Dog Gone Gifted Girls
Photography (top) by Christian Lee | Additional Photos Provided by Dog Gone Sensational
Pictured above (L to R): Addison (left), Janet Rohn (middle), Kadence (right)
Life is full of surprises. For instance, this article is supposed
to be about show dogs, but it’s not going to be. Let me explain.
When I arrived at Janet Rahn’s farm in Ridgeland, where Dog Gone Sensational, a sprawling, professional dog training, boarding and grooming facility, is located, I was there to see the top AKC Spanish water dogs in America. Dog Gone is known for their show dogs and co-own/train seven of the top 10. In fact, their dog Jango is the No. 1 Spanish water dog and has his own Facebook page, with more than 58,000 likes.
As I stood outside of a large fenced-in area, admiring the corded-hair canines and learning which dog was who, two little heads popped out from behind Janet, their grandmother, who they affectionately call Bows. Twins Addison and Kadence Lancaster introduced themselves.
“I’m Addison. I’m the oldest…by a minute. They call me Drama. Don’t even try to get a splinter out of my foot,” said the first one.
Then the second one said, “Hi! I’m Kadence. They call me bug, short for Katiebug. I’m the mechanic.” When I asked how old they are, they said in unison, “Seven and a half. We’ll be 8 in June.”
And that is when the story took a back road and became about two of the most impressive little girls I’ve ever met. Don’t be sad. I’ll still include some stuff about the dogs, because you can’t have Janet Rahn as your grandmother and Chelsy Lancaster, Dog Gone’s Business Manager, as your mom, and your life story not include dogs.
Talking to Addison and Kadence is like talking to adults—only better. They tell it all! No filters, no shame, and no pride holding them back, they are just matter-of-fact in an extra adorable way.
Kadence spoke first in her bold, yet sweet voice, “If you want to know something interesting about me, the first time I showed a female dog, I took ‘select’ everyday. I showed Bella, one of the Spanish Water Dogs,” adding, while pointing, “It was important not to lose to that puppy.”
Both Addison and Kadence travel with Janet and Chelsy to shows, mostly in Florida, Georgia, SC and NC. They are not old enough to show in the Junior’s category yet, so they compete with the adults. Not only do they win—and want to win—they also put the work in to get their animals ready for the show. But it’s not all about winning; they really love their dogs.
“We work a lot. We get up and help feed all the animals.” (Which includes a maniacal mix of barnyard animals, wildlife rescues and dogs…lots of dogs). “After we do school (the girls are homeschooled), we work with the dogs about an hour every day,” they both explained.
It’s already apparent these girls are different from their peers. Are you kidding…they get up early and have to feed a menagerie of animals, and do so willingly and cheerfully? Their work ethic is to be commended. Their mother chimes in and says, “The girls have very little access to technology. No cell phones and very little TV.” That is probably why they can carry on whip-smart conversations with adults they just met.
The girls both have what they call their own dogs. Kadence shows a whippet named Sharpie, a toy fox terrier named Camo, and Bella. Addison shows a miniature American shepherd named Pyro, a toy fox terrier named Cheer, and a Spanish water dog named RiRi. Of course, they all have their AKC names, but on the farm, everyone gets a nickname.
Excited to show me their dogs, Kadence took off in the golf cart to get Sharpie (Yes. She drove like a pro.) and Addison ran off into the boarding building to get Pyro. Addison reappeared first telling us all about Pyro. A few minutes later Kadence showed up, beaming with excitement, with Sharpie on the seat beside her. It’s apparent they are so excited about their dogs and don’t think twice about fulfilling the responsibilities that come with the territory. They help pack everyone up, clean the RV, charge the golf cart, wash and groom the dogs and trot the dogs. It’s not for the faint at heart.
Not only do the girls show in Best of Breed, they work in agility courses, Barn Hunt trials, Lure Coursing and Dock Diving. Addison explained what Barn Hunt is, “There are tubes hidden in a hay bale maze, and a rat is in one of them, and the dog has to find the rat.” Kadence chimed in, “Want me to go get a tube or a rat to show you?”
Another fun project the Dog Gone Sensational crew is involved in is their 12-year old Border Collie named Surge landed a starring role in an upcoming big time movie, which was filmed in Myrtle Beach and Florence, SC. Apparently the dog that had been cast wouldn’t work and Janet got a call, “Do you have a dog that can ride a skateboard?” Of course she did, and voilà, a star is born! “Life has been blessed by these dogs. The most amazing opportunities come because of them,” Janet said. (We’ll let you know closer to release more about the movie.)
I have known Janet for years after meeting her at Heritage Animal Hospital with a baby opossum. Many people know of her love for animals, her excellent reputation in the dog world, and the integrity in which she runs her business, but I want to give her kudos on being the matriarch of three generations of strong women. She is passing along traditions, character, values, sense of accomplishment and most of all love. She, Chelsy and the twins operate together like a well-oiled machine. And the girls have the utmost respect for her.
I asked the girls what goal they are working toward. Both said, with beautiful smiles and a hint of mischief, “I want to beat Bows!”