Thursday, February 28, 2008

In The Ribbons

As you may have noticed, we show dogs. All kinds of dogs-bullmastiffs, german shorthair pointers, collies, pomeranians, brussels griffons, just to name a few. Now we don't raise all of them, cardigan welsh corgi is our breed, but we also handle for our friends on occasion. We do the whole run around the ring, act silly and get lots of pretty little ribbons. Always hoping for the yellow and purple ones, I guess I can settle for the white and blue ones too. All depends on the dog and the day.

By nature I'm not competitive. WRONG, I'm very competitive. I always want to win,don't we all? We want to grab that brass ring as the carousel horse goes around. We want that free ride, or to be the 1 in 10 winners of something when we take that pop top off the soda. But we can't always win. That's just life. What we do though have to strive for is getting the most out of what we do. Being satisfied with the end result. It should be also that the end result was obtained in such a way as no one was hurt along the way either. What the shame is those that seek perfection while missing out on the moment. Yes the wanting of it and wanting it now is rampant in the world. Where is the anticipation, where is the "all good things come to those that wait"?

What is it about our society today? Instant gratification. Just kills me. I love the wait at Christmas, I'm always the last to open up my presents as I want to make it last as long as possible. I sat in a meeting today at work about our Warranty procedures. Now I work for a company that not only does construction, but retail and service work. Ever heard of the customer is always right? That's what we hope that we can grant each and every time but it can't always happen. Our society today has this issue with either reading in between the lines to an extent of nausea or not reading enough of the big print and getting just what they want out of it. At this meeting that's exactly what came up. The customer walks in and says it's under warranty, don't care about why it really broke, but replace it, fix it or give me my money back. Even when the big bold print also said, warranty on parts only, not labor or it says warranty voided if part used in manner other then listed here, etc. You kind of get the point. We see it in the dog shows too. Instant gratification.

It's fun to watch people and their reactions at the shows. Those that have been around for ages, felt the ups and downs, the winnings, the losings. Many of them just go with the flow. But many don't, back to the instant gratification part. Now you also have the newbies all nervous and excited, curious and totally caught up in the whole affair. We sit around and people watch a lot at the shows. It's fun to pick out the well known handlers, the big winning dogs, size up the competition and see how people react to the whole process. To see the raspberry jacketed gentlemen and the women with the skirt up to there, shirt down to there, all to impress the judges, or is that influence? And yes it's true, dogs do look like their owners. Afghan people are as wispy as their dogs, whippet handlers are skinny, lithe and move with grace. We also have a fun game of watching a dog and then matching a person to the dog-who looks like a bulldog, which one of us is like the scottie. What is even more interesting is watching how the dog's react to the person holding their lead.

I've seen dogs who should have won go in the ring with an owner who lumbers around, quite set up themselves yet totally ignorant of the dog who is unsure about the situation. The dog slinks, sets back, looks worried and all the owner can do is pop the lead and grumble. Usually this is the same person who stuffs the ribbon in their pocket waiting to find the nearest trash can to dump it in. We not only need to be aware of what our dog is doing but also aware of ourselves. The best handler out there isn't always the one who boast a decade of experience showing a certain breed but it could be the kid with a her first dog that is serious about what she is doing in order to get the most out of her dog. And it's not about the ribbons, it's about being there, learning, and growing. Yes we strive for perfection but what is perfection and what will we do when we get it?

In every show there has to be winners and losers. Same in life. What really matters is how we handle those wins and loses. Do we blame the judge for not knowing a good dog when he sees it instead of realizing that they put more emphasis on something we don't? Are we gracious winners or horrible losers? I do hope that you are in the ribbons more often then not, but if you aren't, I hope you avoid the blame game and realize that life isn't about always winning, it's how we play the game.

Later gators.......

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