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What’s a Gun Dog Doing in the Show Ring?

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130 – August 2019

By Chris Robinson

My fellow American dogs, I’m speaking to you from the boss’ cluttered office. While it’s not oval, a good many policy decisions have been made within its walls and most of them have affected me. So, I am here to issue a warning about something that could bring a cloud to the future for some of you who are enjoying life in the field. I’m speaking, of course, of dog shows and the show ring.

The title of my address is “What’s a Gun Dog Doing in the Show Ring?” That’s a good question and one for which I’m not entirely certain I have a satisfactory answer. Perhaps an explanation of how I found myself in this alien environment will be helpful.

Like many of you, I’m a working stiff – a blue-collar dog – even though I have a lot of ancestors including dad and mom that are canine royalty but hey, what with the high cost of palace upkeep, even princes work these days. We don’t all do the same jobs. Some of you move livestock, others chase rabbits, raccoons, fox or coyotes, some have the job of ridding areas of rats, mice and other vermin, some have the job of finding lost people, some pull carts or accompany horses, some have contraband detection or protection work as their job, some do therapy or assistance work and still others have as their task simply sitting on their boss’ lap and providing comfort. All of these are very worthy endeavors.

For 29 of the 31 AKC-recognized members of my tribe, the primary job is to find and fetch birds. As for the other two, well, I can understand a bird lurer being included but how a dog whose job is to find mushrooms, for godsakes – expensive though they may be – wound up in the same crowd as bird dogs is beyond me. But, I digress. The point here is that we all have honest work and quite a few of us actually not only do it but do it well.

My job is to find and/or retrieve ducks, geese, pheasants and chukar, which are what the boss hunts. Even though a legal phrase, pro bono, is part of my fancy name, unlike a lot of the lawyers sitting around the halls of Congress and the various federal and state government agencies, I’m really quite good at what I do. However, like most of the other members of the sporting clan, there’s none of the elitist snobbery and condescension that you find in a whole lot of politicians or bureaucrats in my makeup. I’m pretty much a “good ole boy” at my core, the sort who, if we were humans and you walked into my neighborhood saloon, would invite you to put your foot on the rail and offer to buy you a beer. So how did a dog like me, whose job is to slog through mud, marsh muck, swamp grass, switch-grass and brush, a dog who goes by the simple name of “Bo,” wind up all gussied up prancing around a show ring?

Click here to read the complete article
130 – August 2019

Short URL: http://caninechronicle.com/?p=168052

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