Finally! Kenya is now a “well-balanced dog” — which means, titles on both ends. (She is well balanced in the other sense as well: good angulation in both front and back.)
In other words: AKC and International Champion Roycroft Kenya Cameroon RN RA C-RN C-RA
It took her five years to get that AKC championship! FIVE. YEARS. Or nearly. Call it four and a half.
It took Kenya much longer than it should have to finish because she *hated* showing when she was a puppy. She pulled hard toward the gate, she tried to leap off the table when the judge approached, she wouldn’t stand still for more than a second, she was dreadful. If I’d raised her from a baby, I don’t imagine it would have been quite so bad, but I doubt she would have had a very showy attitude even then.
In handling class, I had people walk up and hand her a cookie and walk away without speaking to her or touching her, and she gradually improved. I was very careful when I started asking people to touch her lightly on the back or on the cheek — with a treat both before and after the touch. A bad judge could set her back and I always asked other competitors what the judges were like. I learned to appreciate kind judges with a reassuring touch! That is seldom a concern for a Cavalier, but it was for Kenya. I learned to never, ever let anybody else take her in the ring for me.
Luckily Kenya is extremely food motivated! I gave her *tons* of treats while in the ring, just one treat after another. Last year she had improved to the point that she finally started winning consistently. This year she was wonderful. She still didn’t like going, but once at a show, she wanted me to take her out and give her lots of cookies. She also happened to grow a great coat just in time for the show season. She won’t exercise on her own, and like many of us, she tends to be on the chunky side, so I walked her briskly for a mile every day to keep her toned up.
Well, now she can sit on a cushion at home while other girls go off with me to shows. I will continue to cruelly haul her off the the park from time to time, but that’s it.
Oh, I will just add, I don’t have the win photo yet, but she finished off her championship by winning Best of Opposite Sex over two finished champion girls, one of which was a Grand Champion. I’m just saying.
I’m just grateful that unlike my two older girl (Pippa and Adora, who are both beautiful and much showier) Kenya did NOT lose teeth or (worse) get pyometra while working on her championship. Having to spay a lovely young girl because of pyo is THE WORST. Kenya has been a horrible producer, but I will nevertheless cross my fingers and breed her one more time, next July when Ish is old enough, and hope to get one truly beautiful male puppy. One truly beautiful male puppy who will, like Kenya’s father, grow up to live basically forever and sire puppies who will do the same.
Incidentally, Kenya’s daughter Honey also had a good weekend, and now needs just one point to finish her AKC championship. Honey did it the right way, winning her majors out of the puppy classes and just whittling down the single points this year.