I’ll bet you think this has nothing to do with writing, but you’d be wrong. Dogs make an appearance in all my novels, and so, too, do dog shows, so stay with me here. Besides, once in a while a person ought to be able to brag to their buddies about something other than writing accomplishments, right?
Our Labrador Retriever, Tynan, (officially Riversedge Tynan at Careann) is first and foremost a companion dog — a lay-on-your-feet, chase-a-stuffed-toy, and swim-in-the-lake, four-footed friend and family member. But our dogs always find their way into the show and obedience rings, too, and Tynan recently began his show career. At a Sporting Dog Specialty Show on Saturday he acquired his first four championship points with a nice “Best of Breed” win, handled by Jayne Luke. Way to go, Tynan and Jayne!!!
Jayne’s parents, Ted and Earlene Luke, were professional dog handlers for over 35 years so Jayne has pretty much been brought up in the dog show world. Ted passed away a couple years ago, but Earlene still gives handling lessons and has written a manual, “The Making of a Champion” which is a how-to resource for many of today’s successful dog show exhibitors. On her Elderfox blog, Earlene offers wisdom and wonderings on several subjects — usually writing, life or purebred dogs — but recently she has been sharing information on preparing dogs and their owners for the show ring in a series of posts entitled Being One’s Own Self. It might surprise you what goes into “the making of a champion”. Pop over there and say “hi” if you’re interested.
Always one to look for comparisons to the writing life, I couldn’t help thinking about all the people I’ve run into through my years at dog shows… people who acquired purebred dogs and thought the price and pedigree meant they would be able to walk the dog around a ring a few times and come out with a champion. How hard could it be? After a few years of trying they became disillusioned and blamed the judges for their lack of success. They hadn’t studied long enough to understand what constitutes a good quality, well conditioned and well presented dog.
Do you notice any parallels to the writer’s journey?