BOGOTA, N.J. — The strong bond between Bogota dog trainer Jodi Kellar and her seven-year-old beagle Maggie Moo has propelled the duo to the pinnacle of the dog training world: the Westminster Dog Show.
Kellar and Maggie's will compete among the finest dogs in the country in the agility competition on Saturday at Westminster.
Many locals know Maggie from the Bogota Library, where she listens as young readers practice their skills.
"It's very exciting to be competing," said Kellar, who runs Kellar's Canine Academy in Saddle Brook. "I hope we can make it to the final round where we will be on national TV so I can show the world what Maggie can do."
In the agility competition — which will be broadcast on FOX Sports — handlers and their dogs work together to properly navigate their way through an obstacle course as fast as they can.
"You have to build a communication with your dog so they understand where to go next and teach them how to go through the equipment," said Kellar, 40, who believes her award-winning beagle is up to the challenge.
"I've been training her since she was a puppy. She is a very strong and versatile dog," Keller said.
Maggie Moo competes at the master's level in agility competitions around the country.
She has earned an American Kennel Club's Canine Good Citizen Title, an Advanced Tricks Dog Title, a Pet Partner's Excellent Therapy Dog Title, and two Rally Obedience Master Championships.
She is also an accomplished animal actor and model, having appeared in over a dozen ads for pet products.
Kellar has taught in the West New York school system for the past 17 years. She said she opened Kellar's Canine Academy in 2005 because she has a passion for educating all species.
She loves the thrill of competing with her dogs most of all.
"It is an adrenaline rush to work an agility course and come off of it knowing you did great," she said. "I can't wait to play with Maggie at Westminster's Agility Championship Trial."