Junior Aniston Cumbie participates in competitive dog showing

For five years, Cumbie has competed with her dog, Hadie

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By Ciara Pemberton

With her dog showing awards behind her, junior Aniston Cumbie sits with her dog Hadie on Monday, Jan. 15.

Lauren Ocker, JAG editor-in-chief

With a brush gripped in her hand, junior Aniston Cumbie smiles down at her pet Shih Tzu, Hadie, while combing her hair into place to prepare for an annual dog show.

Aniston began showing Hadie shortly after they adopted her in 2013. She heard about dog training and showing through a youth leadership program called 4-H.

“I wanted to try dog showing because other people in my 4-H club recommended it,” Aniston said.

In order to show, Aniston trains Hadie two days a week for a variety of categories.

“We train for showmanship, obedience and agility,” Aniston said. “On weekends we go to dog shows and compete with other dogs in those categories. We usually compete in four or five shows a season. We start training in mid-January.”

The unpredictable cooperation of her dog proves to be a challenge for Aniston.

“Dogs have off days,” Aniston said. “Some days Hadie decides she doesn’t really want to do what she’s supposed to and she will just ignore me through the entire show.”

Aniston’s mother Tracie Cumbie sees the activity as an opportunity to act as a support system for the pair.

“I play a role by giving support,” Tracie said. “Aniston and Hadie work super hard, but once they get to the shows, it’s very humbling because a lot of times Hadie doesn’t want to do anything. I’m there to support them.”

Through this challenging hobby, Aniston has learned the importance of forbearance.

“One thing I’ve learned is to be super patient,” Aniston said. “If they have off days you have to keep working hard to improve and they will eventually do what you want them to.”

Tracie believes the experience teaches Aniston not only how to work effectively as an individual, but about how to interact with animals as well.

“Showing has helped her with independence,” Tracie said. “She now understands another creature and how they react.”

Through Aniston’s dog showing, Tracie sees a chance for her to participate in something unique.

“I think it’s a fabulous opportunity to have a good relationship with her dog,” Tracie said. “It’s an opportunity to do something different.”

The most rewarding thing about showing, for Aniston, is the strong relationship she has fostered with her dog.

“My favorite part is bonding with Hadie,” Aniston said. “Through dog showing, she has become more my dog. I know her really well now and we’ve become really close.”

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