INDIAN RIVER COUNTY, Fla. - Primped, prepped and polished. That's what it takes to be a champion.
It's the night before the Treasure Coast Kennel Club all breed dog show. Professional handler Maureen Jewitt is grooming a happy cocker spaniel outside her camper at the Indian River County Fairgrounds. "So sweet," she said, as the dog licked her face.
"We don't pull them out the backyard and bring them to a dog show," said Maureen's husband, Frank Jewitt. Handling is a family business. The couple's daughter Caitlin, 10, shows dogs, too.
The trio travels around the country, taking people's dogs and making them champions in the ring.
"It's dog owners that are really proud of their dogs, and they want that, that championship, at the beginning of their names," said Frank.
This weekend, the family from Citra, Florida will stay at the Indian River County fairgrounds for the dog show. To get here took hours behind the scenes.
"It's conditioning, nutrition, grooming, training. For that five minutes you see in the ring, we put in 18-hour days," said Frank.
The family is home less than 10 weekends a year. Caitlin showed for the first time at six-years-old. She's home schooled and completes most of her school work inside the camper.
"Dogs are pretty much what our life is," she said.
The Jewetts are showing 11 dogs this weekend at the fairgrounds. More than 800 dogs are signed up for the weekend-long show, which goes from 9-5 on both Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free.
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