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Small dogs bring home top honors

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By Kevin Hanson-The Courier-Herald

Rosie, Teddy and Bill make quite a team.

They have traveled the country picking up championships and enjoying daily practice sessions, all while living the idyllic life of the retiree. Based out of a home on wheels, they spend summers in Enumclaw but head for warmer climates when Plateau skies fill with rain.

Rosie and Teddy are alert, intelligent papillions. Bill Judge is their handler and, along with his wife, Dot, strives to get the most from his tiny teammates.

The crew has made a splash in the world of dog agility trials, where four-legged competitors run a course that includes ramps, tunnels and other obstacles. They recently returned from Gillette, Wyo., where Rosie was a champion and Teddy placed third in a national competition sponsored by the North American Dog Agility Council.

After returning to Enumclaw for a short stay, the Judges and their canine counterparts were on the road again, aiming for North Carolina and another show, with thoughts of spending the winter months in the Gulf Coast region of Texas.

The Judges became involved with papillions and agility training without a great deal of forethought.

“I had a moment of weakness,” Dot Judge admitted. They were raising a teenage granddaughter at the time and happened to be watching agility trials on television.

“It looked like a lot of fun,” she said.

Their granddaughter talked the Judges into getting her a dog, but the stipulation was that she would train the pet.

“She was 15 and a very good trainer,” Bill Judge said. And before long, he wanted to be part of the action.

The granddaughter has grown and moved on, but the dogs have stayed - along with the Judge's dedication to the agility-show lifestyle.

“We try to do about one a month,” Bill Judge said, noting that most competitions are in Washington and Oregon.

Rosie and Teddy, who share a common ancestry, get daily training sessions, which they look forward to.

“They look like they're smiling,” Bill Judge said. “They see the equipment and they start whining,” anxious to get out and run. On little legs, Rosie can cover as much as four yards per second and Teddy, a bit bigger, is even faster.

The Judges swear by the papillion, noting the breed is intelligent, loyal and fits their retired lifestyle.

“They're up for a 3-mile walk or they'll sleep all day,” Dot Judge said, praising the breed's easygoing demeanor.

“Papillions are like potato chips,” she concluded. “You can't have just one.”

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