Just before last year's Mohegan Sun shows, my friend Debbie (the one who owns Moxie) asked me if I were attending the lunch with the gang after the show. I hadn't heard a word about it, which is how I replied to her. Turns out that the owner of one of the specials, who has always been rather unnecessarily snippy with me, set up a luncheon for "owner-handlers only." Although all the attendees are friends of mine, I wasn't invited because Kathy shows Dinah for me. The organizer even went so far to explain that I hadn't been invited on purpose, for just that reason. She's had a hair across you-know-where ever since Dinah, as a 10-month-old puppy, beat her adult in the ring with me on the lead.
Sometimes the bitches at dog shows aren't the female canines.
Anyway, I haven't given up on the idea of learning to owner-handle entirely. Although all of the big guns and the prestige are in the AKC world, the United Kennel Club (UKC) is nearly as old and has just as long a tradition of conformation and performance events. Since UKC conformation is coming to Maine sometime and there are more such events in new England, I've taken the bait and registered Dinah with UKC. We've signed up for a show in Massachusetts next week, and are going there for the fun of it.
We're both rusty. Whatever happens with clumsy, bumbling me on the other end of the leash, it'll be good practice for Dinah.
I asked my friend Maryann about UKC. She showed her youngest boy in that venue last year and got his CH in a weekend. She's an experienced and successful breeder-owner-handler in AKC, and UKC lacks the "edge" for her that AKC competition provides. It's a great place for dufuses like me to do some handling, though, since UKC requires every dog to be owner-handled. UKC also has some other requirements I like: no overgrooming, chalk, or hairspray, and you can't use bait in the ring. (Dinah might not be thrilled about that last part, though.)