Sunday, March 20, 2011

Springtime Rituals

I've always envied my friends in California. The weather generally stays nice enough there so they can go to shows and trials all year round. Here, entering any event in the winter is always conditional. You enter a dog event with full knowledge that if the weather that weekend is sufficiently bad, you'll end up eating the entry. That, along with hibernating from Thanksgiving until St. Paddy's Day or so, marks the "off season" for dog showing here in the Frickin' Arctic.

Since today is the Vernal Equinox, it's time to start thinking about the year ahead. It's time to dust off the equipment, take inventory of what needs repair/replacement/cleaning, invest in some fresh batteries, and organize it all so that an event's worth of necessities can be tossed into the car without too much scrambling. It's time to start reading the premium lists for the springtime events and to think about what to enter when.

Another way I mark the start of the dog-event year is to clear off the bulletin board in the sunroom. Back when I was still actively trialing with Seamus, I'd hang the ribbons and rosettes he'd earned from it in a given year onto the board. At the beginning of the next season, I'd remove them, pack them away, and hang the new year's booty. This has now become an unofficial ritual to mark the new dog-show season. (So what can you do with all the old ones? I had Dinah's BPISS rosette from the '06 BCCC National framed. There are also quite a few people who will take your collected ribbons and stitch them into a quilt, wall hanging, chair back, or what-have-you. This site shows a bunch of photos of finished examples. Maybe someday I'll do something similar with mine, but storing all the ribbons in Rubbermaid boxes in the downstairs closet is still much easier than trying to figure out where to hang a quilt.)

2010 was relatively slim for us in terms of spoils -- we only entered three conformation shows, five AKC rally trials, one UKC rally trial, and a bunch of APDT rally trials -- but we did bring home enough bling to cover the bulletin board. Each one marks some pretty nice memories: the weekend we finished Dinah's Canadian CH, BOS for the second year in a row at our Regional Specialty, her AKC RN and RA and APDT RL1 titles, Badger's 4th in Veterans at the BCCC National... Still, they make a pretty nice collage...

Now that the bulletin board is bare again, it's time to start thinking about the year ahead... and train, train, train! Dinah's litter sister Buffy is now competing in APDT Rally in the UK and is on the verge of earning her RL1 title, too.

As Seen in Dog Fancy

A few weeks ago, a very nice person named Nicole contacted me through the blog. It seems she was writing a small article about the AKC Grand Champion title and was looking for thoughts from the fancy about the new title and its appeal. The article will appear in the July issue of Dog Fancy, in case you're interested.

Public Service Announcement

The next session of Penny Cary's conformation handling classes starts in April at Finish Forward Dogs in Saco. Class spots are filling up fast, so contact Finish Forward soon if you want to get in on the fun.


browndogcbr said...

Wishing y'all a very successful season!

Y'all come by now,
Hawk aka BrownDog

Caratunk Girl said...

Hey there! Wishing you a very successful show season!! I used to go to shows, I might go to some later this year.