22 November 2004 - 11:58 AM
Dog Show Weekend
Yesterday I went to a dog show with Maman. One of her small dogs was entered and the Viking had to work, so she asked me along. It was a nice day and it was good to be back at a dog show, though a little odd -- like going back to visit the elementary school where you went as a child, years after you left and grew up. So much familiar, but time and distance enough to make it all somehow foreign. We didn't go to watch Goldens; Maman doesn't even own a purebred Golden any more.
(Well, she has one dog who is allegedly the son of a purebred Golden dam, but really he looks more like the result of an unholy union between a Finnish Spitz and a fox. He is one strange little animal).
But we saw some friends and did some shopping (the Turkey Cluster always draws big entries and good shopping) and Ripper won his class (though he wasn't Winners Dog). I briefly pondered what I'd need to do to go back to being part of the show world, because to an extent I do miss it. If you've watched the broadcasts of Westminster or seen 'Best in Show' (a wickedly funny movie) but haven't been to an ordinary show, you're going to have a warped idea of what the dog world is like. Westminster has as much to do with an ordinary weekend show as the Academy Awards have to do with a Girl Scout Court of Awards. Show people are a diverse lot, and some are indeed as odd as the characters in 'Best in Show' (though most are not), but the common thread is that they love dogs.
Dog shows are also an excellent place to get a dog fix without commitment. At a dog show, you can pet and admire all sorts of different dogs without having to take one home with you. This is especially good if, like me, you would secretly love to have all kinds of dogs, but realise you have nowhere to keep them. While Maman and I were browsing the wares of one vendor, a Scottish Deerhound sidled up to me and slipped her head and neck through the crook of my arm. When I looked to see who was there, she stretched her head up and touched noses with me. Hi.
That kind of thing doesn't, in my experience, happen anywhere but at a dog show. Which is a pity, because the world would likely be a better place if more people got to touch noses with Scottish Deerhounds.
My ponderings about getting back into shows didn't go too far. It's an expensive, time-consuming hobby, and I already have one of those (SCA) with several sub-hobbies that also qualify. The best option would be getting back involved as a ring steward which is (possibly) less expensive and does not require filling up my house with dogs, but is still time-consuming, and also one of the hardest and most thankless jobs at a show. Which doesn't mean it's not also a lot of fun, sometimes. But no. That way lies madness.
Back to the sheep.