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The Big E’s – A Short Story by Elaine Lessig

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146 – September, 2017


Where to begin?? Let’s start at the beginning. For most of us dog show folk, the place where it all starts is the first time you go to a dog show, prepared or not. You groom your dog, dress for success, load your vehicle, and drive to the show. Then a myriad of issues confront you. Where do I park? How do I find my ring? Is it okay to groom here? Who has the dog’s armband? Will I know when to take my dog into the ring? Where do I stand? Will the judge speak to me and tell me what to do? I think I may be sick!

The rest is a blur. You know you got your armband, entered the correct class, came out with a ribbon, and did not fall or faint. Whew! What happened in between will remain a mystery. That was on Friday. Saturday and Sunday loomed on the horizon. Soon, it is time to pack up, go home, and get a handle on this dog show stuff.

Saturday goes a bit smoother. You get to the show a bit earlier, walk around, set up your grooming table, and watch a few breeds in a nearby ring. Seeing the dogs in the ring is helpful. It is a bit of an ‘ahh hah’ moment. Now, it is your turn to show your dog. A deep cleansing breath precedes the first step through the ring gate. As the class goes around, a greater sense of awareness takes hold. You hear and follow every direction, just the way you practiced and practiced in handling class. The class gets placed and you realize that you did better today. You congratulate the class winner and exit the ring telling your dog that he was a good boy today.

It is Sunday now–day three. A lot of the technical worries have been resolved. Today you have a new purpose: really show the dog. The judge asks you to repeat your down and back. She shows you a different way to hold the lead. “Much better,” she says with a smile when you are done. For you, it means the world. She hands you a red ribbon while taking a moment to suggest a different show lead. ‘What a great day’ you think.

From ringside you hear a fellow exhibitor offer to go with you to the vendors to look for that show lead the judge suggested. “My name is Jed,” he says. Off you go to find the right show lead. As you shop, you mention how much you appreciate the help. The purchase is made. Jed asks, “Are you going to the show next week?” Next, comes an invitation to set up with the some of the other exhibitors. “You have a nice young fellow there. You should do well with him.”

So it begins. With some personal ENGAGEMENT from a judge, a fellow exhibitor, and a new show lead, you are on your way. Let the fun begin!

Click here to read the complete article
146 – September, 2017

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