Wednesday, July 28, 2010

O Canada! Part Cinq

Fredericton Kennel Club, 7/24
WB/BOS, 1 point
7/25 RWB

Announcing... Am/Can CH Breaksea November Storm, HIC CGC RL1!

Yes, it finally happened. We finally got that last stinkin' CKC point to finish Dinah in Canada. Now we can show our faces around the BCCC National without having to enter her as a class bitch for the third time.

A lot of Dinah's family members have CH titles from multiple countries -- her sister Buffy (Breaksea November Mist), for example, has been burning up all the countries of continental Europe and picking up championships in each one. Badger's brother Moby (Breaksea Norwegian Wood) has at least all of Scandinavia covered. Dylan (Breaksea Gone West) was the first Am/Can Ch in the family, and Dinah is the second one, as well as the first bitch to earn both.

There aren't huge numbers of Beardies showing around the Maritimes, so sometimes you just have to bring all your breed's entries with you if you hope to earn CKC points without depending on Group 3s -- so that's just what we did. Val and I were overdue for a road trip, anyway. We decided to pack up Trav, Fiona, and Dinah and meet Ashley at the Fredericton shows to try our luck there. Our friend Penny, a local handler who has had a lot of success showing in eastern Canada over the years, offered to handle Dinah to her last point.

The only thing that we can never predict about a show is the mood that the Princess will be in on any given show day. When she's in a good mood and wants to show well, she's hard to beat. When she's Not In The Mood, no amount of cajoling, bribery, or Great Bait can get her to focus on the task at hand. Kathy and I have Talked to the Paw more times than we care to admit.

Val and I made good time on the drive (aside from the summer construction delays), crossed at St. Stephen with absolutely no traffic ahead of us (a first!) and headed for Fredericton. The road between St. Stephen and Fredericton is pretty much a swathe through the woods, and is the kind of drive where you rejoice when another vehicle comes toward you in the opposite lane because it gives you something else to look at. "Wow," Val said. "When a Canadian says that this show is in the middle of nowhere, you'd better believe it!"

One of the joys of driving with a GPS is that it very rarely gets you truly lost. You might not always take the most efficient route to get someplace, but you'll generally get there. We ignored the GPS's entreaties to cross at Houlton rather than at Calais, and for miles afterward, it kept trying to get us to drive back to Houlton to cross.

Our biggest navigational challenge happened in Fredericton, where the Princess Margaret Bridge, which we were supposed to use to cross the St. John River, turned out to be closed for construction. The GPS, in deep denial of that fact, kept trying at every turn to route us that way, until we both told it to shut up and turned it off. We procured directions at a gas station, crossed the river, and headed to the campground to set up.

The drive along the river was lovely, punctuated every so often by a local landmark, such as a giant potato wearing a top hat or a huge carved wooden figure of Sherlock Holmes.

We arrived at the show site, found Penny and the Doberdogs, and set up at ringside just behind them. After the EZ-Up was staked and the chairs and flooring unloaded, we set off to find out hotel, ignoring the GPS's entreaties to take the closed bridge. It finally complied and showed us a route that involved streets that we actually could take to get there.

Once esconced in the hotel, we ordered take-out, exercised the dogs, and readied ourselves for an early wake-up call. Trav was so happy to be out of the car that he practically threw himself at me with his usual "Arrrrr, arrrrr." (Trav and I have deep conversations. He likes to do his pirate impression for me. We talk about his favorite letter of the alphabet and other subjects of great philosophical import.)

When the alarm went off far too early on Saturday morning, we all bundled back into the rental van and headed across the bridge that wasn't closed to the show site on the other side. The GPS was not amused. We passed the Giant Spud again, and pulled into the show site.

Val, aware of my "skills" as a show groomer, neatened up the Princess's feet and got her finish grooming done, then worked on Fiona. Ashley arrived and started prepping Trav.

CKC shows run somewhat like UKC shows do -- all breeds in a group using the same ring, and breeds showing more or less in alphabetical order. Groups sometimes follow the individual breeds, and sometimes take place after all breed judging is over in all the rings. If you're used to AKC shows, where the show secretaries have to juggle rings, breeds, judges, and groups and try to fit them together into a puzzle, then you'll come to appreciate the beauty and simplicity of the CKC/UKC scheme. It does take a short time to get used to the fact that all shows run pretty much the same way -- but then you have one less thing to have to keep in mind.

Penny had four breeds to show, and three of them conflicted that day. We worked out a game plan whereby she would show the Aussie, bring her out, take Dinah in, hand Dinah back to me, and sprint into the Doberman ring next door to show her own dog. If the Aussie took her breed and Dinah took hers, I would be showing Dinah in Group. We all gathered under the roof in the waiting area and assumed our stations. I felt a little bit like a running back waiting for the kickoff.

Penny took third with Jules the Aussie, then offered Dinah various kinds of bait from $15-a-pound roast beef to chunks of liver. I offered up Dinah's old favorite Great Bait and added it to the show menu. The ring steward called for Bearded Collies, and they were off, with Val and Fee behind them.

Dinah seemed in a pretty good mood, and she decided to work for Penny instead of making her Talk to the Paw. I was still worried that she'd decide that the day was getting too hot to show, and take a summer vacation right in the middle of judging. She didn't show with great enthusiasm, but she held it together well enough to take the Open class and get that last point. Fee took Reserve. Dinah ended up going Best Opposite to Trav, who took the breed. (Sadly, Trav didn't get much love in the group -- though the judge looked at him for a VERY long time before calling four other dogs out.)

Outside the ring, we did as much hugging and dancing as we could do without disrupting the rest of the show's proceedings. Penny had had to send her Dobe into the ring with her husband because of the ring conflict, but she suspected that the breed judging wouldn't have gone her way anyway.

One of Penny's friends took this nice photo of The Lovely One in the ring. Thanks, Mark!

When Dinah finished her AKC CH, I'd packed a bottle of champagne just in case we needed it. Because Val doesn't drink and my days of drinking whole bottles of the stuff myself are long behind me (Day, actually. I did that once in college and definitely regretted it the next morning), the only bubbly I could rustle up for Dinah's CKC championship was a can of Red Bull. Anything chilled and bubbly served the purpose. I was just so relieved to have finished Dinah that I would have toasted her success with lukewarm soapy water.

The afternoon grew hot, so we packed up the pups and headed back to Fredericton proper, ignoring protests from the GPS. We stopped at the Giant Spud for a photo shoot, and the dogs drew adoring fans...

After a little celebration dinner (which couldn't include the guest of honor), we passed the rest of the evening sending emails and messages to everyone eager for news, watched the Food Network (porn channel for Weight Watchers), and hung out with the pups. Trav and I had several conversations on the subject of Arrrrr.

The next morning, we drove through a monsoon to the show site. The EZ-Up kept everything relatively dry, but it was so new that I hadn't even sealed the seams yet. We had a few drips here and there, but they didn't compare with the drenching we sustained getting between the car and the tent, trying to keep the dogs relatively dry.

Because Dinah had won the day before and finished, Val and I agreed that I wouldn't move her up. Instead, Dinah would stay in the classes, and I would show her. That way, we shared the points with Fee.

Just before we were supposed to go into the ring, we peeled off our soaked raingear. I looked like a contestant in a wet T-shirt contest, so I had to put my coat back on. The judge, who sported a strange headgear midway between an Arab headdress and a fisherman's sou'wester, removed his hat just as the wind started to pick up, and ended up wearing the same hairstyle that Michael Keaton wore in "Beetlejuice."

Fee took the point and went Best Opposite to her dad, who showed beautifully and looked wonderful -- and who still left the group ring empty-handed. Fee now has 4 CKC points -- only 6 more to go.

We stopped to visit Ann, showered and changed, and got to cuddle a litter of 4-week-old Trav/Sadie puppies, full siblings of Fiona's. I made sure to share a little "Arrrr" with the pick boy, who looks just like a miniature Trav. I told the little brown girl that brownies are special, and swapped conversations and puppy breath with everyone else.

Eventually, we brought the new champion home, and I had the pleasure of requesting a move-up to Specials Only for the BCCC Specialty. I hope we get to go, but even if we don't, this little special is still pretty special.

-- Post From My iSomething

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Public Service Announcement: AKC Survey About Dog Shows

Yeah, I know. I know how the last survey went -- but if you like conformation shows and want our sport to stick around, then here's your chance to speak up and suggest ways in which AKC can make some changes to benefit the sport.

The rest of this post is copied and pasted directly from the email...

The American Kennel Club Board and Staff are currently considering ways to attract and retain participants in the conformation sport. The objective is to consider changes which will result in a better experience for Clubs, exhibitors, and the general public. The goals are to improve entries, level of participation, and, in turn, the financial performance of our show giving Clubs. The information you provide will be summarized and be presented to the Board of Directors in August. As active members of the dog fancy you understand the challenges the conformation sport is facing and we are sure you have ideas on how to improve our sport. What we seek are ideas.ideas on how to improve the conformation show, thoughts on how to attract new people into the sport, and ways to attract the general public to shows so they can learn what purebred dogs are and ! why purp osely bred dogs are important. We have divided this request into 3 parts.shows, new exhibitors, and the general public. We are asking you to provide you ideas, brief and concise as possible in these three areas. You do not have to complete all three sections.just the area(s) where you have a point of view. While contact information is not required it would be helpful in case follow up is needed to better understand an idea. All input will reported anonymously and it is recognized, due to the short timeframe, that your views are not necessarily those of your Club. WEB22AWMCSHGMT

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Public Service Announcement: Anne Bowes Handling Seminar

I'm paraphrasing this from the official seminar handout. Note: This seminar is open only to Shelties and auditors until July 31. The seminar opens to other breeds starting August 1. Signup deadline is October 9, 2010.

Anne Bowes Handling Seminar, sponsored by the Colonial Shetland Sheepdog Club and Granite State Shetland Sheepdog Club
Sunday, October 17, 2010, 9 AM - 5 PM
Waggin' Tail Dog Training Center
67 Broadway Street
Westford, MA 01886

Working spots are $75. Audit spots are $40. Lunch and drinks are included in the price.

Classes Offered: Level 1: Have yet to complete a championship on a dog. Level 2: Have finished at least one champion, owner-handled

Each class will be limited to 15 participants and dogs. Participating dogs should be over 1 year of age for the handler to obtain the most benefit. The focus of this clinic is to teach the handler, and not train the dog.

To sign up, send a check made payable to Colonial Shetland Sheepdog Club to:

Elizabeth Hildreth
40 Lincoln Road
Ashland, MA 01721

Include your name, address, phone number, and email. Also state with level class you would like to join, the breed of your dog, and the date when you signed up.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

New AKC Rule for 12-18 Month Class

Thanks to my friend Lisa for bringing this to my attention. She just entered a show in CA and discovered that today was the effective date for the split in the 12-18 month class. As of now, this is an option for the event-giving club. It certainly is something we can consider for specialties going forward.

At least for Beardies, they change so much from day to day as youngsters that a 12-month-old will look worlds different from an 18-month-old of the same breed. Splitting the class gives all of these youngsters a chance to compete against other dogs in similar stages of development. It will make things a little more exciting for the stewards and judges for a while, but no more than other changes.

Here is the AKC rule describing the split. The update is shown in italics.

CHAPTER 3, SECTION 5. The Twelve-to- Eighteen Month Class shall be for dogs that are twelve months of age and over, but under eighteen months, that are not champions. Clubs may further divide the Twelve-to-Eighteen Month Class into two age groups consisting of twelve months of age and under fifteen months, and fifteen months of age but under eighteen months. The age of a dog shall be calculated up to and inclusive of the first day of a show. For example, a dog whelped on January 1st is eligible to compete in the class at a show the first day of which January 1st of the following year and may continue to compete in this class at shows up to and including a show the first day of which is the 30th day of June of that year, but is not eligible to compete in this class at a show the first day of which is July 1st of that year.

Two more changes to the rules that should help breeder/owner/handlers (also cribbed from Lisa's email)...

New BBE rule: You have until the day of the show (instead of the day of closing) to make appropriate ownership transfers and still qualify for this class.

Another rule change is that a BBE entered dog can be moved to Open class (and only Open) if the BBE breeder/owner is not able to handle the dog at the show entered.