Junior Spotlight: Meet Hope and Charlie – A Success in Obedience, Rally and More

Sixteen-year-old Hope Peavey of Fort Meade, FL, is a very busy and successful competitor with her special dog, Charlie, who is a member of the AKC Purebred Alternative Listing (PAL) program. With Charlie and her Australian Shepherds, she enjoys junior showmanship, obedience, rally, and tricks training. Hope, a junior in high school, has been homeschooled since third grade. Her parents are Stacey and Debbi Peavey and she has a 25-year-old brother named Brett. Here, she tells us about her exciting career in dogs, so far.

AKC: How old is Charlie and how did he come into your life?
Charlie is 6 years old. She came into my life unexpectedly. I had a Pomeranian puppy that had eaten a portion of a plastic bag and had a bowel obstruction. She passed away a day after her surgery. My mom talked to my old 4-H leader about an Australian Shepherd and she referred us... My mom called the breeder and it turned out she had one 6-month-old puppy left from her last litter. When we got her, she wasn’t socialized and was  scared of her own shadow. She bonded to me quickly and has never left my side since. 

AKC: What got you started in training and competing with dogs? Tell us about your 4H involvement and what that has meant to you.
My pastor’s daughter had asked me if I was interested in training my Maltese, Blossom. I was very interested. So, my pastor’s wife took me and her two daughters to this 4H dog training class and I was immediately hooked. I loved it. I wanted to learn more. I would work Blossom every day on what we had learned. Since then, I have become treasurer, secretary, and president of my 4-H club. I teach 4H dog class (about seven kids in the dog project) in my primary club, Clovers on the Ridge 4H, in Lake Wales.

Class includes showmanship, rally obedience, tricks, agility, CGC and puppy class. This group meets at the local Rural King in Lake Wales. We use the break room and then take their lesson to the store floor. This gives us a unique opportunity to engage in sights, smells, distractions, and people. It also gives us a chance to educate the public and promote responsible dog ownership.

I also co-teach for the AKC Canine Good Citizen class and 4H class at Das Hund Haus in Lakeland. There are about 10 kids in this dog project. The classes include rally, obedience, agility, tricks, and CGC class. I have attended several dog camps throughout Florida and I now volunteer at those same camps. I also sit on several committees as a junior member in the sport, i.e. AKC Juniors Time to Shine, Florida State Fair Dog Committee, and Polk County Youth Fair Dog Committee. I have been an alumni judge for a fun show and co-instructed an obedience and rally seminar. My start in 4H means a lot to me because I love dogs and I love being able to learn about their temperaments and behaviors.

AKC: Is your family involved in dog training/showing?
None of my family show or train dogs, but my mom travels to shows with me.

AKC: What sports does Charlie compete in and what titles/honors has she earned?
Charlie has competed in obedience and earned her CGC, BN, CD, GN, and CDX. We have also competed in Rally and have gotten her RN and RA. She has just recently earned her Trick Novice, Intermediate, and Advanced Titles. Charlie placed first in the 2015 AKC Junior Obedience Classic in Titled Novice. Charlie is on the Road Runners Obedience Club and has competed at the 2015 Florida Dog Obedience Competition. We have competed in agility in 4H, Polk County Youth Fair, Florida State Fair and once at the AKC Juniors Agility Nationals. Charlie is my demo dog for 4H and loves to play and work with kids.

AKC: Tell us about your other dogs – names, ages and what sports they compete in.
I have four other Australian shepherds that I show and work with. Cori is 10 years old, red merle, and I was given her to do junior showmanship with. She got me my three wins to move up into open senior. I asked the lady who gave me her if I could show her in obedience; at the time, she didn’t know how to sit or down. I got her BN, CGC and her CD. I received high scoring junior at the 2016 AKC Florida Dog Obedience Competition. She has qualified for the 2017 AKC Obedience Classic in Novice.

I have a puppy named Rocky, a red merle, who is 2 years old. He has his BN, RN, CGC, TT, and just earned Trick Novice and Intermediate titles. Rocky is trained through Utility and we are going to start the Preferred OTCH track this month.

I co-own Jack, a red merle, who is nine. I have been working Jack since October 2016. His owner hurt her back and is unable to show him anymore; he is quite active. I finished his utility title, RN, 3rd place in open at the AKC Junior Classic, working on OTCH points, and he is now qualified for the 2017 AKC Obedience Classic in utility.

Lastly, I have a blue merle named Snowy. She is 5 years old and is a Bronze Grand Champion in AKC and she also earned her Trick Novice Title. I am showing her in junior showmanship and breed. Snowy is 12 points away from obtaining her Silver Championship. I have earned her Silver points myself. She has earned Best in Specialty, two Owner Handled Bests in Show, and is currently #3 in the owner handled division for Australian Shepherds. 

AKC: Do you own any “non-dog” pets?
At my house, we have cows, and we have multiple cats that live in our barn. For years, we had chickens, rabbits, horses and ducks, which I showed in the Polk County Youth Fair and in the Florida State Fair. Charlie would come outside with me to feed them. She also learned how to sit and stay in the chicken pen. I have since sold and placed my horses and other animals to focus on my dogs. 

AKC: What are your future goals in the sport of dogs?
When I age out of juniors, I want to become a professional handler, an obedience judge and a rally judge.

AKC: Do you plan do to something animal-related as a career?
I plan on becoming a psychologist, but being able to use my knowledge to work with dogs as well as humans.

AKC: What extracurricular activities are you involved in addition to dog sports?
I do not do many extracurricular activities besides dog-related ones. I do help at my church as needed and with vacation bible school in the summer, Sunday school and attend a mission trip to Atlanta, Ga. I also attend camps through the Lake Wales Care Center several times a year -  summer and the week of Thanksgiving - that focus on community service projects throughout Lake Wales. We go to nursing homes, day cares, backyard bible clubs, painting, yard work, and so much more.