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638 – Juniors’ Best Advice: Always Strive to Improve
17th June 2024 • Pure Dog Talk • Laura Reeves
00:00:00 00:29:39

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Juniors’ Best Advice: Always Strive to Improve

Octavia Stensen, Best Junior at Westminster Kennel Club this year, joins host Laura Reeves for the behind the scenes story of how a non-dog show kid just capped off the triple crown of junior showmanship, having also won Best Junior at the AKC National Championship and made finals in Juniors at Crufts. Stensen’s family acquired a Norwegian Buhund when she was 10 years old. Her first time in the ring left her in tears, but she persevered and nine years later she reached the pinnacle of the sport for juniors. “We ended up getting Fiona and she became our new pet but the one catch of it was that we had to get her grand champion," Stensen said. "I was like, ‘I'll do it. I don't even know what that means but I will do it. I don't even know what this entails or what I'm doing in this, but I am going to do it.' And so it started from there and it wasn't easy by any means. “I went to bed that night (after my first ring experience) thinking, I can do better and I can do better here and I could have done this and I'm gonna do that next time,” Stensen said. “And there was a next time, you know what I mean? There was like that idea of the future. “I did eventually get her Grand and she is now our pet and we have since then bred her and got my heart dog out of that, Pineapple.   [caption id="attachment_12963" align="alignleft" width="426"] Octavia Stensen with her mom and Pineapple after the WKC Best Junior win.[/caption] “I am so, so lucky both my mom and my dad have been so supportive, but my mom really steps up. My dad is like, I'll pay the bills, but my mom is like, I'm going to be here next to you and I'm going to travel with you to all of these things and I couldn't be more grateful for that. “They have definitely supported me in more ways than I could have ever, ever asked for. I mean, after winning at Orlando and walking out of the ring and then being like, so I guess I need to go to London now. And they were like, ‘okay, so let's figure out how we're going to finance that.’ Stensen’s advice to juniors coming up is always have fun and never stop improving. “It is so, so hard to get caught up in the competition and freaking yourself out and getting all nervous but this is meant to be fun. It's all for fun. We are coming to these things to have a good time, we're not coming to these things to torture ourselves with nerves. Listen to your mentors and your peers and you can always be better. You can consistently improve. I mean, there's never a moment in your life where you can stop getting better at things.”



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