Editorial: October 22, 2021
In a sport that has so many facets and successful participants, it’s hard to decide who ranks among the best. Then to decide from that group who is the best of the best. The sport of purebred dogs is built on the strength of the breeders who produce the dogs that are presented in the show ring. Then we have the breeders and owners who exhibit their own dogs and compete head to head with those who are professional handlers. Ours is one of the few professional versus amateur sports in this country. The addition of the Owner Handled Series waters down that pro/am uniqueness. These pages have always supported the pro/am combination for its elevating of the competition. Then of course all these exhibitors are in the ring with the person who yeas or nays their exhibit: The Judge. Those who have had experience in breeding, rearing and exhibiting take those experiences and apply to judge to the breeds they know best.
With all that said, the nominees for the Purina® Pro Plan® 2021 award season were published in last week’s issue of Dog News and on all online media outlets. The quality and accomplishments of this year’s nominees are especially strong, and the decision on who to vote for is indeed a difficult one.
In the category of Breeder of the Year we have a trio of well-known and successful people who have over time bred some top-winning dogs: Michael and Linda Brantley of Dreamland Chow Chows from Lubbock Texas; Michael, Donna and Gia Garofalo of Involo Papillons from Sicklerville, New Jersey, and Harry and Lisa Miller of Kiarry American Foxhounds from Mechanicsville, Maryland.
In the category of Owner Handlers, there are three ladies who have held their own, handling their dogs in the breed, group and Best in Show rings: Elena Landa from Columbia, Missouri, has piloted her Soft-Coated Wheaten Terriers to a number of wins. Lori Wilson-Paust from Coweta, Oklahoma, has enjoyed great success with her Whippets, and Janet York has climbed to new heights with her Cavalier King Charles Spaniels from Manhattan and Pound Ridge, New York.
In the category of Professional Handler, the three nominees have each enjoyed success presenting many different breeds of dogs in all variety groups. All have enjoyed the spoils of winning at America’s most prestigious events and national specialties. Kimberly Pastella Calvacca from Westbury, New York, has had a long career inspired by her family’s love of Boxers. Ernesto Lara from Bowmansville, Pennsylvania, was born in Mexico City, where he showed his Airedale Terriers, brought his love of dogs to the United States, and has built a winning reputation for himself. Laura King from Milan, Illinois, inherited her love of the sport from her late mother’s passion for Belgian Sheepdogs and has also built an outstanding reputation for herself.
In the category of Judge, it would be hard to find three more talented and respected ladies, each bringing outstanding credentials to this category with years of experience breeding, exhibiting and judging careers: Rosalind “Roz” Kramer from High Point, North Carolina, started with her true love, Wire Fox Terriers. Elizabeth “Beth” Sweigart from Bowmansville, Pennsylvania, started her show career with Labrador Retrievers, and Cindy Vogels of Greenwood Village, Colorado, shared her love of Soft-Coated Wheaten Terriers with her mother Jackie Gottlieb. Interestingly, Beth and Cindy were both from the same small Long Island town of Rockville Centre. So remember to vote for these worthy nominees at www.ShowDogsawards.com/vote; you have until December 1, when voting will be closed.