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Is Anybody Happy Here?

We’ve all been there. I can be the first to admit, “Guilty as charged!”

You know that moment when we find ourselves in a dumpy mood at a dog show? Well, lately I’ve been on the search to find out why, and to see if there are any truly happy people around. I’m not talking about just looking and acting happy. I mean really happy, in the fullest way possible.

Taking into account my own experiences, it seems that oftentimes we head to dog shows with one of two mindsets – negative or positive – more or less like an average person heads into any situation, right?

Well, perhaps it isn’t as clear-cut as this, but more often than not the thought crosses my mind whether anyone is actually fully satisfied just by being at a dog show.

Thoughts like, “Oh gosh, it’s the first day of the weekend and I already want it to be the last!” come up way too often for me to think that happiness is the reason exhibitors keep coming back to dog shows.

If it were the last day, you would have to pack up, drive “x” hours to get home, then prepare for the work week ahead. Is that better than spending time at what should be a place to celebrate our sport – and our dogs?

During a recent show weekend, I continued my search hoping to find truly happy people in a sea of what seemed to be not-so-happy people. Well, I have to admit that I came away with a more positive outlook on things for both myself and for exhibitors in general.

Take this moment for example:

A young handler celebrates her junior win by throwing her mom a thumbs-up!

Young people were sure to be the key to the happy moments I witnessed. Just look at the smile on the young handler’s face after she won her juniors class. At that very moment, she looked over at her mom and threw her a big smile and a thumbs-up! I hope that five years down the road she can look back and remember this moment because not only did it make her smile, but it did the same for everyone around her.

I found many young handlers excited about their wins. They have put in not only their time, but also their sweat and hard work into the sport. Now how’s this face for another happy winner?

Two happy guys right here after receiving a Group placement.

Before the moment captured in the photo above, the handler gave the crowd a total fist pump as he was awarded his Group placement. I was too busy clapping and smiling to capture that moment on camera, but I’m glad I got this shot!

The main motivator for this whole happy thing is – and always should be – our dogs! That’s right, and here is some more proof that I found:

A handler and her veteran girl showing some love in the ring!

It just so happens that I found proof at the Beagle ring, and that’s always OK with me. Looking at this photo reminds me just why I, me, myself, love being at shows, showing, and why I love dogs. Even if it’s not me in the ring, it’s exactly what I was searching for.

So on that note, here’s to finding true happiness in our sport!

After all, Dogs Freakin’ Rule!

Written by

Kayla Bertagnolli is a 23-year-old from Ogden, UT, who's been involved in the dog show world her whole life. A former junior handler who learned about breeding Beagles from her mother Leah, she assisted several professional handlers and is currently working to become a Junior Showmanship judge. Kayla is passionate about photography and writes the twice-weekly blog, DFR. She plans to continue breeding and showing, and expects to stay involved in dogs "for life!"