Our Juniors

Hello everyone, I am Annette (Stringer) Rawlings, my daughter is Hannah Rawlings, and we are from Sealore Collies and Shelties. Hannah is now the third generation of Sealore, and making us very proud. We have been asked to talk to you about our experiences in Junior Handling. I am going to talk about Hannah first; she is 11 1/2 years old and has been showing in breed for about 4 years. People see her at the shows and like to give their puppies to her, we call this being "Hannahrized", she is good with the puppies because she doesn't get nervous and she makes sure they have fun. AKC changed the age requirement for Juniors from 10 to 9 just in time for her February 1st birthday in 2005. Her first weekend of Specialty shows was a 3-day cluster on February 11, 12, and 13th. The CCNE show did not offer Juniors, but CCCT and HSCC did. She could hardly wait to show on Saturday. The judge was Mary Benjamin and she won her first Novice Jr class. On Sunday under Doris Werderman she did it again. Next for Hannah were the Maine Specialties on March 5th and 6th. On Saturday Hannah won her 3rd Novice class under Brenda Marimon, she then went on to win Best Jr Handler over the Open class winner, (she was only 9).

Hannah now had everyone excited. I even noticed people leaving their grooming to come and watch the Juniors. On Sunday Hannah qualified to move up to Open, so we did it. I told her it was going to be much tougher to beat the big kids, there was not an age division at this show so she was up against the teenagers. I encouraged her to do her best, but not to worry if she didn't win the class. So off she went with an "Okay Mommy". I remember standing ringside with Paul Capabianco, he smiled and said what are you so nervous for? She'll do fine! The Judge was Carmen Leonard, and I knew she would make them work, and she did. Through the whole thing Hannah just smiled, watched the judge and did her best. Carmen liked her confidence and professionalism enough to give her the open win and Best Jr Handler. (And yes I did cry).

On we went to the New Hampshire Specialties on March 19th and 20th. She won the open class again and Best Jr Handler under judge Herb Searle. On Sunday under Debra Tessman she placed 3rd in the open class. Hannah has done very well in Jr's since those first 5 weeks of 2005. I flew Hannah down to Charlotte N.C. in March of 2007 to show at her first CCA National.  She had just turned 11 the month before, and had never flown before. Hannah arrived on Thursday night and was ready to go. This little Jr. was calm, cool and collected. When it was time for the class she went to the ready ring with her big smile, and her best friend. I grabbed my handy cam and off I went. I recorded as I watched Hannah do a wonderful, articulate and confident exhibition of her dog. My insides were ready to jump out when the Judge, Nioma Coen, pulled her out first. I must say I was as proud as a mom could be. Hannah has also handled her own dog to a Group 3 from the classes. (And yes she has beaten me in the ring a few times). Hannah would also like to congratulate her Jr handling friends, Justin (cousin), Michelle, Breanne, Kira, Taylor, and Johnny, on their accomplishments.

As far as my experience in Juniors, they are not as spectacular as my daughters’. I did some Junior classes as a pre-teen. This was back in the 70's. Karen Jordan was always at the shows in Juniors and so was Danny Cardoza's sister, Laurie. The two them were always battling it out. I was a few years younger than them. Danny wasn't really into the dog shows back then. Actually he and Rusty Smith would pick on us girls and spit spitballs from the balcony at the Acconeous shows.

My biggest lesson learned back then was at a match at Lee and Dianne Smith's house. My sister Leanne and I were both in the Juniors class, and on this day she beat me. The judge was Rosemary Roberts, I remember her telling me that the reason I lost was because I had bent over to fix my dogs legs and at the same time she was trying to look at the dog. Rosemary said all she could see was my butt. It has been 30 years and I can still picture it like it was yesterday.

We at Sealore did not show for a number years but we always had the dogs. I had been out of the loop, and this is when Danny had gotten into the dogs, working with Steve Barger. He was asked to show Ch. Starr's Blue Jeans at the 1982 National in Springfield MA, this was my first National. (And we all know what happened there) After he and Breezy won the National he needed someone to work for him to help with his clients. We only lived 25 miles from each other. We went to dog school together and showed on the circuits together for a couple years. I learned a lot about refining my handling, grooming, and my confidence.

I have been very fortunate to grow up with and learn from some really great handlers, and Breeder, owner handlers. Of course Danny, he taught me to listen and learn, Steve Barger and Paul Capabianco taught me to stay calm and be prepared, Tom and Nioma Coen have given me great grooming tips, (thanks for '92 Tom), Barbara Swartz has taught me to always know how healthy your dog is now and in the future. John Buddy has taught me that no matter what; the dog you are showing is the best in the ring so show it to the judge. My parents Judy and Granny Stringer have taught me to respect people, their dogs, and their views. According to Mom, sometimes you need to just stop what you're doing and have puppy time!

For us at Sealore this is most definitely a family hobby. We all do it together and enjoy it. My Parents have been nothing but supportive of Leanne, Hannah, and myself. I can speak for all of us by saying we could not have been successful without their love and support.

Hannah at CCA 2011 Top Twenty Juniors
Hannah winning 2nd place Open Junior at the
CCA 2011 National


Hannah & Pixy winning Group 2 - 9/07

Steven, Justin and Hannah waiting
on their turn to go in the ring.

Justin in the ring.

Hannah handling to a Group Placement.
Providence County Kennel Club

Hannah receiving 1st place in Open Jr at
'07 CCA under Niaoma Coen.

Hannah receiving Best Jr. Handler at
CC of Maine under Carmen Leonard.

Juniors getting instruction from
Top Junior Handler, Michelle Esch.

Hannah winning 1st place at the
CCA 2009 National