VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. (WESH) – At just 10 years old, Emily Cloudman is one of the youngest handlers who will compete at next week’s 141st Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City.
“She’s very food-motivated,” said Emily, holding a treat, next to her 3-year-old brown and white beagle, Lacey.
Asked if she was nervous fulfilling her dream and competing on national television, Emily didn’t hesitate.
“No, not really,” she said. “It’s just, if I do well, I do well. And if I don’t, I don’t.”
The duo has already won seven “best junior” titles in the last year, allowing them to qualify for Westminster. Now, they’ll go up against 87 other junior handlers from around the country.
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Emily, who has never been to New York, leaves Saturday for the show which airs Monday and Tuesday.
“I’m very proud of her,” said her mother, Megan. “She’s worked really hard.”
The straight-A student, who captains her choir, hopes to one day become a veterinarian. In her fourth-grade classroom at George Marks Elementary, her classmates screamed out Lacey’s name when they saw her.
To her friends, they are both already stars.
“We’re very proud of her,” said her teacher, Jamison Walter. “Been teaching a number of years, never really had a student at this level of anything.”
Emily demonstrated “gaiting” as she walked Lacey, saying, “The judge will look at the way she moves.” She’s confident in their hard work. The only thing she’s worried about is the New York winter.
“She normally doesn’t like the cold Florida weather,” Emily said, holding Lacey. “So she has a little sweater that we bought.”
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