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About Roger

Click to view the original article This article below appeared in the Havanese Hotline - Winter 2008

I became interested in showing dogs at the age of 10. My mother, Ruthellen Viall and sister, Courtney Norris had shown dogs for years, and I decided that it would be fun to learn how to show dogs, also. Courtney began teaching me, and my mom received my juniors' number, and we went from there.

Before dogs, I had shown guinea pigs with my sister and grandmother. One summer I told my grandma that I wanted a guinea pig. She took me to a rabbit and cavy show, and we bought our first two guinea pigs. It was that day that I told my grandma that I would really like to learn to show them.

My guinea pigs had long hair, I set them on a covered board with their hair all brushed out. The judges went over them and faulted them out loud. The judges' comments were written down by a "reporter," and then after judging I would go and pick up my card. It's very different from showing dogs, but I have had multiple Best in Show guinea pigs and still breed them to this day.

Courtney was my mentor. She knows a lot about showing dogs. I thought since she was the last one in my family to be in juniors, she would be the best one to learn from. She left college just to come see me compete in my first novice junior class, which I won. I have learned a lot from her and from watching both her and my mom show dogs. Whenever we have free time, we practice even with big dogs now, too.

Roger & Chess

I was very nervous at my first show. I remember that I practiced with my dog before I got in the ring. There were four girls in my class and me. I was nervous and didn't know where to go. The show was outside so I had to deal with the tent and where to go which I had never gotten to practice before because we don't have a tent at home to work the dogs with. In the end I came out victorious and I won my class. The first time I had ever walked in the juniors ring, and I won. I was so excited and happy, and I knew I had made everyone proud.

Roger & Courtney

My most exciting dog show was the Havanese National this year. It was the first time I had even shown at a national, and I was nervous at first. I had worked for months to get there, and you only have one shot at the National. You only show in Juniors one day. I was so happy when Mr. Dennis McCoy pointed to me for Best Junior Handler. I had a smile from ear to ear.

My most disappointing show was when my juniors' dog went to the bathroom in the ring. I don't know if I was disappointment or just embarrassed but I still finished... showing him with a smile on my face. To this day, though, I "ex" him twice before we show.

My advice to other kids is, if you want to start showing, do some research and ask questions. Find a good mentor who will help you get involved. You can read some handling and dog books. That helped me out a lot. I think the Havanese is a good starting breed if you are going to just start showing dogs. They are smaller and very upbeat and happy all the time. They do anything you ask them to, and they are easy to train because they are very smart. I have been raised with dogs my whole life so it is not difficult for me to show them or handle them.

I go to shows whenever I can as long as I don't have to miss school. In the summer, I go almost every weekend. It's hard but school comes first, and then it's up to me whether I want to go to a dog show or hang out with friends. If my grades are good, then I get to take a day or two off from school.

I played soccer this fall and I will play lacrosse in the spring, so my dog showing is put on hold during those times.

Roger & Ego at the 2008 Havanese National Specialty As for family, my whole family shows dogs, so we get to see each other at dog shows. All three of my aunts show dogs, both of my grandmas, and my mom and sister, so it's a family thing.

I co-own many Havanese with my mom and my sister, and I also co-own a Pekingese with my sister. I help out some with the breeding, and I help with the puppies. I really like playing with the puppies when they get old enough, and I try to help socialize them before they leave for their new homes.

Learning to take care of my dogs has helped me to learn responsibility. In order to be successful in life you have to be responsible. Showing dogs has taught me how to interact with other people. Communications skills are very important in everyday life.

I enjoy doing what I am now, and I want to continue to show and raise dogs. After high school, I want to go to a good college. I think I want to be an accountant or a lawyer, but that could change with time. I want to move out west or down south and live in a big house.

Roger & Bora
Roger & guinea pig, Premium
Roger & Ego
 Roger is 12 years old and lives in Binghamton, New York. He, his mother and sister are all members of the Havanese Club of America.

Ruthellen Viall
Courtney Norris
Roger Krieger

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