Keeper is more than just a pretty face. She’s a smart little girl. The 2 1/2-year-old papillon came from a breeder in Maine. She has another papillon brother named Finch and a younger sister named Maybe.
The household also has a Yellow Lab named Atticus and an Aussie Shepherd named Reese. Rebecca Henderson, owner of Renaissance Dogs in Holden, believes all dogs have the power to do anything you ask them to. Keeper encapsulates that view in full.
“I really like this breed because they’re so versatile,” Rebecca told me, “She can do anything I ask her to do. She’s like a Labrador Retriever in a really small package that packs up well and fits under an airplane seat.”
Keeper’s definitely not a one-trick pony. She does agility and rally. She is a therapy dog among her many talents. Speaking of Rally, Keeper qualified in the Rally Novice class for the American Kennel Club nationals rally in 2013. She traveled, by plane, to Tulsa, OK, to compete against other dogs.
“It’s a big deal,” Rebecca said, “Because it’s rare that the AKC does things like this. How many times can you say that you were there for the very first?”
With the amount of chaos going on at the championships, think 8 rings, hundreds upon hundreds of dogs, a huge live audience, and a new place to compete, Keeper and Rebecca held their own but didn’t place as well as they would have liked.
“Both of us were terribly nervous. We finished course with smiles on our faces. The second time we went out, we score 90 out of 100,” she said.
According to the AKC’s press release, AKC Rally combines elements of obedience and Agility. The dog and handler move through a course of numbered exercises. All the while, the handler communicates with and praises the dog.
Rally is all about teamwork. The AKC notes that it provides an excellent introduction to AKC Companion Events for new dogs and handlers. It can provide a challenging opportunity for competitors in other events to strengthen their skills.
“And it’s just plain fun,” Rebecca said.
Keeper gave us some facts about her:
- I am … 2 1/2 years old.
- Mom got me from … Jasione’s Papillons in Windham, Maine.
- My favorite thing to do is … play ball.
- My favorite thing to do in the community is … visit with children at the Bangor Public Library.
- I love to go … anywhere with Mom.
- I’m looking forward to … having fun at agility competitions and *paws crossed* having puppies this summer.