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Saturday 17 August 2019
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Juliana Palmer : Junior Showmanship Dog Handler

A t 14 years old, Juliana Palmer already has an impressive resume. She’s an eighth-grader at South Effingham Middle School
who is active in soccer, band and Future Farmers of America. After school and on the weekends, she is involved in a sport that
many kids her age know nothing about. Juliana is an American Kennel Club (AKC) Junior Showmanship dog handler who is well
on her way to making a name for herself and building a successful future that is sure to take her places.
With all of her and her dog’s titles, ribbons, trophies and award rosettes, it’s hard to believe that it was only two years ago that
Juliana entered the world of dog showmanship and dog sports. Her mother, Kathryn Palmer, recalls seeing an advertisement for
a local dog show and decided to take Juliana. Kathryn, a dog handler herself, says her daughter showed a zealous interest in the
sport. “She took a junior handler training class and loved it. We had French Bulldogs that she worked with and she won Best
Junior in Show her very first time in the ring,” says Kathryn. Juliana then went on to participate in her first real sanctioned
breed conformation show where she won Best of Breed with her French Bulldog, Remix. You might say the rest is history.
In no time, Juliana was attending more shows and showing the Palmer family’s French Bulldogs of South Peach Frenchies.
“Ever since I was little, I always wanted to do something with animals. It’s great that I get to work with these amazing dogs every
day,” beams Juliana. “They are so smart, so cute and funny. It’s amazing to work with them because they really enjoy it and I get
something out of it – achievement. I know that winning isn’t everything, and no matter the outcome of judging, my dog is still
my number one dog.”
When asked what it’s like inside the ring, Juliana’s face lights up. While she says it can be stressful and nerves can creep up, she
is more excited than nervous. “It’s so much fun just talking to the dog before you get in the ring and then being so focused when
you get in there. There’s a lot to focus on and I have to make sure my dog’s best qualities are noticed by the judge in my
presentation,” says Juliana.
Juliana started out showing French Bulldogs and has since added Kerry Blue Terriers to her resume in order to work with
another breed she loves and to learn advanced coat grooming. There’s a higher level of skill that comes with working with
Mystique, her Kerry Blue Terrier whom she’s trained from the beginning. “I’ve learned so much already and there is still so much
for me to learn,” admits Juliana. There’s no doubt she will continue to learn because she is dedicated and passionate about what
she does with her dogs. “Seeing her evolve and grow in the sport has been amazing. Her natural ability and her connection with
the dogs is simply amazing. I see a bright future ahead of her in representing the breeds she works with and continuing the
passion behind preserving purebred dogs. As a mom, it’s my role to help her reach her goals and be successful in this sport she
loves so much. It all leads to great opportunities for her future,” smiles Kathryn.
Juliana has tremendous family support from her parents and her two brothers. Juliana has the support of her local Savannah
AKC Kennel Club that her family is a member of. Her mother, Kathryn, currently holds the position of President of the Club. She
also has the support from her junior showmanship mentor and Kerry Blue Terrier breed expert, Tuesday Hanna. Tuesday is a
certified master groomer who has competed on GroomTeam USA. She’s also a professional all-breed handler, a Kerry Blue
Terrier breeder, and owns a mobile grooming business in Savannah called T.C.H. Grooming. When she met Juliana, she
immediately saw potential. “She is a natural that has a noticeable connection with the dogs she works with. She is soft, not
heavy-handed and caring,” says Tuesday. “She also doesn’t get easy dogs to work with and she puts in the work necessary for her
and the dog to be successful.”
Juliana is the one who is training, grooming and working daily to “finish” her dogs. Most days that means putting in work
after she gets out of soccer practice at 6 p.m. and on weekends. Because Juliana and Tuesday are co-owners of the Kerries
Juliana shows, the dogs often are shared between time in both homes. Tuesday and Kathryn are impressed with the drive and
passion Juliana exudes and the fact that she never complains about the amount of work she has to put in. “She makes a lot of
sacrifices to do what she loves. She has a good balance between a normal teenager life during the week and the dog show world
on the weekends, but she does miss out on things like sleepovers with her friends at home because she travels so much,” says
Kathryn. Juliana doesn’t let those missed sleepovers get her down and talks about all the friends (other junior handlers) she has
made at the shows. “I have met and made many friends while attending shows, so I get to see those friends also and that makes it
fun.”
It’s those same junior handlers that her mother says look up to Juliana for her dedication and shared passion they have found
together. Tuesday says top handlers have taken notice of Juliana’s skills, too. “Some of the top handlers are wanting to work with
her and will ask her to assist them often at shows. They are taking notice of her natural abilities and desire
to learn,” says Tuesday. Along with breed conformation, Juliana is also competing in AKC companion sports, such as Fast CAT,
Lure Coursing and is beginning Obedience. French Bulldog in the Nation and number 2 Lifetime Fastest French Bulldog on
record by the AKC. FAST CAT ® stands for Coursing Ability Test, a timed 100-yard dash where dogs run one at a time, chasing a
bunny lure. Just recently while in Florida, Juliana won Best Junior and Best Junior in Cluster during a large show.
Shows, which consume most of Juliana’s weekends, have her traveling to many places. She’s been to Florida, South and North
Carolina, Illinois, Alabama and all throughout Georgia just to name a few places. Her family and all the dogs travel with her in
their motorhome that they stay in while on the road. Her plan for this year is to attend and compete in the AKC National
Championship Junior Competition in Orlando, Florida, in December. She is required to have five or more first place wins in her
Junior Class to attend, which she has already qualified for. After that competition, her sights are set for Westminster Kennel
Club Dog Show, an all-breed conformation show that is held in New York City. It’s an honor to be invited and the invitation isn’t
just handed to you. Juliana will need a total of seven Best Junior wins and a 3.0 grade point average to attend. Tuesday has no
doubt she will meet her goals. She has already achieved two Best Junior wins and has many upcoming opportunities to compete
for her final five. “The handler is judged in juniors, not the dog. Juliana is so knowledgeable for just doing this only two years. I
know she will continue to learn and do great things,” adds Tuesday.
Juliana’s future is definitely a bright one. She’s a teenager, who when dressed in the suit that she wears while in the ring, looks
more like a young adult, and has the attitude it takes to go far in life. She wants to go to college to be a reproductive veterinarian,
which is a veterinarian with advanced training and expertise in the field of reproductive health, and responsible breeding and
genetic practices. For now, though, she is enjoying her teenage years and the opportunities in front of her. “My favorite part is to
be able to get the opportunity to work with dogs. I love that my dogs can be so goofy and run around and be the perfect family
dog, and then when they are in the ring, they are the smartest in the world. I love finding the most potential in the dogs.”