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Table Talk · July 21, 2021

At its July 2021 meeting, the American Kennel Club board approved modifications to the Rules, Policies and, Guidelines for conformation dog show judges. An email was circulated to all AKC licensed conformation judges stating that these modifications were intended to provide greater clarity and enhance the understanding of AKC’s expectations for those approved to judge. A summary of the modifications was included in the email. There are two modifications that have sparked a great deal of discussion.

First, the email highlighted that clarification language was added to provide clear direction that judges should not attend private functions with exhibitors who have exhibited or may exhibit to them in the same weekend of a circuit or cluster. The full language in the guidelines further clarifies that while judges may be at a function where exhibitors may be present, judges should not have discussions with individuals they may be judging that weekend and should be able to excuse themselves from a conversation. Not attending a function and not having discussions with exhibitors are two different things. While confusing, it is my interpretation that judging operations is requesting that everyone be mindful that impropriety is a concern and is not acceptable. If one is unsure of the right thing to do, perhaps a call to judging operations will help them make the right decision. As one of my mentors said to me long ago, “if you have to ask, it may be best to just not do it.”

The second topic that is being discussed with great concern is the addition of language concerning discussing dogs that individuals may have judged or will be judging. The language specifically states that judges should not promote or denigrate dogs they have or may be judging including posting photos of those dogs and commenting on those dogs on social media. I have read both the summary language and the actual addition to the guidelines, and it is my humble opinion that judges are not being discouraged from discussing positive and negative traits about dogs they may have judged. One can have a conversation about a dog’s traits without promoting or denigrating it. At least, I hope this is the case. As fanciers, we all can expand our knowledge and part of doing that is discussing our views with others about certain traits of dogs. Once again, for clarification on the additions to the guidelines, judging operations is the place to call.

The Oklahoma/Texas march moves on from San Antonio to Houston this week, and I am excited to see everyone on that final stop! David Harper took a detour via the hospital after becoming ill at the show on Sunday. He has since been released after being given an injection to prevent blood clots. A big shout-out to Donna Buxton for finding Jen quickly so David could get the help he needed sooner rather than later. Feel better soon, my friend!  Take it easy!!

It was great to hear that Clint Livingston was back at it after his recent surgery. Take it slow, my friend. Those left-handed circles are not going anywhere! I hear both of Clint and Karen’s kids, Demery and Langdon, made mommy and daddy very proud this past weekend in the breed ring with dogs bred by their parents!

Congratulations to Colton and Heather Johnson on the beautiful new training facility they are building in Colorado. Under The Sun Dog Training has been around for quite some time, but Colton and Heather are taking it to the next level! Best wishes on a very successful next chapter in their business!

Vicki Seiler-Cushman’s donut shop is just about ready to open!!!!!  Exhibitors who find themselves travelling to the Roberts Center/Royal Canin Ring will want to make time to visit ‘Glazed’ which is only about 15 minutes from the facility.

My heart is numb with the news about the passing of AKC Judge Luc Boileau. Luc was known for his vast knowledge and quick, dry wit. He was one of the first judges I showed to when I started my career in dogs, and I adored him from that moment on. I am sure that Ed will be happy to have Luc once again at his side, but he will be sorely missed by the fancy. Rest well, my dear friend. We miss you already!

Exhibitors may notice a slight increase in entry fees.  After working on my travel for the next several weeks, I can assure you that any slight increase in entry fees is covering the increase in expenses to put on shows–a large part of which is travel expenses.  My rental car expenses have nearly tripled from a couple of years ago, and hotel expenses are not far behind.  Let’s be supportive of the clubs that are working so hard to hold shows and be understanding of what it takes to make the shows happen.

Attention: Clubs are still in need of help! Specifically, the Rose City Cluster in Oregon, the last week of July, is looking for help with parking.  If you are able or know of someone that can help, please email Karen Stenlund at nwdogshowparking@gmail.com.

Marion, Ohio and the Iced Tea Cluster in Muncie, Indiana are both looking for stewards. Please email Tonda Wright at WSAStewrds@gmail.com if you are able to help out.

Happy Anniversary to Kim and Angela Booth! I cannot believe it has been 20 years since you guys tied the knot and made it official! May you have many more wonderful adventures, both African and Equine, in your future!

Celebrating birthdays this week are:  Joe Gregory, Angie Lloyd, Kristin Lyons, Tabatha Buckley Bettis, Mickey Feigelson, Carissa Shimpeno, and Judy Welch. May you all have a great day filled with friends and loved ones!

Be safe out there, my friends. May your days be filled with big ribbons, beautiful dogs, and wonderful friends. Be kind to those hard-working volunteers, and if you are not a member of a local club, please think about joining one! I look forward to seeing everyone in Houston.  Until next time….


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