Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Fun With Google

really should work for Google. I don't know anyone who makes as much use of Google's ever-increasing array of online tools, or who gets so much out of them. Dale's the one who introduced me to , and now I can't stop going to that site and reading my site statistics.

For a long time, I thought that no one (except maybe Jana, who owns Dinah's litter sister Buffy) read my blog, Okay, Jana and Dale. Maybe Sue, too. Oh, and Kathy, of course. I didn't think I had much of an audience. After all, my was twice as high in the Technorati ratings, and people left comments all the time.

Then I started reading Google Analytics. It turns out that this little blog has a small but devoted international following, and it's beginning to draw more readers than my other blog. What a surprise! Although my local friends and our faithful fans/family in the Czech Republic always rank #1 and #2 in visits, people are reading this blog from Turku, Nicosia, Managua, Cebu, Melbourne, and other corners of the globe. The globe, as it turns out, has a lot of corners!

The thing I found truly amusing, though, is the list of search phrases that people use in search engines in order to reach my blog. "Muddy pantyhose" always ends up in the top 10, even though I wore pantyhose to one show once back in May of 2006. The fun never stops! A lot of the inquiries -- maybe even most of the inquiries -- must come from people who also call themselves Dog Show Newbies. I get lots of inquiries about handling classes, stacking dogs, recipes for show bait, and the general "dog showing 101," "dog shows for dummies," and "beginning dog shows" type queries. Here are a few of my favorites from the past month, though (aside from the perennial favorite "muddy pantyhose," which again finished way up there):

compliments for a dog show handler
does Joseph Gregory judge dog shows in Canada?
exquisitely bitches (please tell me this one was for dogs...!)
it is plagiarism if you steal from yourself?
when does a collie dog go into season?
biggest butt photo (somehow, I don't think this one is for dogs...)

You do wonder sometimes what folks have in mind when they're entering the less obvious search strings. Maybe I'm best off not knowing why "muddy pantyhose" is so popular.

Note To Self: Pack Dog's Brain Next Time

Farmington Valley Kennel Club, 11/3/07: 1st, RWB

It rarely pays to get too cocky when it comes to dog showing. Just because your dog rocked the house at a certain show last year doesn't mean the house will react the same way this year. As a third-generation Red Sox fan, I'm used to this philosophy. But sometimes...

We almost didn't enter this show this year, based on the teensy-weensy numbers for the previous year's entry coupled with the low probability that there would be enough bitches for a major. Last year, a year-old Dinah went BOS on her very first trip in the ring with Kathy after having only met her an hour or two beforehand. We had a great time, and the memory must have stuck with us. In a fit of madness, I entered us for this year, just so we could have another win under the bright lights. We wanted a second try with the judge, who had practically begged Dinah to settle down and gait properly in his ring back in April in Springfield. He gave her second in her class back in April, but not Reserve.

This show must be a weird experience for even the most well-traveled show dog. It takes place in the arena at the Mohegan Sun Casino. The ring area is beautiful -- bright lights, quiet blue carpeting, banks of arena seats -- and it looks like a smaller, unbenched, better-smelling version of Westminster. The grooming area is a bit odd, though, as it's set up in the cramped, strange, noisy concrete loading-dock area for the arena. Unless you're driving in to offload your equipment, the only way to access the area is by shuttle bus from the parking lot. Most of the dogs seemed to be a bit weirded out by the bus ride. Dinah the princess, whose first ride in a motor vehicle on this side of the pond took place in a limousine, probably turned her regal little black rubber nose up at the tacky public transportation and vowed never to be seen on a bus again. The nerve of her dumb human!

Whatever she was thinking at this show, she wasn't thinking about the ring. If she had been on her usual game, she could easily have beaten both of the specials and taken Best of Breed. However, she just wasn't interested -- and she lost to one of the entries from the puppy class. (We adore Moxie, who is a nice puppy and had better use for the one available point than we did... but Dinah could have done better.) Moxie ended up going BOS to Riot's BOB, so it wasn't a good day to be a special in that ring. Dinah got Reserve (Best of Losers). So did Jake, which was equally surprising. Riot is a beautiful dog, but Jake is more mature and should have beaten him. Maybe Jake's brain was in the same place where Dinah left hers.

Kathy huffed when she exited the ring, "She was SO naughty!" Dinah apparently went back to her old tricks from last spring of throwing her feet around and making her gait look strange. She tends to do that at indoor shows, except the ones in Fitchburg. (I can't explain it, but Dinah likes showing in Fitchburg.)

At least the weekend wasn't a complete waste of Kathy's time, even if the Beardie contingent didn't exactly shine. Livvy the Newfie went BOS -- and this from a dog who really doesn't like showing indoors. Kathy also got to handle Dushil, the Borzoi she showed at Westminster, and he took BOB. She got to stay around the arena for several hours before the group judging/TV broadcast. I owed Daryl a lunch at Rustica for putting us up at her house, so Dinah and I took our leave and headed back to Woodstock.

I looked all over Daryl's house to try and find Dinah's brain, but it wasn't there. I definitely left it at home. You can bet I'll have it packed first thing when we head out to Springfield for the Thanksgiving Cluster. Majors all three days -- no pressure there!