Louise C Botko - Obedience & Rally
I was fortunate to grow up in a neighborhood where there were puppies and dogs to play with and take on walks. Years later when I got married and moved into a house, I started looking for a puppy. I fell in love with terriers, especially miniature schnauzers, and bought my first miniature schnauzer puppy in 1982. Expecting that all dogs would be well behaved, I quickly learned that obedience training was needed. Since that time, dogs and the sport of Obedience have been an important part of my life.
Over the years, I have trained and shown six miniature schnauzers through the Utility title; three completed the Utility Excellent (UDX) title and two earned the coveted Obedience Trial Championship (OTCH) title. Several of my dogs have also earned Rally titles.
One of my dogs, after retiring from Obedience, became a Therapy dog and visited elementary schools weekly and listened to second grade students read to her. The children loved reading to a dog and the dog loved all the attention. It was a win-win for everyone.
Along with training and showing my dogs at AKC events, I have taken them to schools and shared information with children about being responsible dog owners. I have my dogs demonstrate some of the excercises learned in obedience (e.g.sit, down, stay, come, heel, jump, fetch). The children love watching my dogs do their work and also enjoy sharing their own dog stories.
Becoming an Obedience judge is another extension of the sport that I love. My first judging assignment was in 1993; approved to judge all obedience classes in 1997 and later also approved to judge all Rally classes. Since then, I have judged many breed specialty and all-breed dog shows across the country. I have had the honor of judging several national obedience dog shows - the National Obedience Championship (NOC), the Junior Classics and Westminster Obedience. Traveling the country and judging dog shows has been an added bonus from this great sport, but meeting and working with so many other dog lovers (and dogs) is really what makes this a wonderful experience.
I am retired from teaching and coordinating district curriculum programs and now have a more flexible schedule to train and show my dogs. I also have more time to travel, do outdoor activities, read books, do volunteer work and more.
It is an honor to be judging your National Specialty. Good luck to everyone, and most of all, have a great time.