Senior Moments: Amber Short '08

Dog person 2.0

by Mary Boone

Hometown: Tacoma

Major: English

How she spent the dog days of summer: As an intern in the American Kennel Club’s Raleigh, N.C., offices. Short was assigned to the AKC’s Coonhound Events department, which plans and facilitates night hunts, field trials, water races, and more.

“I didn’t know much about coonhounds. They are breeds with their own subculture, so I learned a lot,” she says.

During her eight-week internship, Short did a lot of design work and writing. She created both the T-shirt for the AKC’s first Coonhound Youth Hunt and Show and the Web site for the AKC’s coonhound youth division. Her Web skills—honed as a work-study student in Puget Sound’s communications office—impressed her supervisors enough that they asked her to work on the AKC’s main coonhound site.

Objects of her affection: Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. “They’re adorable, sweet, very trainable, and their eyes are so soulful,” Short says. Her specific love is 8-year-old AKC Champion Rosscrea Citizen Kane, aka “Alfie.”

Doggone connections: Short was showing dogs through 4-H when she first learned about the AKC. As a high school student, she began volunteering at Covington Cavaliers in Orting, Wash., where she cleaned pens, groomed, and shampooed dogs. Kennel owner Heidi Mohn, one of the nation’s top Cavalier breeders, became her mentor.

“Working with Heidi has been amazing,” she says. “I’ve been able to learn the differences in the lines, and I have a real appreciation for everything that goes into breeding decisions.”

Alfie is retired from the show ring, but Short continues to show for and work with Mohn. She’s also won AKC scholarships for the past four years.

By the book: Short is honored to be a contributor to The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, in Fact and Fancy (Cascade Publications, 2007) by Barbara Garnett-Wilson. She was asked to write a chapter about junior showmanship. Short and Alfie also are pictured in the 300-page book.

Dog person vs. Dog lover: Dog lovers, according to Short, enjoy being around dogs. They walk, brush, and play with their dogs. They may even talk to their dogs. A dog person, on the other hand, has a drive and passion to learn everything they can about dogs. “In the dog world, a dog person is a sort of scholar of dogs,” she says.

For the record, Amber Short is a dog person.

After graduation: Short has parlayed her love for dogs and her knack for Web design into a part-time job designing Web pages for breeders and other dog-related businesses.

“It started when I looked at Heidi’s Web site and told her I thought I could make it better,” says Short. “I redesigned it, and once it went live I started getting e-mails from other breeders who liked what they saw and wanted me to do the same thing for them.”

“I’ve been averaging a site a month —not all of them dog-related—which is about all I can handle while I’m in school,” she says. “Once I graduate, I’ll work on this full time. I’m excited that something I like doing so much is such a viable career.”