When you first meet Hester, at least to the untrained eye, she doesn’t look as polished as you might think a show dog would look. But Hester is a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, and according to her handler, Kevin Bednar, Hester’s wild, unusual look is precisely what she’s going for.
“They are supposed to look very disheveled, as if they haven't been brushed at all. Their look is ungroomed, unkempt even.”
Kevin and his wife are a team and have been handling show dogs together ever since meeting in high school at — where else — a dog show. Today their dog Hester is competing in the Sporting Group. According to Kevin, “Griffons - and Hester in particular - are very playful and very energetic. They have lots of energy and a natural prey drive so they always want to retrieve for you.”
And perhaps because he and his wife bonded over dogs, they know the connection they share with their number of dogs, including Hester, is everything. Says Kevin, “If you have no bond with your dog, they won't do anything for you. The greater the bond, the more they want to do and the more they want to perform for you.”
That yearning to show is a trait all their dogs share, Kevin says. “Once they are on the grooming table they can't wait to get to the ring. And once they are in the ring, they want to be the best they can be. They love it!”
Almost all the handlers speak to the importance of forging a bond with their dogs. But one other fairly common observation among handlers here is that their dogs know the difference between winning and losing. “When they win, they love to jump on the podium and get a picture. It's pretty funny.”
It’s the competitive spirit that first drew Kevin to dog shows. “You always want to win. It's the most fun part of the day — competing to win.”
To gain even the smallest edge, Kevin looks at everything in his dogs’ regimen, right down to the last kibble. He feels Purina® Pro Plan® allows his dogs to be their best. “They get great coats from it, and they have great energy. I love it.”
For a man who met his wife at a dog show, it’s not a stretch to say that dogs are a family business — emphasis on family. “They are very much part of our family,” Kevin says “They go outside and go for runs with us. Whether we’re on the road or at home, they’re a big part of our lives.
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