From the January 2019 Issue of ShowSight - The Dog Show Magazine. Click to subscribe.
Make the Most of Every Month
The dog sport is governed by the demands of the show calendar. January signals a trip to the warmth of Florida or the winds of Palm Springs. New York becomes the center of the universe in February, followed by excursions to Louisville in March and Perry, Georgia, or Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in mid-April. Of course, the calendar provides weekend options—some say too many—for exhibitors, so finding those majors and finishing that championship is not out of the question. As you plan your year ahead, consider the following tips that could help to make the most of every month.
JANUARY: Welcome New Beginnings. The start of a New Year brings with it the opportunity to let go of the past and embrace the things to come. Make a commitment to explore the possibilities that lie ahead. Plan for the future, of course, but allow serendipity to guide you through the challenges that life will inevitably bring your way.
FEBRUARY: Try a Little Love. We all love dogs, naturally. So why not express this love in new ways that complement your dog activities? The next time you’re heading to a cluster of shows, stop by the local animal shelter and drop-off a bag of dog food. Tell them you’re in town for the dog show and extend an invitation to all those dog-loving volunteers.
MARCH: Are You Feeling Lucky? Part of being a good sport is wishing your competitors good luck. So is saying thank you in return. This simple exchange represents one of the guiding principles of competition that’s as true for handlers of Boxers as it is for prizefighters: Ladies and gentlemen wish one another luck before battling it out in the ring.
APRIL: Let It Rain! Everybody knows that April showers bring May flowers. But precipitation can quickly become a deluge—metaphorically speaking—that is more likely to overwhelm than rejuvenate. When the pressures of life fill to bursting, give yourself a break and remember to stop and smell the roses.
MAY: Mysterious Motherhood. It’s no mystery that the only way to ensure a future for purebred dogs is to breed the very best bitches. The future of the dog sport depends on progress made in the whelping box. Take time to study pedigrees, make the necessary arrangements with the stud dog’s owner(s) and let Mother Nature do the rest.
JUNE: World’s Greatest Dad. Pedigree and performance are useful criteria when determining a dog’s potential usefulness as a sire. Be sure to consider both when
reviewing potential stud dogs. Titles on both ends can be a useful indicator of a dog’s ability to pass along his brains as well as his brawn.
JULY: Declare Your Independence. If mid-year finds you feeling like a victim of circumstance, it’s time to try a different approach to finding success. Free yourself from those old habits and develop a new playbook for the second half. There’s still time to rededicate yourself and achieve
AUGUST: Take a Break. Sometimes the stresses of a campaign can lead to burn-out. Feel free to disconnect from the day-to-day grind during the Dog Days of Summer to allow yourself a chance to “reboot.” Sneak away to the mountains or the beach to recharge and rediscover what’s really important in your life.
SEPTEMBER: Working for a Living. A renewed enthusiasm combined with hard work can make any goal achievable. Recommit to a routine and stay the course. Don’t let the distractions of life (especially your life online) keep you from enjoying the work you do. Remember, the ribbons you earn represent the work as much as they do the win.
OCTOBER: Trick or Treat! Every exhibitor experiences the highs and lows of competing in the dog sport. Sometimes you’re treated to win after glorious win. At other times, the wins elude you and it can seem as though life is playing a cruel trick. Win or lose, it’s always how you play the game that matters most in the long run.
NOVEMBER: Attitude of Gratitude. As you make those final entries for the last shows of the year, it’s easy to forget the people who’ve helped you along the way. Family and friends usually top the list, but just as likely to be forgotten are the dogs that have shared the ride. Don’t forget to acknowledge the two-and four-legged friends that have earned your gratitude.
DECEMBER: A Time of Reflection. As the days grow shorter, the list of things to do only grows longer and longer. Where has the year gone? In the frenzy to cross the finish line, be sure to reflect on life’s many blessings. Enjoy the season. Before you know it, another year will have arrived with 12 more chances to make the most of every month.