Vicksburg woman to chair Magnolia Classic Dog Show

Published 10:23 am Wednesday, September 5, 2012

After Leah Harris’ dachshund saved her life eight years ago, she vowed to always have one of the lovable animals in her house and to give back to the dog community any way she could.

This year the Vicksburg resident is chairman of the Magnolia Classic Dog Show at the Mississippi State Fairgrounds in Jackson Sept. 15-16, sponsored by the Mississippi State Kennel Club.

Eight years ago, while she was living in Jackson an arsonist set fire to her home and her 11-year-old dachshund, Harlea, came to her rescue Harris said.

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Harris is deaf in one ear and said it was the dog’s scratching and sniffing that alerted her that something was awry.

“I never heard anything going on,” Harris said.

Both escaped without injury and Maxmillion’s Harlea Brown was awarded the AKC Award for Canine Excellence, Exemplary Companion Dog for saving his owner’s life.

Harris now lives in Vicksburg and said after the incident she started entering Harlea in various dog shows, including dachshund field trail competitions, where dogs are put on the scent of a rabbit and judged on how well they can track it.

When she purchased her second dachshund, Ballard, Harris said Harlea even helped train the new dog to alert her of danger.

“Harlea trained Ballard from a pup to hear for me, things like storm sirens, which I am no longer able to hear,” she said.

Harris has shown Ballard in dog conformation shows, which like the famous Westminster Dog Show, judges breed-specific dogs based on an ideal breed type instead of comparing one dog to another.

Harris said many of the trainers who show at the Magnolia Classic have even gone on to show at Westminster.

She said the state’s largest dog show is not only a chance for trainers to earn points toward a national ranking, it’s also an excellent chance for people who are interested in showing dogs to get involved.

“If you’re interested in the sport it’s a good place to meet people and get started,” Harris said, adding they can learn more about the different breeds and talk to the handlers.

Harris won’t be entering a dog in the show, but fellow Vicksburg resident Larry Barnett, the owner of three standard long-haired dachshunds, is signed up and ready to show.

“I do approximately 30 shows a year,” Barnett said.

He and his wife, Kay, are hoping the upcoming show will garner their dog Dekah a championship title.

Barnett’s other dogs Greta and Ty already hold championship titles.

The Magnolia Classic will feature two conformation shows, obedience trials and a variety of classes and seminars.

Admission to the show is free, but donations are accepted.

If you go

The Magnolia Classic Dog Show, sponsored by the Mississippi State Kennel Club is scheduled Sept. 15-16 at the Mississippi State Fairgrounds, 1207 Mississippi St., Jackson. For more information and a complete list of events visit