By Michaela "Hope" Matkins
Hello, I am Michaela "Hope" Matkins, age 14 of Louisa, Virginia. My Juniors dog Grizz (GCH AKC/UKC CH Northwind Singin' The Blues) and I have been working together since he was a puppy, but he did not officially become my Juniors dog until about one year ago. Grizz and I have really done well this past year because together we figured out how to be successful in Juniors and the Breed Ring.
I have had many tips from many people but my grandma, (Memaw) Janet Matkins and also Pine Spring Australian Shepherds, has taught me everything I know. She has groomed me since the age of eight when I first got into the dogs. I think the many hours of practice on our old back road have most definitely paid off. My grandma has had me show puppies and practically everything she has in her kennel which has made me a better handler in the long run. My team has made many memories and even more to come.
Eukanuba has always been a huge dream for me and finally getting to cross this off of my bucket list, for this was my last year as an Open Intermediate Junior. The experience has definitely shown me that I can accomplish more than I thought. I really had no favorite part of my experience but I think just being able to make new friends, learn new things, and just get to further my bond with my dog is the best that I could have asked for!
I would love to thank my loving parents and grandparents for making my dream come true! My experience had some accomplishments such as my second place on Wednesday, my Best Junior Handler on Friday, December 12th, at the Sunshine State Herding KC Specialty Show, and I made the cuts on Saturday! These accomplishments have given me the confidence to set new goals such as going to Westminster in New York! Qualifying and attending Eukanuba has been a huge honor and I am very happy that I got the chance to make it there. I would like to thank Laurie and David Thompson, Grizz's breeder for ultimately giving me the chance to obtain this goal by selling Grizz to us! Thank you to everyone making this Juniors program possible.