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Table Talk – November 7, 2018

It’s hard to believe there are only six show weekends left in 2018! It seems like the year just started. I blinked, and POOF! The year is coming to a close. Best of luck to all that are making that year-end push to the top.

I was able to journey to Ft Wayne, Indiana this past week for a couple days to see my “hometown” friends. Ft. Wayne has always been one of my favorite clusters. Logistically, it is only a couple hours from home for me, and not only am I able to see local folks, but I am always assured to see some who travel from around the country to garner those end-of-the year points. I was glad I could be there on Peter Green’s 82nd birthday, too. All the exhibitors serenaded Peter with a round of Happy Birthday before Best In Show on Thursday. The cluster committee does a great job making the show a positive exhibitor experience, and the venue, in my opinion, is one of the best in the country for a dog show. This year the entry ranged from about 700 on Wednesday to around 1100 on Saturday. While I remember when this cluster had entries numbering 2,500+, the competition was once again very deep with a number of top dogs in the country competing for top honors. I think the Fort Wayne cluster had the largest entry in the country this past weekend. Kudos to the cluster committee and the show superintendent for doing a great job with ring scheduling! Best In Show was over before 5 pm on the smaller days and before 6 pm on Saturday, the day with the largest entry. I am still puzzled and cannot understand why my friends on the West Coast cannot figure out how to schedule a show so it does not run for 11 or more hours each day.

The original room block at the Hyatt Orlando Convention Center for the AKC National Championship cluster sold out quickly. Due to popular demand, a few rooms were added. As of the writing of this column, there were still a couple rooms left, but they will not last long!

I am always willing to admit when my point of view on a given topic was mistaken and I must admit that my opinion regarding greyhound racing has changed. The greyhound breed has always been near and dear to my heart. In fact, this is the first time in many years we have not shared our home with a greyhound. While all of the greyhounds that we have owned have been conformation dogs, I have had the opportunity to spend time with several retired racing greyhounds. As a result of the proposed statutes to outlaw greyhound racing in Florida, I spent some time educating myself about how these dogs are cared for during their racing career and I spoke to the head of the American Greyhound rescue about his feelings regarding the proposed statutes. I was very surprised to learn that even those who spend countless hours finding homes for the retired racers are NOT in favor of the proposed statute to ban racing. While racing, the dogs are kept in top condition and their excellent care receives top priority. When retired, all work together to find the dogs the best possible homes. The application process to adopt a retired racer is very detailed and thorough in order to ensure the best retirement homes are found. In addition, this hits a bit too close to our sport for my comfort, i.e. conformation, obedience, agility, etc. If they are successful in banning greyhound racing, next on the list could easily be the sport we all know and love.

I hear Bobby Paust was off in Japan for his second overseas judging assignment of the year. Safe travels back to the states my friend!

Robin Novack shared some very compelling thoughts with me regarding the selection of mentors, and I’d like to share them with you:

1. Be thoughtful when selecting a mentor. The goal is to learn, not to be comfortable. It is easy to fall into the trap of choosing someone who will support your lack of objectivity. Many good mentors are kind, but not necessarily gentle. They have been around for a long time and have seen a lot. At worst, they may have been vilified by the very people they attempted to help. At best, they have wasted their time. They are direct, matter of fact, and often impatient. Although you may not be coddled by them, you will be enlightened.

2. If your mentor points out virtues in the dogs of others, suggests you study history and pedigrees, and urges you to work harder and behave in a “gentlemanly” manner, you are probably in the right place. If your mentor is unable to find virtue in the dogs of other breeders or owners; often has excuses; gossips and complains – run! You will learn little and become bitter from a perspective that is anything but objective.

3. It is also possible to LEARN from mentoring. I had a conversation today with a very dear friend of mine who I am proud to say I have mentored. She was explaining to me why she is using a certain stud dog that I have not supported. She was very objective and had very good reasons why it made sense. I listened and took to heart what she said. It made a lot of sense!

A very special Happy Birthday to Millie Bryant who recently celebrated her 97th birthday! I have very fond memories of showing to Millie and I’m glad that she is doing well.

Also celebrating birthdays this week are: David Williams, Christian Manelopoulos, Hal Biermann, Ernesto Lara, Jim Noe (the good Jim!), Julie Parker, Linda Hurlebaus, Kenny Craig, Rex Linn and my ‘utha mutha’ Ellen Fetter.

I leave you this week with a compelling thought from my friend Heather Johnson: Someone asked me why I am always smiling. I replied, why not? I’m blessed in too many ways to count. No matter what kind of day you are having, someone is having one much worse. Instead of focusing on negative, let’s focus on positive! SMILE!!!!!!!

Be safe all! Until next time…

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