Trainers hope hard work pays off at Gum Tree Classic dog show

By JB Clark/NEMS Daily Journal

VERONA – Tara Rowell said one thing makes all the time spent on grooming and training prior to dog shows worth it – winning.
Grooming and training a dog in preparation for showing is hard work, taking more than five hours on the day of the show alone, she said. Rowell, who is from Dallas, and her 3-year-old Maltese, Hank, won best in show Saturday in Tupelo Kennel Club’s Gum Tree Classic dog show at the Lee County Agri-Center.
“It takes daily care with the coat,” Rowell said. “When he’s at home I have his hair wrapped up so he can run around and be a dog and when we get to the show there is bathing and then you have to blow-dry and iron the coat, part them down the middle and put in the bows.”
Rowell said Hank is the No. 1 Maltese and one of the top toy breed dogs in the country. He’s not her first dog to show – she’s been at it for 37 years.
“He loves it,” she said. “When I’m getting ready to go to the dog show and the suitcases come out, he gets very excited.”
Trish Blakely of Booneville has been showing dogs for more than 30 years. Saturday she brought Bobby, a 14-month-old rough collie to his first show.
“He’s still a puppy as you can tell – very excited,” she said. “But, we’re going to try to behave while we’re in the ring. I can’t guarantee anything though.”
Blakely said, since Bobby is a collie, he will be expected to move around the ring with ease to show he is able to do his breed’s function, herding.
Matias Mato of Argentina was blow-drying the coat of Irish setter Carter before the show started Saturday morning.
“I’ve been showing pretty much since I was born and he’s been showing for two months now,” Mato said. “That makes eight shows. We show every weekend.”
Mato said Carter did very well in December at the Eukanuba National Dog Championship in Florida.
Dogs also will show today at the Lee County Agri-Center in Verona, starting at 9 a.m.
jb.clark@journalinc.com