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Why the Show Community Has to Speak Out

Click here to read the complete article
158 – April 2019

By Sandy Weaver

“Adopt – don’t shop!”
“Mutts are healthier.”
“Rescue dogs appreciate that you saved their life.”

These and many other trite phrases populate not just animal rights sites – they’re all over social media, too. Otherwise smart people fall for untruths heard over and over. Add a cute or heart-tuggingly sad picture and you have an avalanche of warm-hearted people believing bone-headed tripe.

For a long time, most responsible breeders didn’t speak up or speak out. Many still don’t. Fear of AR people showing up at their homes caused clubs to pull members’ addresses from websites and superintendents to pull exhibitors’ addresses from catalogs. Those are smart moves – all except for that “not speaking up and speaking out” part. It’s high time we stood up for the sport, breeds and dogs we love.

We have to speak out if we want the sport of dogs to survive. And we have to stop our own mouths from denigrating this sport we love while we’re at it.

“Judges just put up handlers.”
“Handlers are crooked and buy their wins.”
“There aren’t any great dog people left in this sport.”

These and many other trite phrases populate the FB dog show pages and conversations. Otherwise smart people fall for untruths heard over and over. Add a “this really happened to my best friend’s friend” story and you have an avalanche of dog-show people believing bone-headed tripe.
We love our sport, but we badmouth it. How does that fly with the general public? People who already believe “adopt, don’t shop” and all the other virtue-signaling language that’s out there watch us tear each other apart and it reinforces their low opinion of purebreds and the people who love and breed them.

We are better than that. Now we have to prove it.

We’re late to this party, but not too late. It’s time to remember to put our party manners on any time we’re talking about our sport, whether in person or online. Maybe especially online, since those conversations last forever in the interwebs.

It’s time we give each other the benefit of the doubt. Yes, showing dogs is a competition. Yes, showing dogs is a hobby for some and a livelihood for others. Yes, long days and tight schedules can create some tension. But seriously – take a breath before you pop off at the mouth!

Borrowing wisdom from Rumi:

“Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates: At the first gate, ask yourself ‘Is it true?’ At the second gate ask, ‘Is it necessary?’ At the third gate ask, ‘Is it kind?’”

If you answer anything but a resounding “yes” to all three questions, let it go.

It’s all too easy to get caught up in negativity. Heck, it’s pretty much human nature to get caught up in negativity. It’s also human to nurture, and to try to help “the underdog” succeed. Our sport, whether we like it or not, is now the underdog in the minds of many animal lovers. In their eyes, we’re a throwback to quainter times at best, and cruel and unnecessary at worst.

The very last thing we need to do is prove them right.

Click here to read the complete article
158 – April 2019

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Posted by on Apr 15 2019. Filed under Current Articles, Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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