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The Big E – Easier Said Than Done

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174 – February, 2020

By Elaine Lessig

Is it just me? Do you find it getting harder and harder to get almost anything done and get it done well? I wonder. Am I imagining it, setting my expectations too high, or simply being unrealistic? I keep trying to convince myself that it is all okay. “Okay?” “Okay,” I say until that voice in my head, which is never quiet, jolts me to attention. “Surely,” it says, “NO. It is not!” Then I realize I can no longer ignore the fact that as we try to simply smooth over the cracks in the wall, there they remain, only to be finished another day. Thus, the obvious problem, that day may never come. The cracks may never be fixed properly. The wall may actually fall down. Is that really necessary? Is it what we are willing to accept, or do we want to do better?

I spent a recent weekend visiting with good friends who also breed, show, chair conformation events, and judge, too. We talked about current events, politics, decorating, and recent travel adventures. The conversation was non-stop for three days. Usually, it was lighthearted, but eventually it would turn to our dog lives, the shared passion for the sport, our concerns for the present, and questions about the future. Time after time, we played “How Can We Do It Better”. Should all judges progress in exactly the same way? Will Heritage Breeders gain a level of respect which inspires other breeders? Will the desire for purebred dogs rise or decline? Are bigger clusters good or bad for the future of dog shows? The variety of issues we discussed challenged each of us to troubleshoot them thoughtfully.

One evening we looked up at the clock to see it was past 2AM! The dogs had fallen asleep on the sectional, snuggled between us and across our laps. The sound of their gentle snoring formed the background noise for an intense discussion which had been going on for five hours. There were four or five subjects for which we had found constructive ways to apply a fix, if anyone would be willing to listen. Then we hit a big wall. Although all four of us have judged with many other judges from other countries and registries, the American judges are the only ones who acquire breeds one by one. Other judges can get a group at a time, part of a group, or several groups. They become all breed judges much faster than we do, if we want to follow that path. The result is that there are more foreign all-rounders than we have under the AKC system. Which is the better way? Why? It’s not world peace, but we truly wanted to find détente.

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174 – February, 2020

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  • February 2020