Friday, December 11, 2009
MISSING OUT ON ALL THE FUN?
Dog shows should be fun. For some people it is and then for others, it’s all about the winning and nothing else seems to matter. These are the people who are missing out on all the fun. Sure a dog show is a competition and everyone wants to win. But the fact of the matter is, not everyone is going to win. Maybe on a different day, but today might not be that day! So do you drive away angry that your dog lost or do you accept the fact that today was not the day for him to win under this judge?
The fun part of showing is the socialization with the different spectators and exhibitors. This is a time to play catch up with the latest gossip. It’s a time to talk about your new litters that you have planned. It’s a great time to promote your young stud dog. It’s a time to compare notes about the different attributes and hindrances in a certain bloodline.
Going to a dog show is a “feel good” type of experience. Some people truly only go to a dog show to win. That’s it. Nothing more. I know a very successful breeder who told me just that. He comes. He shows. He leaves. Then it’s on to the next show.
In my opinion, a dog show is so much more than just showing your dog. Sure, that’s the main reason one goes to a show, but it shouldn’t be the only reason. If it is, in my opinion, you’re missing out on some of the good stuff. I think its great fun when after the show is over that many of the exhibitors get together and go out for dinner. It’s not unusual to see twenty or more people squeezing around a table at a local restaurant. What great conversation takes place at these tables. It can be educational and oh so much fun! Get some of the people in the breed that have been around for a long time and get ready for some very interesting tails and tidbits!
Some of my fondest memories in dogs have been the parties that I put on or was invited to. Everybody is in a good mood. Good food, good conversation and good fun! We used to take videos of some of our parties and looking back on some of them, it saddens me that some of those people are no longer with us. I’m also grateful for those who still are.
We celebrated championship parties, ROM parties, New Years Eve and any other excuse to have a get together with our dog friends. We danced, we ate, we laughed, and we were having lots of fun together. Sometimes the dogs would steal a morsel or two off of someone’s plate, but who cared; we were just enjoying one another’s company.
Other ways to have fun in this dog game are the training classes. Here is where like minds come together hoping to achieve the same thing……a well trained dog. Someone teaches the class, many others give tips on how to handle a certain problem and sometimes someone else will take your dog in the training ring just so the dog is used to someone else handling him. Again we come to train our animals, but here too is another fun way to socialize with our peers. We exchange ideas. We help one another. And then maybe afterwards we all go out for a cup of coffee and enjoy some engaging conversation.
The same thing can be true when you belong to a breed club. Sure your objective is to talk about business and the proper way to run a club. But here is another opportunity for people to come together and talk and listen to one another’s view points. Normally coffee and donuts might be served. People take their cup of coffee and find a place to sit and listen to the night’s agenda. The young can learn from those who have been in the breed for some time. The seasoned “old timers” can learn from the young by listening to their concerns about the breed. A healthy back and forth exchange can be enlightening for both parties. The breed club should be a place of goodwill for all who come. All should be encouraged and welcomed.
Anytime you go to a big week-end of shows, most people will have to stay over at a hotel or in their motor home. Normally the hotel will have a bar and restaurant on the premises. Here you will find many dog people engaging in interesting conversation and usually welcome you to join them. You’ll find many people gather like this at the National Specialty show held once a year. This is a time for people to see other people who they normally couldn’t because of distance. It’s also a great time to meet new people. Most people have wonderful times at the National because of the availability of many people from all over the country gathering in one place.
Another fun time to be had is when local breeders get together at someone’s home to look at and help evaluate someone’s litter. Oh my gosh, I was so very lucky to live in an area that had some good breeders close enough so we could do this. It was me, Marge Dolan, Doris Farrell, Nancy Vaught and Edie Trocki (Edie & Bob would have the best Super Bowl parties)! We would get together for lunch and chit chat about all the stuff dog people talk about……bloodlines, shows, handlers, breeders, etc. Then we would go outside and look at puppies or older youngsters. Most of the time Nancy would gait the pups. She was good at that. The rest of us would “ooooh and awww” over the screaming, jumping, clawing “most definitely” not trained puppies. Geez, this was some of my fondest memories in dogs. It was the people. Not the dogs. The people were the ones who made it fun!
So as I said, if you are not having fun in this dog game, you are most definitely missing out on a lot of what makes this all worthwhile. The showing of dogs is not just about the showing of dogs! It’s about the people you meet. It’s about the friends you make and especially those who become life long friends. I have been fortunate to have some very long standing friendships in this breed that I am most grateful for. I miss those who are no longer with us. I can vividly see them standing up and talking at a club meeting. I can see them running around outside of a ring double handling their dog. I can still hear their voices over the telephone saying “Hello Barbara dear.” I can hear their hearty laughter. I can turn around and see their smile, feel their tap on my back for encouragement and I can still see the twinkle in their eye about something they may have said naughty about someone else’s dog. They are the ones who have made the showing of dog’s lots of fun, and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world!
My rating: showing dogs: (4), friendships in this sport: (4), parties & socialization: (4)!