Sunday, September 07, 2008

No Joy in Mudville, But Plenty of Mud

Time for another chorus of that old song: Why, oh why, do we do this, again?

Of course we can't win them all. Ask most exhibitors and they'll probably say that their dogs lose more often than they win. Still, Dinah's been "pointed out" since last June, and we still just can't seem to get those gawdforsaken majors done. This means that aside from the Canadian and UKC shows, every single show we've entered since then has been a failed attempt at trying to get those majors. Every single one. Even when we've won, we've lost: someone doesn't bring a bitch entry, the major breaks, and we've taken two points from someone else who could really have used them.

We gave it another shot this weekend. I drove through friggin' Tropical Storm Hanna to the Red Roof Inn in Milford, CT on a day when I would much rather have stayed home with my sweetie and all my dogs, watching our Netflix rentals and making popcorn. But noooooo. There I was on friggin' I-95 in Providence, half-blinded and half-deafened by the rain pounding on my car, trying to get to the hotel so I wouldn't have to drive five hours to a show on show day. I got stuck in traffic behind one car crash, and passed a couple of others.

Not that we're afraid of a little rain, or even a lot of it. Dinah thrives in crappy weather. She loves showing in mud, and she doesn't care if her feet get wet. Maybe it's the British heritage thing.

We did have mud at the show. The rings were actually pretty dry, but there were some major mud grooves cut into the fields where vehicles sank a little getting into and out of the parking areas. We brought Dinah to the ring in boots.

All six bitches were in the Open class at the Tarrytown show, even the ones who were being shown by their breeders. It was a massively competitive class, with nary a bad one in the bunch. The usual "big hats" were there, plus a couple of the top breeder/owner/handlers. Every single entry was beautiful, impeccably groomed, and worthy of the major. The judge placed Dinah fifth out of the six. He wasn't grossly confused like the last judge we faced last time we tried for a major. It simply wasn't her day. Again.

Dinah just wasn't "on" today, and when you're faced with a lineup like the one we faced, it isn't enough just to go in there and look pretty good. You really have to shine -- but she didn't shine, and so she ended up in the penultimate spot in the pack.

There's no shame in being beaten by a lineup like that, but I just can't help but wonder if it will ever be our turn. I have a friend who finally just spayed her bitch at age 8 after failing to get her majors and finish her. She's a beautiful girl who just doesn't happen to like showing very much -- which is generally not Dinah's problem. I just can't see myself still trying to get those same majors for five or six more years, when a single show entry will be above $50 and entries will be down so low that it will take two male Beardies to make a major -- but the AKC will keep the number of bitches at six just to keep things interesting.

When I talked to Greg on the phone afterward, he asked me whether it might not be time to just give up. I couldn't give him an answer.

We're approaching the part of the year when we can pretty much count the number of shows we're entering between now and New Year's (probably two). Because winter comes early and stays late in this latitude, the new year won't start up for us again until next April. Come spring, we'll have a whole new crop of hot competitors to face. They'll all finish in 3-4 shows and we'll still be plugging along.

Kathy's trying to help strategize by creating the perfect conditions for Dinah to win. The show is preferably outdoors, not too hot, and she gets to play with at least one of her buddies. Of course we'll have Great Bait there, and we won't have shown her every day of a three-day weekend.

We have to keep hoping that day will come (actually, "those days", since we still need two majors) -- but when?

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