PLAINFIELD, Wis. (WSAW) --- For the second year in a row, 15-year-old Mikala Seymour and her Saint Bernard, Ellington, have qualified for two prestigious dog show competitions.
"Last year, I made qualifications by the skin of my teeth for Westminster, where this year I was able to get that done in about half the time it took last year," said Mikala, the junior handler from Plainfield.
After a year of training, and a Westminster show already under her belt, Mikala and Ellington have once again qualified for the Westminster Kennel Club Show in New York and the AKC National Championship Show in Orlando.
"I've grown a lot as a handler," said Mikala. "We click more together now than we did last year. He reads off of every little cue I give him."
The 15-year-old said last year's experience at the Westminster Show was something she'll always remember.
"It was a whirlwind. It went by so fast, but it was so much fun," she said. "It was fun seeing the different kinds of dogs and top-winning dogs, and seeing national winning dogs all the time."
Ellington is now more than 3 years old, and he's been in the dog show ring since he was only six months old.
"Cause I mean, you don't see most people showing such a big dog, but it's also hard because most people don't like the bigger dog that's a little more on the lazy side," said Mikala.
The two share a bond both inside the ring and out.
"He is basically my best friend," she said. "Two best friends that continue to grow and learn together."
"I am so incredibly proud of her, and what she does. I always dreamed that I would have a kid that would want to show dogs, and love them as much as me. What she does is amazing, and her passion, and her drive," said Nadene Seymour, Mikala's mother.
Mikala is about one out of 10 or 12 Wisconsin junior handlers qualified at the AKC National Championship in Orlando, and only one of six that qualified for the Westminster Kennel Club Show in New York.