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Teenager Qualifies For The Welsh Junior Handler Of The Year Finals

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 show ring.

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) Ambassador award.    

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.