SPRINGFIELD, Mo. A barn full of straw and varmint to hunt mean Campbell is in heaven. The standard schnauzer is born to work, but, like most animals, he has to be pointed in the right direction. The person leading him is not only his trainer, but also his owner.
Jennifer Kimberlin spends hours, weeks, months, and years training all her dogs. Inside a small barn, straw is stacked and strewn about the floor. There even are mini-mountains and small tunnels constructed. Jennifer puts her pet rats in sturdy, ventilated tubes and hides them in various places throughout the straw.
With his nose leading, Campbell sniffs the rats out and alerts Jennifer. He’s so proficient, he, along with his brother Rooster who’s still learning, will tail it to New York City this week.
The dogs will join a small pack that is trained to hunt and kill rats on the streets of the Big Apple, where the city has long waged a war on the long-tailed rodents.
“I guess the garbage is picked up on Saturday mornings, so we’ll be going out Friday evening while the garbage is out ’cause it draws the vermin out,” explained Jennifer.
It’s an honor for her pups to nose through the trash, said Jennifer, because they were selected by an American Kennel Club judge for the job.
Their work doesn’t end there, though. Campbell and Rooster earned two tickets to paradise. “Couple days later they will be spit-polished, shined and go in and look like completely different dogs,” Jennifer said.
Both dogs will be competing in the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York. The brothers are in the standard schnauzer working group with 16 dogs. The pair has already won a number of prizes, but Westminster, as Jennifer puts it, is the “Super Bowl of dog shows.”
From the barn to the big show, Campbell and Rooster have already made their owner proud, but a Best in Show wouldn’t be too shabby either. “Its bragging rights,” Jennifer said. “That’s the honor of getting to go.”
Jennifer and her dogs also belong to the Ozarks Mischief Barn Hunt, which is a local chapter of the national Barn Hunt Association. Readers can learn more about the organization by copying and pasting the following into their URL: http://www.ozarksmischiefbarnhunt.org/practices.html
To follow Campbell and Rooster on their journey to Westminster, visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/TeamSketchbook/