06 September 2008

take me out to the....dog show?

I'm off (not unlike a prom dress) to a dog show tomorrow. Since having kids my dog show weekends are sadly few and far between. I'm hoping to get back to it more seriously next year, if I have a new show dog by then, but for now I just dip a toe in the water here and there. I go to my breed's national specialty, one or two local shows, and most years the American Spaniel Club's flushing spaniel show and Westminster.

A few months ago I got a call I never, ever expected. It was a friend asking if I would be willing to judge at a puppy match. I was stunned but finally managed to ask about the breeds they wanted me to judge. I figured it would be spaniels, but the answer was that they wanted me to judge all the sporting AND hound breeds. Holy moly.... Then I was really stunned, and asked for some time to think it over. 

After consulting some friends who judge regularly and getting nothing but encouragement, and remembering that this is a puppy match and about as low-key a match as there could be, I accepted. I ordered the binder full of breed standards from AKC, and a few books written by seasoned judges, and started studying. Before I started taking Eleanor with me on the bus in the mornings, I spent that time reading breed standards. It was the perfect amount of time to get through one long standard, or a couple of the briefer ones. I would love to say it helped, but some of the standards left me more flummoxed than I was before.

So now, with one week before my judging assignment, I'm going to a show. I'll watch a bit of the breed judging, then steward the group judging. I'll be watching the judges carefully and hoping to find the experience calming. Hopefully I will see that I really do know how to do this, and maybe I won't be so scared next weekend. Yeah, right.

Eleanor's new words:  apple (referring to the fruit, unlike Oliver who first used it to refer to CD's laptop), Manny (we watched a little bit of the Dodger game)


Karen said...

I know you'll have a good time regardless. Sounds fun!

Colleen said...

I'm sure you'll do great!!!