Project Description

Juniors Journal: Stella & Mate’s AKC Journey

Stella & Mate, ACCC Junior

Hey there! I’m Stella Keimon, a 13-year-old from Missouri, and I want to share my journey with my Chinese Crested Powderpuff, Mate. My parents surprised me with Mate when I was 6 years old. He quickly became my best friend.

Our fun started with the conformation ring at Purina Farms when I was 7. I had this feeling that Mate was going to be my show dog. When I was 9, I got my AKC Junior Handler number and began entering the Juniors ring. We worked really hard and have been able to earn several Best Juniors and Reserve Best Juniors amongst tough competition. The breed clubs have been helpful along the way with offering workshops and seminars for the Juniors to get together and learn together. The clubs want to help Juniors as much as they can to succeed and become the best dog owners, so it’s important to be active in the clubs. I am a member of the American Chinese Crested Club and our local Heart of America Chinese Crested Club-St. Louis.

But we didn’t stop with conformation shows. We were eager to do more activities together, to strengthen our bond and set new goals.

FastCat caught our attention next. Initially, Mate was hesitant about the concept of chasing a lure. However, with some encouragement (he loves running to get to me) and practice, he GOT IT, earning his BCat, DCat, and eventually his FCat at the Chinese Crested Club National in 2023. This achievement shifted our focus more towards performance events along with our Conformation skills.AKC FastCat

We also started into Trick and Rally Classes. The training sessions are helpful and rewarding. We achieved titles together like Canine Good Citizen and Novice Trick Dog, which were fun milestones for us. Now, we’re focused on Rally and Obedience, disciplines that require a deeper bond between handler and dog. We’re working towards our Novice Intermediate title this summer.

For any Junior Handlers out there, I’d suggest trying out a variety of activities with your dog. It’s not only about winning or earning titles; it’s about the experiences you share and the bond you strengthen through every practice and every challenge. Keep pushing forward, and enjoy every moment with your four-legged partner.

We hope to see you in the Conformation and Performance Ring!

Stella Keimon and CH Sunlit Miyagi’s Mate