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Dog show makes successful return to Harrison Park, despite the weather

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Through rain or shine, and even a tornado warning, the dog show goes on.

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The Gray Bruce Kennel and Obedience Club was back at Harrison Park this week after a two-year hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic, with hundreds of dogs competing over the three-day event.

And even Wednesday’s weather, which included torrential downpours, thunder and even warnings about the possibility of tornadoes in the area, couldn’t stop the event, though it did make for some soggy dogs and their handlers.

“I don’t know if we have ever been under tornado warnings before, so that was new. We had some flooding that happened as well,” club president Amanda Lougheed said Thursday. “But dog show people are flexible and we are pretty passionate about it, so we will get through thick or thin, and some high water apparently.”

Judge Michael Gelinas, left, poses in the rainwater with Irish setter Johnny and his handler Will Alexander during the Gray Bruce Kennel and Obedience Club dog show at Harrison Park in Owen Sound on Wednesday, August 3, 2022. Johnny was named best in show on Wednesday.  Six shows were held over three days at the park this week.
Judge Michael Gelinas, left, poses in the rainwater with Irish setter Johnny and his handler Will Alexander during the Gray Bruce Kennel and Obedience Club dog show at Harrison Park in Owen Sound on Wednesday, August 3, 2022. Johnny was named best in show on Wednesday. Six shows were held over three days at the park this week. Photo by supplied photo

But the grounds had dried up and the sun had returned by Thursday, the third and final day of the event, and Lougheed said they were really happy with how the show had gone.

“Dog showing is a community in and of itself and it really is extended family and you get to see people you haven’t seen in three years,” Lougheed said. “It is so nice to see everybody again.”

The Owen Sound show is part of a circuit of shows around the province that the dogs and their handlers hit each year. Following the Owen Sound show, many of the participants were off to Kilbride near Caledonia for a show there.

But Lougheed said many of the participants talk about how the Owen Sound show is one of their favourites, particularly because of the venue at Harrison Park, and the friendly, laid back aspect of it.

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“Owen Sound is a great community and there are lots of things people can do,” said Lougheed. “There is the venue, the camping, the nature and it is just a nice show. We put on a barbecue and we try to make it a real family-friendly affair.”

Amanda Lougheed shows Veda the keeshond during the Gray Bruce Kennel and Obedience Club dog show at Harrison Park in Owen Sound on Thursday, August 4, 2022. Six shows were held over three days at the park this week.  Lougheed is the president of the Grey-Bruce club.
Amanda Lougheed shows Veda the keeshond during the Gray Bruce Kennel and Obedience Club dog show at Harrison Park in Owen Sound on Thursday, August 4, 2022. Six shows were held over three days at the park this week. Lougheed is the president of the Grey-Bruce club. Photo by Rob Gowan The Sun Times

The Owen Sound event is a conformation show that is actually six shows over the three-day event. Approximately 180 dogs were entered in each show and an estimated 100 breeds were being represented during the week.

Lougheed said the event attracts purebred dogs, breeders, owners, handlers and judges from across Ontario as well as the US

The dogs are judged in a number of different groups and a variety of awards were handed out during each show, including the coveted best in show.

Lougheed said the event also serves as an opportunity for those in the community to come out and see a variety of dogs and even get an idea of ​​what type may be a good fit for their family.

“They get to meet breeders and exhibitors and people who own them and live with them every day,” said Lougheed. “It is a really good opportunity for people to come out with their families, see a whole bunch of dogs and interact with them.”

Many of the dogs at the show are at the top of their breeds, including a Pekingese that is No. 4 in Canada, as well as an Irish setter that is No. 5 and a Shetland sheepdog that is No. 7 in the country.

“You take home the best dog everyday, whether they win or lose,” Lougheed said. “But we do have some that are shown across the country and that is why they are the top ranked dogs.”

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The No. 7 ranked Sheltie, Diamond, capped off a very successful event on Thursday, taking home best in show in the morning show.

Bred by Kim Aston and Peter Culumovic of the Ottawa area and belonging to an owner in Japan, three-year-old Diamond was being shown by handler Sydney Robinson in Owen Sound this week.

Robinson, who is from Ottawa, said she may not own Diamond, but she has lived with her since she was a puppy so the win felt really special.

“She did great. Even in the heat she never gives up and gives 110 per cent,” Robinson said. “She loves the attention. When people clap and everything she just loves it.”

Handler Sydney Robinson shows Diamond the Shetland sheepdog during the Gray Bruce Kennel and Obedience Club dog show at Harrison Park in Owen Sound on Thursday, August 4, 2022. Diamond was named best in show for Thursday morning's show, one of six shows held at the park this week.
Handler Sydney Robinson shows Diamond the Shetland sheepdog during the Gray Bruce Kennel and Obedience Club dog show at Harrison Park in Owen Sound on Thursday, August 4, 2022. Diamond was named best in show for Thursday morning’s show, one of six shows held at the park this week. Photo by Rob Gowan The Sun Times

Robinson said conformation-wise, Diamond is special because of her beautiful face, pretty eyes and a beautiful side gait going around the show ring.

“She is very efficient, and has easy movement,” said Robinson. “Ella She is a herding dog which means ella she is supposed to work all day, and she looks like she can do her job well.”

Robinson said they haven’t yet tried herding with Diamond, but plan to in the future. Diamond does have a trick dog title though, she noted.

Robinson said she was born into dog handling as her parents bred and showed Wheaten terriers, she fell in love with the sport and has continued on. During the shows in Owen Sound she was showing six different dogs.

“It is for the love of dogs,” Robinson said about why she enjoys being a handler. “I like this show with the number of people who come around just to see the dogs and want to learn about them.

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“Some of these breeds they wouldn’t get to see all the time. I have a toy Manchester, which are a rarer breed and I have had lots of people come over and ask about him and I love being able to share that information.”

Lougheed said the show is a lot to put on each year, but well worth it for the club, which has approximately 30 members and is always looking for new ones.

“Any dog ​​owner we would love to welcome to our club,” she said. “It is really about responsible dog ownership. It doesn’t matter the breed, it doesn’t matter if they are a mixed breed, it just allows us to get people out and really bonding with their dogs, doing fun things and letting them know about activities they can do with their dogs .”

Handlers and their dogs take part in the Gray Bruce Kennel and Obedience Club dog show at Harrison Park in Owen Sound on Thursday, August 4, 2022. Six shows were held over three days at the park this week.
Handlers and their dogs take part in the Gray Bruce Kennel and Obedience Club dog show at Harrison Park in Owen Sound on Thursday, August 4, 2022. Six shows were held over three days at the park this week. Photo by Rob Gowan The Sun Times

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