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)