The 2011 AKC/Eukanuba National Championship, AKC National Obedience Invitational and AKC Agility Invitational featured nearly 5,000 dogs, hundreds of vendors, and tons of fun for the whole family in Orlando, Florida 17th and 18th December 2011.
This invitation-only event showcases some of the best dogs in the world and through a series of interviews Examiner readers will have an opportunity to “meet” some of the competitors.
Examiner: How did you get started in dogs?
Meridith Cairns-Mellen: My parents bred Labrador retrievers when I was a kid and I just knew I had to show dogs too.
Examiner: How did you decide on Pekingese?
Meridith Cairns-Mellen: After getting a Newfoundland to show, I realized he was much better match for my son than for me. I started looking for a smaller breed "just for me" and I was lucky enough to meet De Ann and Larry Ulmer, with their Pekingese. Through them I got to know the breed better and I also met Hiram Stewart, who was so kind answering all my questions. As time went on and the more Pekingese I saw, the more I knew this was the breed for me.
Examiner: What's the one thing you know now that you wish you knew when you were starting in dogs?
Meridith Cairns-Mellen: There is never enough money, and don’t take a lot of what your competition says seriously or for that matter, personally. There are some people that may say awful things, or just plain lie if it might help them win.
Examiner: What is the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Meridith Cairns-Mellen: What is the best advice anyone ever gave you? There has been a lot of good advice… get to know the judges and what kind of dogs they put up, keep a judges book. Learn how to handle well. Watch the groups. Stay calm and have fun.
Examiner: What is your biggest regret?
Meridith Cairns-Mellen: That I didn't get into showing and breeding a lot sooner. Also, I almost let my arrogance and pride ruin a really good friendship -- true friends are worth so much more.
Examiner: What is your biggest accomplishment?
Meridith Cairns-Mellen: My first bred-by champion won an award of excellence at Eukanuba as an 18-month old puppy. Also my son was invited to show in junior showmanship at both Westminster and Eukanuba. Not only is he a good handler, he is also a good person; to me that is a huge accomplishment.
Examiner: What does going to the AKC Eukanuba National Championship mean to you?
Meridith Cairns-Mellen: Eukanuba invites us to show bred-by champions there, which is amazing and a thrill. My young dog and I were in the ring with some of the top winning dogs in the US, and to know I will be invited again with my next bred-by champion, it’s such an honor.
Examiner: What makes the AKC Eukanuba National Championship different than any other dog shows for you and your dogs?
Meridith Cairns-Mellen: The fact that it is an invitational. That is so different from traditional dog shows.
Examiner: If you could leave a note on the kitchen table for future generations what would it say?
Meridith Cairns-Mellen: Take your breeding program very seriously and know why you are breeding. But other than that don’t take a lot of the dog show world too seriously; there will be another show soon!
If you would like to join in the festivities, plan to be in Orlando, Florida on 15-16th of December 2012 for the 12th Annual AKC/Eukanuba National Championship.
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