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IMHO – Judges and Returning to Dog Shows

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94 – May, 2020

By Elaine Lessig

Kimberly Meredith - AKC Judge

1. What are the three most meaningful things you miss in your life as a judge? Please share why those are important.

I miss the dogs! Just being around dogs gives me joy. I also miss the people and my friends. We are a family. Many times we are a dysfunctional family, but we are indeed a family. I do see some positive attributes from this “time-out”. I really hope that people will stop being so nasty to each other and realize that politics, gossip, competing with each other’s dogs and racing for points back and forth across the country is not what life is about. Most of the time we are moving so fast and flying or driving from place to place that we do not stop to really know each other and our dogs.

I have been enthralled with the incredible presentations that some of our master breeders have put on. Doug and Jamie with the Clumbers, Debbie Butt with Whippets, Arvind with Dachshunds, Rebecca Cross with the Scotties and Krystin Stout with the Brittany. There would have been no time to do this if we were not at home. It shows how hungry we all are to learn, and keep learning! I think continuing to learn is vitally important in judging and breeding. I hope we can continue with these presentations. Thank you to EVERYONE that took the time for these presentations!

2. When you return to judging, what are your three major concerns and how do you plan to address them?

My major concern is most likely the same of everyone else’s–health, safety and travel. Our judging population is older. An airplane is a flying Petri dish. It is impossible to keep a 6 foot distance. On the news lately are flight attendants that have tested positive and have been flying with the public not knowing they were carriers. Is it worth risking ones health to fly to judge a dog show? For me, it is not. We still do not know if there will be a second strain of COVID-19. History and the experts tells us there most likely will be. It is very much like what our President and governors are struggling with now. How long do you keep people in? If you keep people out of work for too long, the entire US economy tanks. It is something no one knows. It is not political! No one has a crystal ball. I wonder how many people will have the money to show dogs when we start up again? People have been out of work and some cannot even make their house payments. Do we really think they will be showing dogs?

I, personally, have never looked at bites when I judge. I have always had the owner/handler show the bites. Likewise, when I showed my own dogs, I always asked to let me show my dogs bites. Should the judges wear masks? Should the exhibitors? There are so many breeds that you really do not even need to touch to see breed type. It always drives me crazy to watch judges “over-examine” (read manhandle) breeds that really do not need to be touched.

Wearing gloves will not work, as you would have to change with each dog. It goes without saying that judges will have to use hand sanitizer after each dog. Keeping a 6 foot distance is not that difficult once the exam is completed. At some point we all have to resume a somewhat normal life. I am not sure how this will affect dog shows and what protocols will be established, as we have never experienced this before. I pray that our sport survives and that everyone stays healthy.

Doug Johnson - AKC Judge

Click here to read the complete article
94 – May, 2020

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  • November 2020