WRENTHAM — A town resident and her two dogs are taking part in the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show this weekend.
Diane Marshall, 72, will be competing with her two Australian shepherds in the show Friday and Saturday in New York.
Marshall for several years has been competing in the popular dog sport agility with her dogs, Onee, 11, and Sage, 7.
In agility, handlers guide their dogs through an assigned course of obstacles such as jumps, weave poles, ramps and tunnels in a race against the clock.
The Westminster Kennel Club says the activity is designed to “demonstrate a dog’s willingness to work with its handler in a variety of situations. It is an athletic event that requires conditioning, concentration, training, and teamwork.”
This weekend, Marshall and her dogs are joining 350 canines at the show.
“It is a huge honor to be alongside the top dogs in the country at Westminster,” she said.
Formerly a competitive equestrian, Marshall started training in agility when Onee was 2 years old after her horse had a career-ending injury.
The duo qualified for the 2020 National Agility Championships, which was to be held in Georgia but was postponed due to COVID-19.
Considered to be a senior dog, Marshall worried that Onee may not get to compete in a major competition before retirement.
“This has been on my bucket list for years, and to be able to have both of my dogs step up to the starting line and compete is very exciting,” Marshall said.
The public can cheer for the Wrentham trio and watch the preliminaries streaming live from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday at westminsterkennelclub.org. The Masters Agility Championship Finals will be televised live from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday on FOX, FOX NOW App, and FOX Sports App.
The Westminster Kennel Club, established in 1877, is America’s oldest organization dedicated to the sport of dogs. Its all-breed Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is the second-longest, continuously held sporting event in the U.S., and since 1948, the longest nationally televised live dog show.