Thirteen year old Jon-Paul Church from Dyfed in Wales
will be taking centre stage with his dog, Miley, a Boxer, at the
finals of the Welsh Junior Handler of The Year next month, despite
being born with only one hand.
This event takes place at the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth
Wells on Saturday 22ndFebruary.
The title of Welsh Junior Handler of The Year, which is awarded
by the Cardiff Canine Society, is given annually to a young person
who has shown considerable promise and dedication to dog handling.
This is a skill which shows off the dog's conformation to its best
advantage and is designed to test the ability of the handler in the
Jon-Paul, who is a member of the Young Kennel Club, impressed
judges at the semi-finals with his handling skills, where he was
tested on his abilities in the show ring with Miley. He is now on
his way to the finals where he is just happy to take part.
Jon-Paul, who was born without his right hand, never lets his
disability affect him in anyway. He says: "It's the not the
winning, it's the taking part that counts."
The thirteen year old is no stranger to competitions as he has
qualified for handling classes at Crufts three years in a row, and
has qualified for the past four years in the breed classes at
Crufts. He has even been awarded with the Young Kennel Club (YKC)
Jon-Paul says: "I am extremely honoured and proud to be a YKC
Ambassador. I thoroughly enjoy helping people at shows. I
like to help others with their handling skills and anything else
that junior members need support with."
The Young Kennel Club is the Kennel Club's group for young dog
lovers aged from 6-24 and members can take part in dedicated events
and activities that educate young people in the care and training
of dogs in a fun and friendly environment.