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Doggy Resolutions

My Italian Greyhound, Pepe

Like most folks, I think about new year’s resolutions. Problem is, like most folks, I generally don’t do much about new year’s resolutions. I mean, every year, like most folks, I resolve to lose weight…if you’ve seen me around the show rings, you know how that’s going. I also have resolved to pay off my credit cards. That one is going better and if I live to be 80, I might make it. I have decided I should focus on my dog-related resolutions. I might not be any more successful with them than the others, but at least I will have more fun trying to achieve them. So here we go.

I resolve to attend more shows in my own backyard. Last year I managed to get to almost every area of the US. Unfortunately many of my trips outside of the Mid-South were on the weekends of our local shows. I was in Greeley CO the weekend of the Memphis Kennel Club’s August show. That’s the problem with resolutions, you can always rationalize your way out of them. Just get your butt to your local shows.

I resolve to get back in the show ring. I had two show prospects in my household in 2012, My Cairn Terrier, DeeDee, and my Italian Greyhound, Pepe. I had shown DeeDee with some modest successes, but she had asked for a break and we gave it to her. Unfortunately, we had to do an emergency spay on her last fall. She is now happily returned to her full-time job chasing squirrels and greeting visitors. Pepe has yet to step into a show ring. I had purposefully sought out an IG in a pied pattern even though I knew pieds did not do as well in the show ring. Hey, we Terrier guys like spots. However, Pepe matured quite large. I have been somewhat reluctant to pair a short, fat guy with an extra tall, leggy dog, but Pepe deserves a shot.

I resolve to attend more non-conformation events. I do get a chance to watch obedience and agility from time to time, but I rarely get out to field trials, coursing events or earthdog trials. As much as I love watching our Sporting Dogs, Hounds and Terriers in the show ring, watching them in the field is 10 times as exciting.

I resolve to get to a show at Purina Farms in Grey Summit MO, just outside St. Louis. I have not been to Purina’s site, one of the handful of venues in the US especially designed for dog shows. St. Louis is but five hours from my home. Over the past few years, it seems every time I think about getting up there, I find a different place to be. This year, I think Pepe and I will pay them a visit.

I resolve to familiarize myself with AKC’s miscellaneous breeds in the queue to join our recognized breeds in the show ring. After confusing a Treeing Walker Coonhound with a Harrier and mistaking an Icelandic Sheepdog for a Finnish Lapphund, I’ve decided to get ahead of the game. This year I will be visiting the miscellaneous rings more frequently so I can tell the difference between a Xoloitzcuintli and a Peruvian Inca Orchid.

Finally, I resolve to be more sympathetic to those fanciers who have catalogued all the things wrong with our hobby. They have spent years collecting and examining grievances, transgressions and offenses in our sport. They have energetically spread the word that all our competitions are fixed, 90 percent of dogs exhibited have fatal flaws, and our judges are inept and corrupt. After all, they might actually have something useful to add to the dialogue…and I might lose 100 pounds this year. And that’s today’s Back Story.

Written by

Billy Wheeler has been attending dog shows as a spectator and exhibitor for over 40 years. Billy is the man behind the popular Dog Show Poop. He is a retired management consultant who has advised multiple organizations affiliated with the AKC and the Cat Fanciers Association on business management, long range planning, customer service, and legislative matters. After 25 years of living in the big cities of New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC, he now resides in his hometown of Memphis TN with his wife, Brenda, her Toy Poodle and his Cairn, Scottie, & IG. When he is not blogging, Billy can be found in the kitchen cooking, and listening to opera.