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NewsDepth A+: Best in Show

I’m always impressed by how great NewsHound is at his job. I mean, have you ever heard of a dog that can type? It got me thinking, how did he learn how to do this? Well, I asked and found out he was trained by a tenth grader at Kirtland High School, in Kirtland, named Mary! We caught up with Mary and the stories she told us earned her this week’s A+ Award!

You see, Mary didn’t only train NewsHound, but she’s also a top ranked dog handler and competes in dog shows all over the nation. Currently, she is the top ranked junior handler of salukis in the nation and the 9th ranked junior handler of hounds. Salukis are sight hounds who are fast runners. Sight hounds are dogs that hunt using their eyesight rather than scent.

Mary told us that she’s been showing dogs since she was 2 years old. We didn’t believe her until her mom showed us pictures! She competes in about 100 dog shows a year and usually has a show every weekend.

We learned a lot from Mary. She explained to us that there are a couple of different classifications in dog shows. She generally competes in what's called junior showmanship at all-breed, group, and specialty shows. In junior showmanship, the judges rate how the dog and handler interact. The key to be successful is to have a good relationship with your dog. In group shows, she competes against all dogs that are considered hounds, like whippets, fox hounds, and her favorite, salukis. Specialty shows require all dogs to be the same breed. She explained to us that in groups shows and specialty shows, the dogs aren’t exactly competing against each other. They’re graded against what’s called a standard for what that type of dog should look like. A standard is a predetermined level of quality.

Mary told us that salukis are her favorite dog. She likes them because they are pretty, they are easy to connect with, and she thinks they’re very graceful when they run. Competing in dog shows has taught her the importance of responsibility, patience, and how to win and lose with grace. She especially loves to compete in specialty shows because she loves the challenge of competing against professionals.

If you were wondering, Mary has 8 dogs at home, and she’s qualified to compete in the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show next year! Congratulations Mary, on qualifying for the biggest event in dog sports, and winning this week’s A+ Award!

Michael Edelman is the director of education for Ideastream Public Media.