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Kodiak 4-H held its annual dog show over the weekend. Members trained their family pets, and brought them out for the event at the Kodiak Baptist Mission following the farmers market.
On a cool Saturday morning at the Kodiak Baptist Mission, about a dozen children stand at attention in a pen typically reserved for horses and goats. At their feet are dogs of different breeds and colors, sitting at attention.
Some look ahead intently at the two judges slowly pacing by, marking clipboards as they go – but others just smile unthinkingly, tongues lolling out of their heads as a gathering crowd looks on.
Twelve-year-old Greyson Foreman stands next to the other kids with his dog Chester – a small Australian shepherd with a bright brown and white coat. Greyson says Chester needs a little time to get used to you.
“Chester is nice once he gets to know you. But a lot of times when he’s at our house, he’ll bark at a lot of strangers. So you have to get to know him before he actually becomes your friend,” Greyson said.
It’s Greyson’s first time participating in the show. After he saw the 4-H show last year, he was dead-set on participating. He’s been training the 2-year-old Chester since he got him as a puppy.
Greyson’s mom, Kelly Foreman, says that in addition to the responsibility of caring for and training Chester, Greyson gets a lot out of the competition part of the show too.
“You get to that show part. And you really like that good stress, you know, it’s a good, safe environment to have some of the first stresses that a kid will have for the rest of their lives. They’re going to have to be in front of people and talking whether they want to or not,” Kelly said.
Barbara Waskowiac, a leader with Kodiak 4-H, organized a weeks-long training program for the 4-H members and their dogs. She trained animals with 4-H as a kid, and says that the benefits are immense.
“Working with animals is a great gift and a great… Success to be able to train your dog to do what you want it to do, also helps everybody in the family to have a good trained dog that behaves well,” Waskowiac said.
The dogs completed an agility course and a timed test of who can sit the most still if their master walks away over a minutes-long period. In the end, Jillian Koran and her Australian shepherd Spar took home first place, Zoey Zimmerman finished second with her rat terrier Groot, and Elianna Valladolid was third with her mini Australian shepherd-poodle mix Betty.
Kodiak 4-H has an upcoming livestock show and auction Saturday, Sept. 3 at the Kodiak Fairgrounds.