Source: The Star (Extract)
Posted: January 13, 2021

Recently returned from performing in Montreal, a local dog trainer prepares to head overseas to compete in the world’s largest dog show.

Jennifer Fraser is set to compete at Crufts, an international dog show hosted annually in the United Kingdom.

“I’m actually the first North American to be invited to perform in freestyle, so that’s what I have been filling my days with because I only have two months to prepare,” explained Fraser. “I’ve actually never performed in freestyle before. Basically, that’s dog dancing – I’ve done lots of segments and putting together dog dances for the musical and for Superdogs and I’ve been doing that for a couple of years now, but freestyle is a four-minute full routine under very strict judging rules.”

To qualify for an invitation, Fraser was required to submit an application – something she does every year, before waiting to hear whether her application had been accepted and if she would be allowed to compete.

She said the news came in while she was in Montreal working on the Superdog Musical.

“I had no time to do anything to prepare … (after Christmas), I spent 20 hours alone just working on the song (and the choreography) and now I have about eight weeks to train myself and my dog to do that whole routine to perfection,” said Fraser. “I’m (in) way over my head, but I’m going to have as much fun with it as I can. I’m going to soak in all the experience, I’m going to learn from it, for sure.”

Fraser will be competing against 11 other countries and will be taking one of her six dogs with her to perform.

She added for her, it’s not the judges she worries about, but rather completing the performance to a standard that she’s happy with.

“Even though I’m competing with 11 other countries, I’m really just making sure that I can do the whole routine with my dog, have it nice and smooth and have it work for us,” she said. “That’s my main goal and if the judges like it, then that’s just icing on the cake.”

The hope is that the attention bartered from participating at Crufts will catapult Fraser into other projects closer to home.

“I am hoping that Crufts will be the first step to me going down to the States and doing dog dancing competitions on TV … putting together my own show for dog dancing, so it’s blossoming into more opportunities for me to have fun with my dogs.”

This whole experience follows right on the tail of the Superdogs musical, another first for Fraser, which she performed at the Segal Centre. During that show, over 20 dogs were among the on-stage cast.