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6:56 AM Sun, Sept. 23rd

Her expertise in showing dogs pays off handsomely

Courier/Nathaniel Kastelic
Katie Waldock, honors student at Tri-City Prep High School, poses with her show dogs Monroe, left, and Sedona, both purebred clumber spaniels, Monday afternoon in the front yard of her Prescott home.

Courier/Nathaniel Kastelic Katie Waldock, honors student at Tri-City Prep High School, poses with her show dogs Monroe, left, and Sedona, both purebred clumber spaniels, Monday afternoon in the front yard of her Prescott home.

PRESCOTT ­ With a dog who comes from five generations of award-winning show dogs, Kathleen Waldock recently took home her most prestigious award yet ­ the Top Junior Handler of the Year from the Clumber Spaniel Club of America.

The 17-year-old Prescott resident has been showing dogs since the age of 9, when the breeder of her first dog, Ruby, a bearded collie, introduced her to the sport.

Kathleen said she fell in love with the sport of canine showing "because I just love hanging out with the dogs."

She won many awards with Ruby, as well as with her second show dog, a Great Pyrenees named Tova, and the award she recently won was with her champion show dog, Sedona, a clumber spaniel.

The Waldock family friend and breeder, Jill Adams, said, "Ruby gave her knowledge and desire, Tova gave her confidence, and Sedona gave her passion."

Kathleen's mother, Barbara, said the clumber spaniel, which comes from the Clusexx breed, is a very rare breed of dog. She said there are only 2,500 of them in the country.

"In 1996, their (Sedona and her brother, Monroe) Uncle Brady was the 'best in show' at the Westminster Show at Madison Square Garden in New York."

Adams added that "what makes them such great show dogs are their fabulous attitudes."

At the recent National Specialty event in Pennsylvania, Barbara said her daughter also won the Edie Donovan Sportsmanship Award, which is a very prestigious honor that judges had never before presented to a minor.

"It's for her attitude in victory and in defeat," Barbara said," and how she handles herself inside and outside the arena."

Kathleen said when she shows her dogs at a competition, she demonstrates her dog's ability to "stack," which is a certain stance they must hold for a certain amount of time.

"It's a way they stand that demonstrates their structure," she said.

Kathleen said she was there when Sedona was born, and began working with her shortly after. Adams said Sedona was born by caesarean section, and when she was born, "Katie rubbed the life into her. She was there when Sedona took her first breath. They've always been connected."

It is that connection and Kathleen's dedication and passion for what she does that earned her the award, Adams said, adding that aside from showing Sedona, she also trains her and grooms her.

Kathleen said training Sedona to stand and walk correctly wasn't always easy and that it took a lot of patience.

"I would only spend about five minutes a day with her because you don't want them to get tired or bored," she said. "When they're a puppy, you work with them very slowly."

Kathleen said she really enjoys working with Sedona, and working with her other two dogs gave her an understanding and appreciation for what it takes to train different kinds of dogs.

"They each have their own personality, so how they show is different," she added. "You learn something from each dog that makes you a better handler."

When Kathleen turns 18, she will no longer compete in the junior division. She said she will judge her first show at the Prescott Kennel Club on Aug. 14, and she will continue competing as an adult.

She loves working with Sedona, and will show her as long as she can.

"As long as she enjoys it, I'll keep showing her," she said.

Contact the reporter at rbump@prescottaz.com