Emily Holmes is a busy 10-year-old fifth-grader at Central Intermediate School in Wadsworth. She enjoys math and is involved in 4-H and ballet classes.
But one of her favorite activities will put her and her 2-year-old companion, Bro, a Rhodesian Ridgeback, in the national spotlight today — the 141st Westminster Kennel Club’s All Breed Dog Show in New York City.
“For the most part, it’s something mostly for adults” to show dogs because the handlers are usually paid by the pet owners, said Teresa West-Holmes, Emily’s mother. “She’s done well to hold her own.”
Bro got his name from the television show “How I Met Your Mother.” His call name is “Bro Code.”
Even though Bro can be a “total goof” at home, West-Holmes said, the gentle giant, weighing in at more than 90 pounds to Emily’s 75, understands how to behave around his handler at shows.
Emily has been competing in dog shows for a year and a half, all with Bro, West-Holmes said. Emily also goes to a training class with Bro each week.
“He does seem to follow her around the most” at home, West-Holmes said of Emily.
West-Holmes said it’s no surprise that Emily is growing up with a handler’s touch.
“In 2006, I was showing Bro’s grandmother. I had her in the ring 110 days that year. Emily was born midway through the year. She really was born into it,” she said.
A news release from the Westminster show said Emily and Bro have trained the past year and a half in the American Kennel Club’s Junior Showmanship and Best of Breed categories.
Bro won an AKC champion title at last year’s show along with an award of merit.
The release said Emily and Bro gave “a stellar performance” at the 2016 Rhodesian Ridgeback National Specialty event in Huron, advancing through “several cuts” in a field of more than 70 dogs.
There is no minimum age to compete in the Westminster show, but at the Junior Showmanship Competition, which is separate, handlers must be 9 years old, West-Holmes said.
Last year, West-Holmes said she and Bro were in the ring at Westminster while Emily watched as a spectator. Bro earned his American Kennel Club championship, which is “a big goal to reach.” He is back at the show as a grand champion.
At home, Bro is one of five Rhodesian Ridgebacks, including his mother, sister and two unrelated dogs.
Contact reporter Ashley Fox at (330) 721-4048 or firstname.lastname@example.org.