On Tuesday, my beautiful and talented daughter wrapped up her illustrious career in Junior Showmanship at the Westminster Kennel Club. She's been showing dogs forever (more than half of her life), and she's done very well in competition (taking 3rd place at Westminster last year). She's at the 12:45 mark of this video:
She goes out the same way she statrted all those years ago; showing a curly-coated retriever (Thriller). They looked beautiful together, and I thought they got a nice long look from the judge—but they didn't get through to the finals (only two kids from each group do). Amazingly, this was the exception for Grace—her previous two times showing in juniors at Westminster she did make it into the finals (that's tough competition and long odds).
I'm so very proud of her. Over the dozen + years, she's learned so much for these shows: how to win and lose gracefully, how to handle and build rapport with dogs, how to interact with adults, and how to do something she loves with passion, dedication, and grace. She's made so many friends (both kids and adults)—she's mentored several younger juniors, as well as having been mentored by some really great handlers. She'll still be active in the show ring (she's fantastic), but this is the end of her junior showmanship career.
A win would have been great, but Dad couldn't be more proud of her. Congratulations, Grace!