Fair: Let’s pause for pooches

(Posted July 17, 2020)

By Dedra Cordle

Today, the Madison County Junior Fair went to the dogs. A handful of budding dog handlers competed in rally, obedience and showmanship events. Judge Jenny Sweet said this year was like no other as veteran dog handlers were unable to assist the novice learners due to COVID-19 restrictions. Regardless, Sweet said, the junior handlers “performed beyond expectation.”

Gabi Wolverton, a 15-year-old London resident and member of the Prairie Raiders 4-H Club, shows off the award and poster she received after being named the 2020 Dog Showman of Showmen. Alongside her is Rosalie, her faithful companion. Wolverton and her Australian shepherd have been competing in canine related events for two years. In addition to the grand prize, Wolverton took first place in the rally novice A and obedience portions of the show.
While more familiar with showing rabbits, Jacqueline Lauer of London decided to try her hand at handling canines this year. Her mother said the 18-year-old spent the past six months working with her Chinese Shari-Pei pup, “Pim,” on obedience skills. It appears to have worked well as Lauer and “Pim” deftly handled the ring; the duo took second place in showmanship.
William Koenig and his pug, “Brutus,” compete in the rally novice A event. The resident of South Solon has been dog handling for a year and admits his pug has “much to work on.” Turns out, “Brutus” is not fond of listening to commands.
“Reggie,” a 9-month-old golden retriever, is exhausted after a day of not doing much. His human leg pillows–Sharon Heisler (right) and Ellie Heisler–said he constantly forgets that he is not a small lap dog. Ellie, 17, and “Reggie” competed in the “You and Your Dog” event and placed first. Ellie is a resident of Plain City and member of the Beginners to Winners 4-H Club.
“Ally,” a border collie, gazes adoringly at her handler, Laura Furbee, as she awaits her command. Furbee, 11, took second place following a run-off with Gabi Wolverton, 15. A London resident and member of the Eager Achievers 4-H Club, Furbee said she was happy with the results.
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