Canine Accomplishment

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 LukeWay to go, Tynan and Jayne!!!

Judge Peter Bauer (WI), Tynan, Handler Jayne Luke (WA)

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?

21 thoughts on “Canine Accomplishment

  1. My daughter Julie shows Rottweilers. I love this post. How true your comments are. In fact we could apply your statement to many things in life. Whatever we do takes work to achieve great success. Many times, like you said, people think because they have spent so much money on the breed, they can walk into the ring and will have a winner. Just like writing, you can get the words down, but it takes a “few trips around the ring” to have a winner. Great post!

    • Cool! Well then, as you and Julie will know, those trips into the ring have to be preceded by lots of know-how, conditioning and practice. Whether we’re looking for a champion dog or a published book, it takes a lot of work and patience.

  2. I forgot!!! Congratulations!!!!!!!

  3. Erica Vetsch says:

    Congratulations! He’s beautiful. It brought back memories of weekends spent at Dog Trials with our Brittany Spaniels.

    • We sold a pup from our first litter of Shelties to a couple who bred and showed Brittany Spaniels. (The wife wanted a smaller breed for herself.) They had over fifty champions last I heard. I know they worked them in the field, too, but I don’t think they tackled the obedience ring. Our eldest daughter also has a Brittany. He has lots of energy but is very sweet natured. It’s a nice breed!

  4. joylene says:

    Ooh, I know a few writers who are quick to blame agents and publishers when their work is rejected. I’ve made that same declaration in the past, many many years ago. I thought they were nuts not to grab my work up. LOL. Then I joined an online group and submitted my mss for critiques. What an eye-opener that was!

    Great post, Carol. And what a beautiful animal.

    • When rejection dejection hits us, it’s easier to blame the gatekeepers than to see anything negative about our “babies”. You’re sure right… asking for critiques in both spheres gives us an unbiased reality check and points out where work is needed. (I know that first hand, don’t I?) 😉

  5. Jody Hedlund says:

    What a beautiful dog! You must be so proud!

    And I absolutely love your analogy! I think we’re both saying very similar things in our posts. There’s a LOT that goes into getting to the point where our stories are even ready to “show.” And then even more to get to the point where we’re winning (publishing). We really need to keep humble and realize that we have so much to learn.

    • Thanks, Jody. I’m always pleased to have our dogs’ quality acknowledged by a good show win, but after so many years in the dog show business I tend to take it in stride. Our dogs are selected on the basis of their potential show quality when they’re puppies, but after that they grow up as typical spoiled pets! Win or lose, after a show weekend I’m always glad to get them back home into everyday family life. I don’t know that there’s a continuing comparison in that, but I guess you can only take an analogy so far.

  6. Dave Ebright says:

    I don’t know much about dog shows or even writing. I do know that BOTH require lots of clean up – some of it shovel worthy.

    • You know more about writing than you give yourself credit for, Dave. I sure laughed at the comparison to BS that can use some shovelling! I guess we really do have lots of cleaning up to do in both areas.

  7. Patti says:

    Oh, I LOVE this new blog!!!
    Carol, we showed our Dalmatian and our Irish terrier babies YEARS ago, then blew that hobby off when we got Laura, our Humane Society special!

    So you’re an analogist!! LOVE IT!
    Yep. Good breeding of ideas, proper nourishment to grow foresaid, then perseverance.

    WOW, I won’t even TOUCH the subject of JUDGING!!! ONLY A dog show person and a rejected writer would understand!! LOL

  8. Hey, thanks for dropping by, Patti. Love that comment about judging. You’re so right!

  9. What a beautiful dog! Our first dog was a Brittany Spaniel that came from a long line of show dogs. Unfortunately for all of us, we weren’t trained to train him. He had terrible habits that made me swear I’d never get another dog, but when he was stolen I cried myself to sleep for weeks missing him. We’ve had dogs ever since, but they’re always the strays that show up in our yard and never leave.

    It seems to me that there’s much more to learn about any hobby or career than we imagine when we start out. Recognizing when we’ve learned enough to compete is hard, too.

    • Erica mentions having a Brittany, too. I guess like many dogs they’re smart enough to know when they have the upper hand!

      I highly recommend obedience classes! That analogy carries over, too, doesn’t it? 🙂

  10. Laura Best says:

    Congratulations! What a beautiful dog! We just own a kitty who thinks he’s a dog by times. He wouldn’t win any awards but we like him!

    Ah yes, those writers who do not understand the time and dedication it takes, who think they can whip up a story than will be snapped up right away. They end up discouraged and sometimes quit. In a way it’s too bad. Who knows what gems they might have written a year or two down the road or even five or ten?

  11. Paul Greci says:

    Beautiful Dog!! And I love your analogy!!! Thanks, Carol:-)

    • Thanks and welcome back, Paul! I gather your kayak trip was wonderful. When I discovered you were back I hopped over to your blog. It’s great that you made a start on a new YA novel, and the pictures are fabulous. They make me want to venture north again. 🙂

  12. Fabulous article and such a reminder of what I’m about to get myself back into…LOL. Congratulations on a wonderful win!

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