This past week I was able to attend my local four-day dog show in South Jordan, Utah. With an entry of 1,101 at Intermountain Kennel Club’s Sunday event, the shows of the Beehive Cluster are Utah’s biggest.

That might not sound huge, but keep in mind we only have three show weekends each year in the whole state!

I’d had kind of a rough week beforehand, so when it came time to head out to the first show I found myself feeling not ready for it. The funny thing is, going to a dog show was exactly what I needed. It was the perfect escape, to this different world where I could get my mind in a new place and have some much needed fun.

I’ve been going to shows since before I can even remember. Now when I go, it’s comforting to see those familiar smiling faces – even the people who know me and say, “I remember you when you were this tall.

No matter how long it’s been since I’ve seen my dog show friends, it’s always the same when we are reunited. They’re kind and curious and seem genuinely happy to see everyone. We all share a common interest, so it’s easy to make conversation. The time seems to pass faster than expected and – before you know it – the weekend is over. The great thing is that even if we don’t know when we will see each other again, we know it will be the same the next time.

Maybe I’m the only one who feels this way, but the world of showing dogs is an experience like no other. From the grooming and preparation to showing in the ring, it’s kind of like this roller coaster of emotions. It’s exhilarating!

There’s a difference between grooming at home and grooming at a show too. When I’m competing, I’m making “art” with the dogs. I want them to look their best, with every hair in place. My adrenaline rises and heightens all my senses when I’m at a show.

Being focused is most important. I find myself more focused while grooming when I’m in a “winning” kind of mood. When I have the possibility of winning that last major or point toward a championship or grand championship, it’s definitely more exciting.

All of these things combined with the fun in and outside of the ring are special moments that all of us doggie people can share. Isn’t that exciting? I think so.

For me, a week that started out hectic and stressful ended in this world of fun, smiles and good times. The dog show scene took me right out of my normal everyday life, and I could not be more thankful for the chance to spend time with all the people who show dogs.

While at your next show, keep in mind that everyone is there for the same reason: the love of dogs. All those familiar faces you see every weekend – or even from time to time – can bring a little piece of happiness when you need it most. Have a conversation with a complete stranger, and it can develop into a long time friendship.

My secret escape this past week was the dog show. What was yours?

Dog shows, dog people and Dogs Freakin’ Rule!