347 — Tracy Szaras: “Pretty Good, but it’s Not Perfect Yet”

Tracy Szaras: “It Looks Pretty Good, but it’s Not Perfect Yet”

Professional handler Tracy Szaras, whose Hungarian heritage leads her mother to describe her as a “real Gypsy,” says the pursuit of perfect is her secret to success.

Szaras showed her first dogs in grade school, because her mom showed dogs. Her mom was a great trainer, Szaras said, who helped her process questions. Mom taught her proper conditioning and basic animal husbandry.

Szaras’ first breed is Lakeland Terriers, so her mom took her to Montgomery County Kennel Club for the first time almost 30 years ago.

Montgomery County started it all

“I saw all these dogs looking awesome, everybody dressed to the nines. I really got into it that weekend. That next year I went to work for Greg Strong. I thought I knew how to pull hair until I went there. He showed me how to do flatwork, to do it correctly. I became driven. Greg taught me more, about trimming, skittish dogs, etc. I learned a lot in a short time.

“Then I went to Bergit Coady and learned about low-legged terriers.  On my days off I went to Gabriel Rangel‘s kennel to learn more.

“I was a sponge. I didn’t even date. All I wanted to do was learn and know everything about terriers.

“I learned detail work from Gabriel. Learned by watching. I learned to trim, especially heads, from Gabriel.

“I thought I was going out on my own. Next came Maripi Wooldridge. When she was considering quitting, she wanted me to take over her clients.

“I was amazed. I thought I’d learned all I could. There’s always something to learn. Now, I’m always looking. It looks pretty good, but it’s not perfect yet. I want to be the best. I don’t want to shortcut anything, thanks to Maripi.