From the May 2019 Issue of ShowSight. Click to subscribe.
While some might view May as a great time for an ocean break, we, despite the photo, are in Ft. Lauderdale for more serious pursuits. And one cannot get much more serious than the credentials of the friends (more like family) with whom I proudly posed for the above: David Haddock, Ev Gregory, and Joe Gregory represent more experience in and contributions to our sport than most other threesomes one might see. What a treat to get to dine, leisurely, together rather than wolfing down a hot dog between breed & groups.
Not that you’ll ever hear me complain about a hot dog...or at least, a hot dog at a dog show. Because as we all know, at any dog show, most of the dogs are indeed, hot.
Not having hot dogs recently was me, for I was way too busy attending several amazing national specialties to even pause to eat. (Full disclosure: This is not true.) Because it’s National Season one has a huge choice of shows at which to exhibit, spectate, learn, and relax. It was my pleasure to attend the Poodle Club of America weeklong extravaganza in Missouri, the Bichon national in Orlando, and the Shih Tzu national in Ft. Lauderdale. More about that next month. But at each I was privileged to attend the Judges’ Seminars and was pretty much bowled over by how well they were conducted. And then of course there was socializing and comparing notes, and simply watching ringside, which is an education in itself.
National Specialty Season, which occurs all year but especially in the spring, provides a golden opportunity to see a breed’s current contenders; it also gives a snapshot of what’s going on in the breed, and shows either advancement or decline in its adherence to the Standard. National Specialty committee members spend many sleepless nights trying to dream up—wait, can you dream while awake? I often do—new ways to educate and entertain their members and spectators. Many are extremely innovative; take for example the Poodle Club’s Hat Contest, heartwarming, hysterical, and one more reason to attend. Keeping spirits up in a sport that’s tough by definition may be as important a role for a parent club as any other; as I hope you’ve noticed, we have always tried to showcase the positive...because the negative makes plenty of its own brand of noise.
I want to take a quick moment to congratulate everyone involved at PCA. Luckily, Brian Cordova snapped a photo of yours truly with Nancy Smith Hafner, head of JE for the Poodle club. If she ever tires of teaching Poodles, she could spend time teaching how to run a Seminar. And her team was certainly stellar: Nancy, Scott Wolf, Gina Weiser, and Randy Garren possess so much Poodle knowledge that just to hear them talk is a revelation. And of course their visual aids were equally impressive. What an extremely powerful and valuable experience it was; my thanks to PCA, and also to STCA and BHCA for their events as well.
We were saddened that Luc Boileau had to cancel his Toy Poodle assignment at PCA; we wish him a quick return to his sassy, healthy self. His stand-in, Johnny Shoemaker, of course, did a masterful job not only at that task but running the Hat Contest which was not only adorable but once again serves to bring the fancy together—from elaborate, to sleek, and even some pretty bizarre chapeaux—even on the dogs! What fun we had. What dogs we saw. What are we going do to, till we can do it again?
I wish those of you in frosty climes an easy transition from gloves and shovels to mint juleps and flip flops (but we won’t discuss the Derby till next month). Till then, ShowSightwishes you All The Best!