Monday, March 24, 2008

Dog Shows, Winners, Friends and an Award

Swede William, the handsome boy

We had shows this weekend down in Franklin, Tennessee, about a half hour south of Nashville. Bill is away, so I couldn't leave anyone home; we'd be gone way too long. Emmett, who lives with Heather and Jason and Baby Ben, was entered, and the exciting thing was that Heather was going to get to go and watch Emmett show for the first time in forever! We bemoaned the fact that since Heather would be present, the mean dog show gods would make sure that Emmett wouldn't win, but it would be a fun day, we would get to visit, and I would have help.

I loaded up the whole waggle, many of whom had assumed when I put on Dog Show Clothes in the dark that they would be left home and were thrilled to go and bounced and bounded and wooed and wagged and got ridiculously tangled and macromayed their leads between the gate and the van doors and celebrated life. We picked up Heather and Emmett and headed east and south. It had been such a long time since Mama Pajama had been in the crate behind my head, that I ate the whole muffin Heather brought without saving Mama Pajama a bite. I caught her look of utter dismay and disgust in my rearview mirror. Oh no!

We arrived in a quick three hours and walked the seven who weren't showing, gave them their biscuits and tucked them in, and headed into the building with the three show dogs: Emmett, Swede William, and Lindy Loo. It’s such fun to arrive at the whippet ring and to see whippet friends! And they were so relieved to see that I had brought my own dear helper. When I go alone with three dogs, then I have to rely on the kindness of people who wish they were strangers to hold my other two when I am in the ring with one. No big deal you say? These three dogs love to show. So when I am in the ring with one, the other two, erm, voice their displeasure at being outside of the ring instead of inside.

“There’s been a mistake! A gross error in judgment,” they scream. “I’m quite certain I should be in there! She’s utterly senile, you know. It must be my turn!” It’s not pretty, and eardrums have been shattered. Heather had been warned and was ready for the craziness.

Emmett went in first. He was very, very good, having neither shown nor practiced since August, for goodness sake. He got his first place ribbon, and his reward was for me to dash out of the ring, hand him in a blind rush to Heather, grab Swede William, and run back into the ring. The whole process took about twenty-five seconds.

[A little dog show primer – if you show, you can skip this. Dog show classes wait for no dog. If your class is called and you are not there, you lose. If your class is called and you are at the in gate fiddling with leashes and changing your armband number, you annoy your judge. Mightily. These judges are allotted about two minutes per dog and they might have 178 dogs to judge and they are standing in the heat/cold/rain on cement/mud/dirt and they have been doing it for about 100 years and if you are piddling around at the in gate and they are waiting oh they are not happy dog show judges and they sigh wearily and think unkind thoughts and bad words. There are several classes in each breed, divided by sex, for non-champions. The winners of each of the classes come back into the ring to compete against its sex for “Winners”. The one Winners Dog and one Winners Bitch are the only dogs of each breed to win points toward their Championship. The number of points they win depends on the number of dogs they defeat. Then the Winners Dog and Bitch go back in to compete with the Champions for Best of Breed. There is a language of dog shows: singles, majors, Winners, Best of Opposite, Breed, Specials, Group Ring, and on and on. It is baffling at first.]

We had found a wonderful volunteer to take Emmett back in the ring on the chance that William also won his class. He did. I stayed in the ring with William for Winners and the sweet volunteer grabbed Emmett from Heather (now Lindy Loo was really annoyed) and came in the ring behind William. Emmett thought he should be with me, but was a good, good boy. So we’re running around in the final go round and the judge points to someone behind me for Winners. The sweet girl who had Emmett passed behind me and said, “Sorry.” I thought she was leaving the ring, apologizing for Emmett wanting to be with me. The normal protocol when you don’t win is to quickly say congratulations to the winner and get out of the ring. Emphasis on ‘quickly’ and ‘get out’. I was confused. I paused. I looked at my friends behind me. “Who?” I asked. “Your dog,” they cried! “Not me, he didn’t point to me,” I said, looking as befuddled as I felt. “Your Bred By dog,” they yelled, pointing at Emmett and generously not adding DUMMY! I turned to see Emmett and his handler and the judge standing in the Winners spot and I jumped up and down. Yay! Yay! The dog show gods had indeed been kind and Heather got to see her puppy win! “Yay, oh yay,” I jumped and shouted and turned to smile at Heather! (The “sorry” had been for beating William in Winners, thinking that I had wanted William to win, which of course wasn’t the case, but was the source of my great confusion.)

“Get out of the ring,” shouted everyone else! Oops.

The drive home is always so much shorter when you’re laughing with a friend the whole way.

We had to leave at 5:40 the next morning, and I didn’t see why Heather should have to wake up at oh dark thirty simply to hand me her dog. She was staying home to enjoy Baby Ben’s Easter with family. Here is where Saint Dee comes in. Saint Dee went with me on Easter Sunday just to help. Saint Dee got up at oh dark thirty and spent six plus hours in the van and held the Screaming Meme’s ringside just to be kind. And this is not the first time she has done this. Saint Dee does not even own a whippet, though she is a dear beloved Auntie to the waggle. How lucky am I? How lucky?

Emmett, Swede William, and Lindy Loo doing zoomies in the yard

So, Emmett had spent the night on Saturday and he noticed that his sissy Lindy Loo had matured since he last saw her. And he had missed the whole thing. And he was a Very Horny Whippet. On Sunday at the show, Emmett did not mind not being with me. But he minded intensely being separated from his sexy (in his male adolescent brain only) sissy. Dee not only had to hold the screaming meme’s, she had to prevent ringside Consummation of Decidedly Unbrotherly Acts, which Emmett was quite determined to commit. And when Emmett was in the ring with me, he made it clear that he needed desperately to be out with Lindy Loo. And another friend took him in for Winners, but today was Swede William’s day and he won!

Each of the boys got a little closer to their championships, and it was a grand weekend and I’m indebted to good people. Sam I Am thinks I forgot him and he tried to remind me that he is the star and should be doing agility when we gave him a little walk around the show grounds before we left. I told him it would be his turn again soon. But all the dogs were so delighted to go, and I could not have done it by myself.

Today the dogs are sleeping it off. And I am writing this long story to say thank you.

And we got a fun award from our friend Koobuss! We are Totally Hip! (Clearly, this only applies to the whippets and not, after the above story, the Senile Servant!)

We are going to pass it on to Rudy, who is a Bedlington which is hip to begin with, and he does Agility, which is even hipper, and he takes in rescues which is the hippest!
And we would like to pass it on the The Canine Kids, with whom we are discovering we have a great deal in common, and if we are hip, they must be too!

Hug your hounds


  1. Tee hee... Nothing like a little confusion in the ring ;) Congrats with great results!

    Ane & the Wriggles

  2. I love hearing about things that I am not familiar with. Going to a dog show sounds like fun. When we move to Paducah you can enlist Xan and I to do bidding. We make good servants.
    Congrats to everyone and dog on their wins.

  3. A tremendously fun Saturday.


  4. I love you!!!
    (and I like your writing too.)

  5. You guys did GREAT! I'm so happy for you and I know it was especially fun for Heather to be there on Emmett's day ! :-) Congratulations!!
    Great summary of dog show speak, too!
    Laurie and Simmer (very proud of brother Em, still worried about William but like him a little more), and Spats and Rivet too

  6. Aww, it's so cute that your hubby commented on your blog!

    Congratulations on a fun and prosperous weekend!

    Jackie (still buried in snow)

  7. CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL!!! we are vicariously (sp?)quite proud, and since P-Doggy has HIS Ch. we, too, have graduated to "ringside holder",which we will be doing THIS weekend in Syracuse. Poor Em-tell him Phantom doesn't discriminate, he'll try to breed anything standing still-hence,HE won't be joining us ringside!

  8. Woo Woo Wooo.....congratulations to Swede William! And thanks for introducting us to Rudy and "the other" pack. They have six now, and are adding a horse. Does that bring them to your grand total?


  9. What a FUN weekend you had! And congrats on the wins! I wish I understood more of the dog show world lingo and how it all works...maybe someday!

    Shannon and the entire Zoo Crew

  10. and her Mom said,
    Wow, what an exciting weekend and Congratulations! Reading your post was like being in the ring with you. Thanks for sharing the show with us.
    The best part though was seeing the whippets snuggled in their bed.
    Thank you, thank you for the award. We at the Canine Kids are honored to receive an award from such wonderful, talented whippets and their servant who are all decidedly hip.

  11. That sounds like a chaotic good time to me! Congrats to your two winners! It sounds like Lindy Loo is the Angelina Jolie of the whippet waggle these days, turning all the boys heads!

  12. What a busy and productive day. You are very lucky to have great dogs and friends.
    Congrats on the award.

  13. Congwatulations on those gweat wesults..Mommi says she can just pictoowe evewything pawfectly the way you descwibe it, and was giggling..I am expecting all nine of you next Eastew..that will be gweat!
    smoochie kisses

  14. Many congratulations to the Waggles!

  15. Congrats :)
    Xsara doesn't like dog expos, we tried when she was a pup but she was so uncomfortable that I stopped showing her.

    Great story. And it's really nice to hear from you again :)


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