Coast Club, based in Palm Bay, has mainly Southern Brevardians; the Brevard Kennel Club, made up mainly of people from central and northern Brevard. The Central Florida Club, although based in Orlando, has its share of local residents, and the people here provide much of the pre-work and assistance with events at the Orange County Convention Center.

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Action is needed: around 9,000 dogs, including more than 5,000 in conformation alone, count towards participating in the various activities of the week. Before the COVID restrictions hit, more than 75,000 people attended each year.

It’s a huge business that happens thanks to people like Thibodeaux serving as the steward of the ring and providing information and support before and during this and other dog events. Alternatively, a University of Alabama graduate who serves as the Small Business Liaison Officer for Acuity International; a wife and mother of four adult children; and rider, she teaches, writes and informs. She has edited books on dogs, reviewed animal law, and represented the interests of ethical owners and breeders to lawmakers.

“If I can’t have a healthy dog, if I can’t raise a healthy dog, I shouldn’t be doing this. These are healthy dogs. And I try to be helpful, ”she said.

“Susan may be a volunteer, but she is an accomplished professional,” said BKC President Emeritus Edna Corney of Port St. John. “Her knowledge is extensive, she will help everyone and even though she is an owner-handler (the person who takes the dog around the ring and literally shows it) she is so professional about it that she will take other people’s dogs. for them, just to help.

Thibodeaux expresses the pleasure of having someone to converse with while she drives, jokes about wearing a mask during stewardship (“No one can see the expression on my face.”) And says to which point she will appreciate the show and her dogs.

“It goes through the ages,” she said. “Flyer is 2 years old, working on a (big championship, gold) and Bailey is a puppy. We’ll also have Sparkles, who is retired but returns for special veteran events because she loves to show. “

Add to that Zena (CH Kallmee Athena), his latest 15-year-old vizsla who could make an appearance in the veterans ring, and you can feel Thibodeaux’s excitement building. Members of the human family will also be present.

“It should be fun,” she said. “It must be fun. (Celebrating) healthy and happy dogs is always fun.

AKC National Championships

What: Orlando Dog Show Group and AKC National Championships presented by Royal Canin

When: December 14, Space Coast Kennel Club of Palm Bay; December 15, Brevard Kennel Club; December 16, Central Florida Kennel Club; December 18 and 19. AKC National Championships

Or: North-South Building, Orange County Convention Center, 9899 International Drive, Orlando.

Cost: Admission to the Orlando cluster shows is free. AKC events can be watched on demand at akc.org/sports/akc-national-championship.

As well: Many safety requirements, including mandatory face masks regardless of vaccination status, will be in place, as will disinfection stations.

Lyn Dowling is a Suntree-based freelance writer.

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