Monday, March 12, 2007

Once More Unto the Breach, My Friends...

Dinah's ready for the new season, if you mean Mud Season...

You'd never know it to look at the outdoors, but the world is now slowly emerging from its long wintertime sleep into spring. The birds are returning, the sap is rising in the maple trees... and it's time to start getting emails from my handling instructor announcing the new season of classes.

We haven't really started the show season yet, and already Dinah's (and my) weekends are beginning to fill up with shows and the occasional fun-type activity -- not to mention the odd rally trial here and there with Seamus.

April commences with the Springfield shows on Easter weekend. We're entering only the Saturday and Sunday shows, even though Kathy will be handling her other client dogs there on Good Friday. (It's not a holiday for me, and I'm in the throes of project deadlines. I need that day.)

When Kathy and I emailed back and forth to set things up for Easter weekend, she taught me a term I hadn't heard before. She asked me, "Is Dinah still in 12-18? When does she age out?" "Aging out" is a good enough description for what happens to Dinah when she reaches the age of 18 months and has to go compete in Open with all of the other adult bitches.

This is both good news and bad news. Showing in Open means that an immature 18-month-old has to share the ring with a well-seasoned adult. It's still possible to beat the adults and earn the points, but it's a lot more difficult for a youngster. Because Dinah is neither American Bred nor Bred By Exhibitor, she can't enter those classes instead. On the other hand, most judges tend to pick their Winners Dog and Bitch from the Open classes -- so if your dog does make the cut in Open, the chances of making it to Winners are generally much better.

On the 20th, Dinah makes her debut at the regional specialty. I've always liked that show, but this year we have a very good reason for entering: the judge in the regular classes is from the Old Country, and she gave Dinah's dad Danny a first at the Bournemouth shows last year. I'm hoping very hard that she likes Danny's daughter as much as she did Danny himself.

Kathy will be handling her Borzoi client at that breed's specialty that weekend, so Karen Bowens, a Beardie breeder/handler who came highly recommended to me, is doing the honors for Dinah at the Regional. I'm considering having her take Dinah in at the National (in the same area of the world) in October. Kathy shows a number of clients of other breeds, and she doesn't usually stray too far from the southern New England/upstate New York area.

That's just April. I think we have a show or a trial every weekend in May, and none of them are shows I want to miss. The very thought of it makes me want to sleep through June already!