Sunday, January 29, 2006

What Am I Doing Here, and What Am I In For?

I've been "in Beardies" since 1989, the year my first Beardie was born. Merlin was a show-quality puppy who just didn't like being shown, and my ex handled him in the ring. In his short career, he took one placement: a third at the Ladies' Dog Club show. I've had a soft spot in my heart for that club and that show ever since.

In the years since then, though, I've had mostly rescued and rehomed dogs, and took up performance events with them (particularly Duncan, Charlie, and Seamus). Watching all the sniping, backstabbing, and bad feelings emanating from the conformation ring, I felt secure in my assertion that the dirtier you get in a dog sport, the nicer the people are. A certain camaraderie develops at an event when you and everyone around you is ankle-deep in mud and sheep poo in the midst of a blinding downpour. Herding trials, like Broadway shows, definitely embody the saying "The show must go on."

So here I am, seven Beardies later, and I've actually agreed to take Beardie #8 into the show ring. Yikes! Was I drunk when I agreed to put on dressy clothes and makeup and trot around the ring with all the high-powered professional handlers? I'm not a competitive person. They'll eat me alive! Why, oh why, did I sign myself up for that kind of punishment when I could be happily loping around the agility ring in my jeans and sneakers?

Here's the answer: Beardie #8.

Meet Dinah, Breaksea November Storm. Not only is she my very first girl after years of Beardie boys, but she's also my very first UK import and my first show prospect. This little missy, even as a tiny puppy, already showed the kind of charisma and fearless attitude that fairly shouts "Look at me!" How could I not want to take her out and show her off?

Anyway, I decided to start this blog because everyone loves a fish-out-of-water story, and this one is mine. Maybe, if we do well in the ring against all the sharks out there, it might inspire some other timid, non-competitive soul to pick up the show lead and come out and join us. We'd sure be glad for the company.