Annaka Miller poses Sunday with a whippet, Maggie, at the Southern Maine Coastal Classic Dog Show at the Cumberland Fairgrounds. Joe Charpentier/Sun Journal

GRAY — Annaka Miller of Gray and her border collie/whippet mix, Cody, have been chosen to compete in July at the Kennel Club UK’s Junior Open Agility World Championship in the United Kingdom.

Miller, the first and only youth competitor from Maine to make the American Kennel Club Junior Open Agility World Team, was chosen along with Cody for the intermediate team, and with corgi mix, Shamu, as an alternate for the small dog team.

With several family members active in dog showing and obedience training, Miller, 16, grew up showing dogs from the time she was 2½ years old. Her experience goes so far back, she said, that she cannot remember the early days of training and running the courses. Miller began training in earnest at 6 years old with Shamu.

“I trained him myself,” said Miller, a sophomore at Gray-New Gloucester High School. “My dream job was to train Shamu, the killer whale, so mom got me a corgi.”

It was not a disappointment either, Miller said. She also trained Shamu to compete in flyball, a relay course that has hurdles and a box that launches a ball to be retrieved and returned by running the course backwards.


Annaka Miller and her border collie/whippet mix, Cody, run a course during a local competition. Linda Cunningham Photography

Miller also competes with Cody in flyball, dock diving and lure coursing. Both have run in an ESPN Dog Day flyball competition.

The Millers have six dogs at home, all of which compete, including an Australian shepherd, a miniature Australian shepherd, a Portuguese podengo, two border collie/whippet mixes and a corgi mix.

Annaka said her dogs are Shamu, Cody and Leo the podengo, which she shows in conformation competitions. Conformation is the exhibition of a breed’s standard traits.

Miller competes with the rest of the pack and even other handlers’ dogs in several competitions, including agility, flyball, conformation, dock diving, lure coursing, barn hunt and trick training.

She said the smallest dog she has shown is a chihuahua and the largest a borzoi. Much of her training is due to the efforts of Jordyn Baker of Glorious Agility and Cindy Lester of Partners in Canine and several clubs, including the Mid-Coast Kennel Club of Maine, Miller said.

Cody, a border collie/whippet mix, balances on a beam as Annaka Miller guides him through a course during a local competition. Linda Cunningham Photography

It is hard to put a finger on all the high points about training, showing and raising dogs because all of it is fun, Miller said.


“It all just feels like I’m meant to do it,” she said. “It doesn’t feel like it’s anything different, anything really big, I guess. And every once in a while, you get a nice win or someone will notice you and compliment you on your skills and (recognize) your hard work.”

Miller has participated in many shows and competitions across the United States and Canada, but she has yet to travel overseas. Her upcoming trip from Logan International Airport in Boston to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport will be her first flight since early childhood. Then the Millers, with Cody and Shamu in tow, will make the 10-hour trip by taxi from Paris to Rugby, England, about two hours northwest of London.

Miller said she expects it will be an adventure.

Miller will have one more year for a shot at the AKC Junior World Team, but things are uncertain for after high school. One thing is for sure: Her future will not involve veterinarian science.

“I’m just too soft a personality,” she said. “But I know I’ll probably at some point go for the (AKC) adult teams.”

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