Fleming Island Girl is Top Junior Dog Handler

The following article appeared in Clay Today on Thursday, June 21, 2012

Rebecca Grinsel and her puppy, Kane, a Belgian Tervuren receive award from dog show judge.

By Christina Leach Phillips


FLEMINGISLAND– Although Rebecca Grinsel, 13, entered her first dog show competition with her puppy, Kane, a Belgian Tervuren, only seven months ago, the team of two has taken the dog show circuit by storm.

Rebecca recently won the Top Conformation Junior Handler Award from the American Belgian Tervuren Club (ABTC), making her the number one junior handler of Belgian Tervurens in the country.  She also ranks as the 25th top junior in the herding group in the country, and she won three number one spots in the Novice handling class in juniors.

Kane, whose show name is Bilgay’s Eye of the Hurricane, is ranked as the number seven Belgian Tervuren in the country. He has also received 11 Best of Winners, eight Best of Breed awards, two Best Puppy-Best of Breeds awards. He got a Best Puppy Group Two and Group Four in Best Puppy Competition, and he was recently awarded Herding Group Three and Group Four Awards at the Greater Orange Park Dog Club in Elkton, Fla.

The competitions have taken them throughoutFlorida, andLouisville,Ky., and this summer, Rebecca will show Kane inWest Virginia and South  Carolina.

“When we started out with a six-month-old puppy and a 12-year-old girl, the professionals and the people we knew said not to get our expectations up too high,” said Rebecca’s mother, Angela Grinsell. “Rarely judges pick puppies over full-grown mature adult dogs, especially with a child handling.  The very first week she went out and showed at a three-day show, and on the third day, Kane got his first champion points.  It was quite an accomplishment.”

Rebecca, a seventh grader in the gifted program at Green Cove Springs Jr. High School, said, “I’m very proud of Kane.  It’s very fun to get out there and to show off your dog.”

Rebecca became interested in dog show competitions when she and her mother took the family’s Siberian Husky to an obedience class.

“The trainer said that I was very good at handling my dog,” Rebecca said.

After attending some dog shows, Rebecca began looking for an AKC dog to show. She chose Kane from a litter of purebred Belgian Tervuren puppies.

“She bonded with Kane immediately, and he was hers,” said Angela Grinsell. “From the day we brought him home from S.C., we knew which dog had picked her.”

The Belgian Tervuren is a very intelligent breed that is very loyal and protective of their owners, according to Grinsell.

Rebecca said,” Kane is very bonded to me and very protective of me, but he is not over the top. . . He was never really a bouncing off the wall kind of puppy, which is really good for the showing.”

Her mother said Rebecca and Kane are a team.  “He’s at her side, ready and willing to learn and to interact with her, and has been since he was seven weeks old,” she said. “Everything she asks of him, he gives her.”

Rebecca trains Kane in both conformation and agility. To prepare for the shows, Rebecca takes special classes, and she is required to do everything needed to prepare her dog to show, including grooming, and paying entry and travel fees. She helps to pay for these costs by pet sitting and has started a dog washing service.

“Rebecca has a natural connection with about every critter you meet,” her mother said. ”They just seem to love to follow her home.”

And at home, Rebecca has a menagerie of other pets to take care of.  “We have three other dogs, two guinea pigs, and a cat,” said her mom. “We’re very well rounded in the pet department.”

When Rebecca turns 18, she plans to go on to adult showings.  “Juniors is a place where you can build your skills and find out what you need to improve on,” she said.

She hopes one day to receive an invitation to the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, the world famous dog show event that takes place each year inNew York City.

And what are her future plans?  “I want to be a vet,” she said.