Saturday, September 12, 2009

Dispatches from the Confessional

Tuxedo Park Kennel Club, 9/4/09
Dinah: BOS
Badger: 1st in Open
Somerset Hills Kennel Club (Garden State Bearded Collie Clan Regional), 9/5/09
Badger: 2nd in Open

(Note to my Catholic readers: No offense intended, but sometimes you just have to riff on the accidentally funny when it presents itself.)

We always have good memories of the Garden State Regional. Dinah went WB there for the past two years, and this year was the first year she'd be back as a special. The Regional itself had been moved to a show on an earlier date for a couple of reasons: the biggest being that the Ramapo shows took place on the weekend immediately following the National, and people were too dragged out from the National to enter Garden State.

Thus it was with hope in our hearts that Kathy, her junior helper Joanne, Joanne's Portie Brita (World's Cutest Portie Ever), Dinah, Badger, and I converged on New Jersey. We were hoping that both Beardies would make a good showing, and we could keep up the tradition of winning at the Regional. Kathy was also showing Cali for our friend Lesley, and it would be nice to take home Winners Bitch three years in a row.

Our time in the hotel proved to be a special bonding experience for Dinah, the B-Man, Auntie Kathy, and me. Joanne mentioned that Brita usually didn't care for other dogs, but she appeared to really like the Beardies. Dinah was so happy to see Auntie Kathy that she danced and danced... she even danced on Auntie Kathy's head in the middle of the night. Badger stretched out diagonally across my bed, rolled over onto his back, and snored softly. I awoke a couple of times to find myself rolled into a little ball on the bed, with Badger expanding to fill the available space. Brita decided to join in the slumber party and helped Dinah take up all the remaining space on Kathy's bed.

When we reached the show site on Friday, we set up an "assembly line" for the Beardies. Badger went first, since he was the only boy in our little doggie group. I have no expectations for the B-Man; I'm not sure whether I should simply wait until his pigment comes back completely, or just go for it. After all, he is 7 years old already, and I am not going to struggle to finish him.

Much to my surprise, B-Man took first in his class, though the judge didn't give him Winners or Reserve. It did demonstrate to me that some judges would put up a handsome, great-moving dog with iffy pigmentation over a dog whose pigment might be better than his movement. It cheered me, even if he didn't get any points out of the deal.

Back on the grooming table, there was no rest to be had. Lesley got Cali all groomed for 12-18 Bitches, and Joanne prepped Dinah for Breed. It grew hotter and muggier the longer we stayed out there.

Cali ended up going Winners Bitch, and those last three points finished her Championship. It appeared to be a bittersweet experience for Lesley, who would have liked to have finished Cali at the Specialty -- but we take the opportunity to finish when we can.

Finally, Best of Breed came around. Joanne finished getting Dinah ready, and we performed a complicated dance: I held on to Badger, Kathy took Dinah in for Breed, and Cali went back in with Joanne. Dinah showed very nicely -- even in the heat -- and went Best Opposite. "He LOVED her!" Kathy exclaimed as she exited the ring.

Joanne had to stay late into the afternoon for Juniors, so I scooped up Dinah and Badger and decided to head back to the nice-air-conditioned hotel for a quick shower and a room-service lunch. It was just too hot to go anyplace where I'd have had to have left the dogs in the car -- so we returned to the hotel and hung out together. We had ourselves a nice, cool afternoon, shared my salad, and waited for Kathy, Joanne, and Brita to return.

Joanne reported that she had won her class in Juniors, but didn't get Best Junior. Brita strutted around with her pink squeaky toy and didn't seem to care. We all slept more soundly the second night, and Dinah kept her head-dancing to a minimum.

Saturday dawned frickin' hot and sticky and grew even hotter and stickier. Kathy had been running around in Friday's heat and bore up well, but Saturday's temperatures threatened to do her in. (She, like Dinah, is not a fan of the hot weather.) All of us had forgotten to pack the Gatorade, so I made some supply runs to the booth selling vitamin water with electrolytes, and threw in some salty potato chips for fun. We didn't even start showing until late in the afternoon. Joanne and Brit won their Juniors class and came back to wait with us.

Of course, when you're drinking considerable quantities of liquids, sooner or later, you'll have to "pay the rent" on those same liquids. Kathy departed, then returned and told me with a chuckle that someone had taped a sign over the porta-potty door reading "CONFESSIONAL." Thus, every time one of us needed a biology break, we'd depart with the announcement, "I have to go to confession now." "Again? You must have been very bad."

We kept ourselves amused until it FINALLY came time to show. Brenda Wantland appeared to have a very good time judging Sweeps, and we all enjoyed watching Sandy and Casey out there with the veterans. Kathy handled Cali in 12-16 sweeps (she hadn't been moved up after finishing the day before), and Sue handled Jezebel. They placed first and second in their class.

In the regular classes, B-Man took second in his class, but not Reserve. It was a bummer that he didn't do better on Specialty Day, but the handsome brownie that Karen Bowens showed definitely had the better day.

Cali took first and Reserve in the regular classes, and Jezebel took third. They held up well, for having to go run around twice in the heat.

While in the ring, one of the other handlers murmured to Kathy, "If he makes us run around one more time, I'm leaving the ring." Kathy replied, "If he makes us run around the ring one more time, I'll be leaving the ring in an ambulance!"

After more sweat and more confessions, the time finally came for Best of Breed judging. Dinah would have none of it. She wiggled. She sniffed. She looked everywhere but straight ahead. Kathy reported that she looked as though she needed to confess something, but she'd just gone to confession shortly before going into the ring. Apparently she hadn't felt completely absolved of her sins.

It was disappointing that Dinah hadn't felt like showing. Garden State is usually a great show for her, and she did very well there two years in a row. She must have put all of her energy behind the Friday show. She didn't do anything on Saturday, not unexpectedly -- but such a shame. When the Princess doesn't feel like showing, you can't get her to show with bait, bribes, steaks, cold hard cash, a bulldozer, or the entire first violin section of the Boston Symphony. She waited; she made her mind up; she was done. There's nothing else one can do about that.

We're Red Sox fans. Time to raise the battle cry: "Wait 'til next year!"

Another reason why our ring time was such a shame is that it grew too late to enjoy the wonderful buffet lunch that the Garden State club always prepares for members, exhibitors, and friends. By the time our part of the show was over, people were dismantling their setups and packing instead of hanging around and socializing. GSBCC is one of my favorite shows. I hope that next year, the Powers That Be will put us back in the morning so we can enjoy ourselves and enjoy everyone's company more.

A few people were interested in meeting and going over the B-Man, which was nice for both of us. They told me that they felt it was worth trying to finish him, and hoped his pigment came back soon to make that part easier. Some felt that his pink lips wouldn't deter an all-breed judge from giving him some respect, but until the blue fills back in around his eyes, he's going to scare them off. At least I had some reassurance that the effort wouldn't be entirely futile.

I can't believe how quickly this year is going by! In a couple of weeks, we'll be making the Long Trek to Minnesota for the National. Think good thoughts for us.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Long-Lost Doggerel Found!

I've been looking all over for this poem. Someone posted it to the Beardie List eons ago, and I haven't seen it since. Thanks to the magic of Google, it's been found. No one seems to know who the author is, but whomever you are... Thank you!

Lament of a Stud

My job is making puppies
And I get two tries at that
They pat me on the head and say "Good Boy",
and that is that.

It's half my job to give 'em
teeth and toplines, fronts and other,
Remember, it's only Half my job...,
they also have a mother.

It's not my job to carry pups
And make 'em grow and nurse 'em
And feed and clean and make 'em strong
That's for "mother" and a person.

It's not my job to wean
And feed the calcium and food
And stack and gait and housebreak,
And make 'em a "showing" brood.

It's not my job to plan the breeding,
And learn what produces well,
To study pedigrees, learn what's there,
And pick out those to sell.

It's not my job to guarantee champs,
The breeder picks the pair,
To mate and whelp and feed and show,
and HOPE that the champ is there.

It's not my job to be on hand
when points are given out.
The breeder, owner, dam and friends
Take credit with a shout.

It's not my job to deliver a winner.
It's only genes I sell.
But let the puppies turn out bad,
And guess who catches HELL.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

New AKC Grand Champion Title Proposed

This has been making the rounds of the email lists. Someone took a lot of trouble to type it in, possibly from the AKC Gazette. Thanks to whomever took the trouble.

Sure, we know that it's another way to increase AKC's bottom line by encouraging people with finished champions to get back in there and try for the next title -- but at least this decision gives you something for your money. As for us, it was freakin' hard enough to get two majors the first time around.

From the August AKC Board minutes:

Grand Championship Proposal

There was a motion by Mr. Arnold, seconded by Dr. Davies, and it was VOTED (unanimously) to approve a new advanced conformation title to be called Grand Championship. The specifics of the Grand Championship, which is intended to provide additional venues for exhibitors and to encourage entries, are:

All Champions of record that are eligible to be entered in Best of Breed competition, are automatically entered in competition for points toward the "Grand Champion" title when they are entered in the Best of Breed class at a dog show. There are no additional entry fees or cost to exhibitors for participation in this competition at AKC events.

Dogs and bitches that have earned their Championship and are moved up to Best of Breed class would be eligible to compete on the day.

Any exhibits found to be ineligible for "Grand Champion" points would have those points disallowed administratively by the AKC. If Best of Breed is found to be ineligible, all Grand Champion points awarded will be administratively disallowed for Best of Opposite Sex, Select Dog and Select Bitch.

Winners Dog, Winners Bitch, Best of Winners, or non-regular class winners, are not eligible to compete for "Grand Champion" points.

All eligible exhibits entered in the Best of Breed class will compete and judging will be concurrent with traditional Best of Breed judging.

The judge will award Best of Breed, Best of Winners, Best of Opposite Sex, Select Dog and Select Bitch. Judges may withhold any awards at their discretion.

For eligible Champions, the Best of Breed (BOB), Best of Opposite Sex (BOS), Select Dog (SD) and Select Bitch (SB) winners can acquire points toward the "Grand Champion" title. A maximum of four dogs may be awarded "Grand Championship" points.

The existing schedule of points and divisions will be used to calculate "Grand Champion" points. "Grand Championship" points will be awarded based on the number of eligible entries exhibited. All class exhibits and champions in breed or variety competition present will be counted to compute "Grand Champion" points.

"Grand Championship" entries will not affect the annual computation schedule of points assigned to each Points Division.

Best of Breed, Best of Opposite Sex, Select Dog and Select Bitch can earn "Grand Champion" points at AKC All Breed, Limited Breed, or Specialty events.

There will be no "Grand Champion" points awarded when all competing Champions of Record or move-up dogs are defeated by a class dog or bitch receiving the Best of Breed award.

If the Best of Opposite Sex winner is the Winners Dog or The Winners Bitch, neither the Best of Opposite Sex nor the Select award for that sex will be eligible for "Grand Champion" awards.

Best of Breed winner will receive the highest number of "Grand Champion" points available regardless of sex. Best of Breed "Grand Champion" points are based on the total number of dogs and bitches competing in the breed or variety using the point schedule for the individual dog's sex.

Best of Opposite Sex winner will receive Grand Championship points based on the total number of dogs defeated of the same sex. The Select Dog and Select Bitch will receive points based on the total numbers of dogs defeated of the same sex. Best of Breed or the Best of Opposite Sex will not be included in this computation.

Best of Opposite Sex point computations may be equal to the Best of Breed winner but in no case will they exceed "Grand Championship" points awarded to Best of Breed.

"Grand Champion" ribbons will be provided to all eligible Best of Breed, Best of Opposite Sex, Select Dog, Select Bitch winners.

Once an eligible dog or bitch has accumulated 25 "Grand Champion" points with three majors under three different judges and at least one point under a fourth judge, it may be designated "Grand Champion" and receive an AKC enhanced certificate indicating they have completed the necessary requirements for the title.

"Grand Champion" title holders will continue to accumulate points towards the "Grand Champion Ranking System" after completion of title (Top 25, 50 or 100 by Breed, and Group).

Any dog who completes its Grand Champion title will receive an invitation to the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship.