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N.B.’s horseback riding, cowboy farm dog heads to prestigious Westminster dog show – Global News

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A farm dog from New Brunswick that rides horses is heading to the bright lights and big city this spring to compete at the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
“He probably is going to be the only cowboy at Westminster,” says Sharlene Hudson of Stilesville who owns Gunner, a six-year-old Swedish Vallhund, with her partner and dog handler, Jenn Clark.
The couple brought Gunner home from an Ontario breeder to be a farm dog. They also own horses, and one those, named Rookie, Gunner has taken to and even learned to ride.
“He just thinks he is the king up there,” Hudson says.
“He loves to get up on that horse and seem like he’s really big, overlooking everybody and saying, look at me riding my horse,” Clark adds.
Clark says while the couple have always thought Gunner is a handsome boy, they only realized just how prized he is when, while still just a pup, he placed best in breed at his first dog show.
Clark is hoping the farm dog, who has rather unexpectedly has been ranked number one in Canada in his breed by the Canadian Kennel Club for the last six years, will steal the show at Westminster this year.
But even more importantly, thanks to him, Hudson says she is now able to share the journey with him and her partner.
“I became house bound and just on the couch basically,” says Hudson, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. The former Canadian correctional officer says workplace stress brought on her illness and she was too anxious to leave the farm for years.
“Shar did not want to leave home for the longest time. She did not feel comfortable going out into the world,” Clark says.
But Gunner’s love and loyalty, Hudson says. has been her “light.” The whole family will be headed off to dog show in May in New York state, with Hudson feeling grateful that she is now able to go along for the ride.
“It is a dream that we both had for many years now and finally the dream is coming true,” says Hudson, who is hoping that Gunner will be the first of his breed to take home best in show.
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