Rockland Australian shepherd to compete in Westminster dog show
Rockland — A local 4-year-old Australian shepherd will compete in a national dog show at Madison Square Garden in New York City Feb. 11 and 12.
Owned by Clara Gardner of Harbor Hounds LLC, a daycare and boarding kennel on Park Street, the shepherd, known affectionately as "Fly," is the fifth generation of Gardner's lineage of "home-bred puppies."
"Fly was born in my kitchen," Gardner said. "I owned her mother, grandmother, great-grandmother — she's the fifth generation."
Fly, whose legal name is Maine-ly's Take It To The Limit, is already an American Kennel Club registered Grand Champion, crowned June 29, 2012, at a dog show in Kalamazoo, Mich.
She will be shown as one of 43 Aussies registered for the Grand Championship at the Westminster dog show put on by the Westminster Kennel Club.
The Australian shepherd is the oldest registry in the United States, going back to the 1800s, said Gardner. The breed is considered working stock from England. "Aussies have no tails," Gardner said. "A dog without a tail is a working dog in England," she added.
"The Aussie also makes a super good show dog," Gardner said. "She's been on an eight-week circuit from coast to coast."
Gardner, who once worked at Garden Kennel in Bangor, bought the Harbor Hounds building in Rockland in 2000. She and Vern Clark, who calls himself a "behind-the-scenes co-owner," began getting the building ready for a kennel five years ago.
She and Clark, who are planning their own April wedding, are assisted by Heidi Cummings, Gardner's "right-hand-girl," and Deb Doiron, the kennel's groomer.
Courier Publications reporter George Chappell can be reached at 594-4401 or by email at email@example.com.