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Good Boy, Doc!

A recent weekend saw a big four-day cluster in upstate New York – the Wine Country circuit. Our first ever litter of Belgian Tervurens was not quite 7 months old, and five of the pups were making their conformation debuts.

The results from the weekend were an incredible tribute to my daughter’s research in doing the breeding, and to the sire and dam. Our pups took all the points – one 2 pointer and seven 5-point majors. My daughter’s bitch puppy finished her championship in three straight shows – 5 points each time. My dog pup, Doc, took one of the 5-point majors himself.

Obviously we were thrilled and excited over the great showing by our pups – a tribute also to their owner-handlers and to all the upstate New York Terv community who helped hold or handle dogs when needed.

And certainly, I do NOT want to hand away Doc’s major, but a different accomplishment of his that weekend was even better.

The happy public relations puppy, Doc, at 5 months old. Photo courtesy of Deb Eldredge.

On Thursday, I arrived early to walk Doc around the show grounds. He had attended a few shows as a spectator or in the 4-to-6 puppy events, but this was his first “real” competition. He is an outgoing, happy, very friendly pup with plenty of confidence.

As we walked up to our ring, a small bus unloaded a group of special needs teenagers and their teachers. The teens clustered together, looking with open admiration at the stunning dogs walking by them. And the dogs were being walked way around them. Some people were clearly hustling to get to their rings, others didn’t want to take a chance on their many hours of grooming being rumpled by inexperienced spectators.

I looked at their eager faces, took a deep breath and said to Doc, “Hope you are up to this.” I approached the group and said that my puppy was at his first show and that he loved people and would they like to pet him? Huge smiles came out, and the teachers reminded everyone to ask first, then pet gently.

Doc was thrilled. The kids came by one or two at a time, petting him and telling him how handsome he was and that he would win. I told them how he is called Doc after the Bugs Bunny quote, “What’s up, Doc?” They all thought he was great. For his part, Doc behaved beautifully, though he might have wondered why none of these judges checked his bite or his privates!

One girl was so cute. She gave Doc top-quality petting including an ear scratch. Then she turned to her friend and squealed, “I got to pet a SHOW dog!”

After five or 10 minutes, everyone had gotten to pet Doc, and we went on our way. At dinner that night, I’d bet every one of those kids told their parents how cool dog shows and purebred dogs are. And I’d bet their parents mentioned to friends what a great time their kids had at a dog show and how nice purebred dogs are.

In just a few minutes, Doc did more positive PR work for dog shows and purebred dogs than any amount of expensive ads could have done. There are times when we are rushing to our ring, can’t have grooming messed up or have a dog that wouldn’t be comfortable in that type of situation. But, if we all can do it when possible, these one-on-one positive interactions will do more good for our sport than any titles or awards.

Good boy, Doc!

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  • Beckie Lloyd October 20, 2012 at 10:10 AM

    What a great story!! My dogs are therapy dogs, but even before that, I would always love to take them over to the bus full of elderly people or special needs kids. I never thought of it as PR, but just as making that person’s day. The PR probably was excellent too! A lot of those people have probably never seen a Terv before, or in my case an English Setter. They ask funny questions- like what kind of a mutt is he. But they don’t know any better.

    I hope more people take the time with spectators.

    • Deb Eldredge, D.V.M.
      Deb E October 22, 2012 at 9:43 AM

      My first “as a grown up” dog was an English Setter who had been a research dog. Toby was a fabulous therapy dog – well known in the nursing homes around Ann Arbor at the time.

  • Debbie Maheu October 20, 2012 at 10:17 AM

    Thank you Deb for always going the extra mile with your dogs. The dog world has three stunning ambassadors in you and your children, Kate and Tom. We all need to slow down and think about how we can make a difference.

  • Vicki McCloud October 20, 2012 at 10:18 AM

    What a great tribute to the breed and handler. Deb you have done a terrific job showing and socializing….thanks for sharing.

  • Mimi October 20, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    Good for you and Doc, Deb!

    Congrats on your points and big kudos to you for making the time, to be kind!

    To often we get caught up in the competition and forget that it’s the dogs that bring the humans together.

    Wine County Shows are a ton of fun. There is plenty of time to chat it up with fans ringside. I had fun helping out my FlatCoat friends by holding different dogs/bitches while their owners shuffled from BredBy to Open to BOB. I was thrilled with “Joey” from Huntlane who kept actively seeking out passersby to pet him.

    I’m proud to own an overly friendly breed and have the time to enjoy the humans that go along with ’em:>

    • Deb Eldredge, D.V.M.
      Deb E October 22, 2012 at 9:44 AM

      Love Flat Coats Mimi! Find me by the Terv ring at the next upstate NY shows :) Or Springfield this weekend!

  • Peri October 22, 2012 at 8:25 AM

    Good girl, Deb!

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