Wednesday, May 14, 2008

the show scene

It's been a busy spring around here for lots of reasons. Too much snow leads to too much mud. Then too much rain, again too much mud. David's been traveling, alot, too much for me. Alec's been here and there and everywhere. Me-well, had to stay home a lot and man the fort, though I have had a few weekends out and about showing and the vacation to KY for the BIG dog show.

This last weekend at the show, we had the good, the bad, the ugly and the what in the world are they thinking?

The good: Meredith finished her first dog! Eddie, aka Blue Bear, aka Edweirdo, aka Knock It Off, is now a champion. That girl beamed and it was a pleasure to see her smile so big in the ring. Usually she's so serious, that you have to tell her to smile. They then got a 4th place in her open junior class. Good weekend. Can't forget Kim's awesome grilling. Good conversation, good dogs and a good dinner. Can't ask for more then that. Though Moose made himself too much at home at Kim and Kathy's. I can't take that dog anywhere anymore.

The what were they thinking?: That's what everyone said about Russ or should I say his other personality Rosario. Talk about a wound up puppy. This boy was all over the place and told everyone just how hyper he was and and and and......My arm hurt after the show from trying to hold him still and keep his focus for more then a split second. Told the judge he needed a ten mile hike this morning and didn't get it. She giggled at me. We discussed at length later on about Russ-good discussion and she'll be seeing us in a while to show to again.

The bad and the ugly: They go hand in hand this weekend. First the bad weather-cold, wet and just plan ugly. Dogs couldn't get in a run, came in after a quick do their duty, and looked slightly damp and frizzy. Good thing I had the dryer with me.

At each and every show, there is a wide gamut of people and dogs, all with varying purposes. Enjoyment is one, competition is another or stupidity too. Some days I fit into the last category and will openly admit it. Take Des Moines in February--stupid, stupid, stupid. Lots of dogs are out there showing as "specials". Those are dogs that already have their championships and are now competing for points based on the number of dogs they beat in BOB, Groups and Best In Show. The total number of dogs they beat will add up to give them a ranking. Along with these specials, are a unique group of people we call handlers. The other group are the owner-breeder-handlers or owner-handlers. Those people out there showing their own dogs. Let's talk professional handlers for a moment.

Granted everyone has to make a living. Some people do it with honesty, some people do it with integrity and then there are those low lives or just plain idiots without a clue. Handlers can fit all or just a few of those rolls. Most of us assume(I hate that word) that professional handlers, mean just that. Tell you what, there are a few then there are those that want the win at an cost. The problem is that many of our judges, knowing the big bucks that these handlers get paid for the win, will reward a less then stellar dog. The reason-so that those handlers will show their high paid mutts to them again, assuring that the judge will get continued good assignments. It's a sorry side to the world of dog shows. We call it face judging or a judge who looks at the north end of the lead. Every sport or profession has something similar.

Now let's back track to- what were they thinking- and combine that with the bad and ugly. Lot's of us will look at a less then stellar special and wonder what in the world the judge saw in that dog, knowing full well he wasn't rewarding the dog but the handler. So lots of so-so dogs representing our breeds are out there showing, and the admiring public gets a perception that isn't quite right. But then you have the other handlers, those that will take on any dog in the name of money. I do a little handling myself. I learned the trade from a great handler who is also an honest handler. He is very willing to tell an excited owner that his or her dog just isn't made for the ring or don't waste your money on showing or paying me. I like that. Honesty, hum. Anyway, I'm upfront with a client about their dog-qualities I like, don't like and why the dog might not do well. They make the decision on showing their dog. What I don't get is the handler without a clue. Comes along as an owner handler then decides, hum to make a little money on the side or pay for my weekends, I need to show some dogs for others. Great idea, but when you can't even admit how crappy your own dogs are, what kind of handler and representative for an owner do you make? When you say you handle dogs and everything has an excuse why it doesn't win-usually the judge, not their lack of handling skills, the poor quality of the dog they are showing or the inability to bring in the ring a well trained reasonably in shape and well groomed dog?

I watched this weekend as one person after another, labeling themselves a handler, walked in to the ring totally oblivious to the ugly, poorly groomed, untrained and uncivilized dog on their lead. Then promoting themselves to others as a professional. What has this sport come to? Ugh, I swear it's so painful to watch, but yet amusing. They think so much of themselves, you can see the gloat on their faces, the puffed up chest. Kind of look like a prairie chicken doing their mating dance.

And why do I do this show thing every chance I get? Maybe it is the competition, but I think it's more fun doing the people watching. Maybe I should change careers and go into sociology? Studying human nature is so fun ;)

Later gators....

No comments: