It’s one for the youngsters – 13 year old Jon-Paul Church from Dyfed in Wales will be taking centre stage with his dog, Miley, a Boxer, at the finals of the Welsh Junior Handler of the Year next month, despite being born with only one hand.
The title of Welsh Junior Handler of The Year, which is awarded by the Cardiff Canine Society, is given annually to a young person who has shown considerable promise and dedication to dog handling (which Jon-Paul obviously has!) in the show ring.
Jon-Paul is a member of the Young Kennel Club, and impressed the judges at the semi-finals with his handling skills, where he was tested on his abilities in the show ring with his lovely pooch Miley. He is now on his way to the finals where he is just happy to take part. Jon-Paul, who was born without his right hand, never lets his disability affect him in anyway. He says: “It’s the not the winning, it’s the taking part that counts.” What a great attitude to have!
The thirteen year old is no stranger to competitions as he has qualified for handling classes at Crufts three years in a row, and has qualified for the past four years in the breed classes at Crufts. He has even been awarded with the Young Kennel Club (YKC) Ambassador award.
Jon-Paul says: “I am extremely honoured and proud to be a YKC Ambassador. I thoroughly enjoy helping people at shows. I like to help others with their handling skills and anything else that junior members need support with.”
What an incredible young man!