Saga of a woman old enough to know better who lets her life be governed by the ridiculous hobby of breeding and showing dogs, musing on life, the twenty first century, Cameron and his mini-me, and the occasional sheep.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


Another weekend`s showing leaves me wondering whether I need to be led away to a quiet place I can be cared for.

This one was in Ireland, involving the dreaded bus to the coast, the loading of said bus on a ferry, a short sea journey and a run out to the showground. Old hands know that sleep is possibl e on the bus and less likely on the boat, and I got my head down as soon as possible...

...and at four am I was shaken awake, somewhere in Ayrshire. An anxious face looked at me - "did I have a hearing aid?"

I was totally lost. I can hear a pin drop at 100 yards. Where was I to find a hearing aid at 4am on a bus full of dogs? Did they think I carried a selection? Was it for a person or a dog? Was it the unnamed creature howling in the dark depths of the bus?

I did what you do in these emergencies. I went back to sleep with a murmured suggestion as to where they could insert the hearing aid......well, that`s what they seemed to be talking through.

And on we went, and were very sociable on the boat and very confident as the bus decanted us at the showground.

It didn`t last. We were in for one of the worst judging experiences of the year. The Judge Who Didn`t Have A Scooby And Wanted Her Lunch. Each dog received about 30 seconds of very divided attention. Dogs were not handled on the table - exhibitors, however, were handled quite a bit, pushed and shoved here and there. Male dogs were not examined for those two essential items, and I could have slipped the girls into male classes with a good chance. It was an appalling and disheartening performance, and we were all painfully aware of what it had cost to get here and how long it would take to get home. It`s at times like that you hear the refrain "we must be nuts!" forming a sad background chorus.

It was a long trail home on the slow boat, which takes 3 hours and smells of diesel and fish. On the bus I finally found out about the hearing aid - a door alarm had gone off and could not be silenced, and some prize candidate for the funny farm had suggested it was being set off by someone`s hearing aid. At times like that it seems prudent not to look too closely at the people you are travelling with.

Home by 3am and glad of it. No more shows for a month. I am taking it easy and assessing the two puppy dogs, Storm and Shadow. They are at that delicate stage of development when their future depends on them becoming entire.

I have told them both to go and sit under the big walnut tree and just wait for the nuts to drop.
I totally agree about the judging - complete waste of money!
There are few things more frustrating than a judge who "forgets" that the exhibitors are the reason s/he's been hired. I don't have a problem with a judge who doesn't like my dog, or who just likes another dog better. I DO have a problem with a judge who won't even give my dog 60 seconds of attention. Here in the US, it can actually help to complain to the AKC rep (or to the AKC itself if there isn't a rep in attendance at the show) when a judge doesn't follow proper judging procedures. It won't change the results for that day of course, but if they get numerous complaints or if the rep is able to observe the judge in (in)action they will usually follow up and see to it that the judge in question gets some additional education, if not disciplinary action. Do you have any such recourse there?
This woman judges 50 breeds - don`t tell me she knows all about 50 breeds.
Yes we can complain - you have to organize a group complaint in writing. There isn`t usually a KC rep there - you just do it via the secretary and eventually it gets to the KC. But complaints about established judges seldom get anywhere in my experience.
Well they should.
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