Local show dog is going to New York

By: Donovan W. Mann – donovanm@977thebolt.com

Humboldt, IA – A top dog from Humboldt County will be going up against the best of the best this summer.

Owner of 4-Paws Inn, LLC, Michelle Erickson, her daughter Erica, and her Sealyham terrier Remi, have been invited to participate in the 2021 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. This is a highly competitive dog showing competition that will be held in Tarrytown, New York this year.

Erickson says this competition features the best of the best in dog showing and handling and to be among them is a huge honor. “Oh man, it’s a lifetime dream for me,” she says. Erickson and her daughter have been breeding and showing dogs for a long time.

In the past they used to breed Cavaliers. Erickson says that they had one that was in the top 13 of the breed. At that time, Erica was also the “number one junior handler” and got the opportunity to go out to New York to show that dog.

“It is an honor, a privilege and a lifetime of achievements and you don’t get a dog like this very often,” Erickson says.

Remi is a beautiful three-year-old male with a white coat that requires plenty of maintenance. “He’s just a really nice dog,” says Erickson. However, she does say the breed is one of the hardest terriers, if not overall breed, to groom.

The Sealyham coat is one that has to be rotated and pulled by hand, “it is a hand stripped dog.” The coat must be maintained throughout a showing career to keep it at peak condition, including keeping it white and clean.

Remi is still a dog and still has those terrier instincts. Erickson says keeping his coat white is a challenge because he is a farm dog. “He is a rodent killer, believe me, he will kill a woodchuck faster than a woodchuck can chuck road.” In order to keep him in the best physical shape possible he is currently being fenced in.

Being in top shape is important for a show dog. This includes physically and mentally. According to Erickson, Remi can tell when his handler is having a bad day and it will rub off on him.

She says “everything does go down a lead one way or another.” If Remi is having a bad day then he will make the handler’s day bad and vice versa.

“We’ve been showing him for the last year pretty heavily,” she says. He became eligible to participate in the Westminster Dog Show in 2020.

Right now, he is the top ranked Sealyham terrier in the whole country. They are currently ranked 12th nationally as an owner-handler duo. This means “everybody who is an owner and a handler showing the dog is eligible for the owner-handler event and he would be number 12 amongst all breeds in the country.”

Erickson and Remi did gain eligibility to the Westminster show as one of the top five in the breed. She says when they first started showing him he would receive best of breed honors and move on to the “group class.”

Some of his honors include two best in shows and one reserve best in show in the owner-handler class. He also has nine first group placements along with “a lot of other placements” in owner-handler events.

The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show will be June 12 and 13 and is a nationally televised event.