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Sportsmanship Reigns at The Greenville Kennel Club Dog Show

By Bev Crosby, Greenville Kennel Club Obedience & Rally Chairperson

Each year at the Greenville Cluster, there is an elderly handler who comes to show her Shih Tzu in obedience. This is the only show she does each year. She comes alone, carrying her dog in her arms. Someone drops her off and picks her up at the end of the day. Usually she shows up too early for her class, but always finds the courage to ask someone where she should go and when her class starts. She isn’t very knowledgeable of the rules, nor has she progressed very far out of any of the various options of Novice classes. But, she loves to show her dog.

She sits silently in a chair outside her assigned ring, waiting…waiting. Invisible to the rest of us bustling about warming up our dogs, worried about the slighest bobble.

Close your eyes and imagine the picture of what I witnessed today.

On one side of the obedience venue, Utility B is celebrating a 200. With that party over, I return to my crate to begin packing up. It was then that I notice the Pre Novice ring. The time for the elderly handler to enter the ring has begun. She has been assigned a Steward to walk beside her to demonstrate what she should do. The steward quietly leads, yet finds a way to stay out of the way so as to not interfere. Basically, the handler needs to mirror what the Steward is doing.

I notice that some experience OTCH handlers are making their way ring side to watch; stopping their busyness to watch. The final “Exercise Finished” is announced. There is an awkward silence…broken by applause louder than any 200 ever heard. The team has qualified. The exhibitor hugs the judge in gratitude.

Yep, I saw true sportsmanship today. And was reminded what drew us all to this sport to begin with–to do something with our dog to the best of our ability for as long as we can. Because that is where JOY is.

…There’s more to this story. On Friday, the exibitor, Jan showed to “Mike” Willaquette, and Mike challenged us all to put our heads together and find a way to help Jan compete. Jan is almost totally deaf, and the background noise is so bad that her hearing aids are useless. Then on Sunday, Jan was set to show to Aimee Kincaid, and Aimee stepped up to the challenge. She said if we could find an aide to walk with Jan in the ring and repeat the judges instructions, as long as the person was not a GKC member , that would be allowable. I knew just who would be perfect! I asked Barb Mina, who had stewarded for me in the past, is a very experienced obedience competitor, a member of the Dog Obedience Club of Greenville, was in contention for high in trial, and just a wonderful person. I only found out then that her husband has implants to hear – Barb was just the perfect person to do this! She jumped right into it, went over and warmed up with Jan, and then walked with her through the course! When the judge announced ” exercise finished”, I’d bet the cheers could be heard out in the conformation rings! Then when the class was done, and ribbons were handed out, we all found out that Jan had come in Fourth place!!!!! There were more than a few wet eyes watching!!!! I think this made the show for more than a few this weekend! And that’s why we all work so hard at what we do! Thank you Mike, Aimee and Barb for being true sportsmen and helping Jan with her dreams!

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Posted by on Aug 2 2016. Filed under Featured, The Buzz. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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