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.

1 comment:

Dog Training Fort Collins said...

So cute and gorgeous. I like the long hair. :)