Thursday, March 24, 2016

Show Dog

Wow, it's been a while since I did a book review. I haven't been reading much. Show Dog: The Charmed Life and Trying Times of a Near-Perfect Purebred was sitting on my Amazon wish list for months. I wasn't ready to pay $25 for it, so I was hoping it would come out in paperback. When I found it used for $5 I pounced! But then it sat on my "to be read" pile for another six months.

It's an interesting book, but a bit slow. It took me months (and months) to finish it. I would read it for a few days, then put it down for weeks before picking it up again. I finally finished it last weekend.

This is a true story. It follows Jack, an Australian shepherd. Jack is owned by a first time dog show person. (Like me!) Jack's owner, Kimberly, is a regular middle class woman with regular middle class responsibilities -- work, kids, etc. (Also like me.) Kimberly hires a professional handler to show Jack. (Not like me.) The author follows Jack's dog show career for over a year. When the story began the author didn't know how it was going to end, nor did he know anything about the dog show world. He does a nice job weaving in history and terminology throughout the story so even a layperson can follow along. If you're interested in dog shows you may find it worth reading -- especially if you can find it on the sale table.

My personal feeling when I finished the book: depressed. After reading all that Kimberly, her breeder and her handlers did to train and show Jack, I felt vastly inadequate. German shepherds are at least as competitive as Australian shepherds; maybe even more so. It doesn't help that my dog club has joined up with an all breed club and we're putting on five shows in three days next month -- and I didn't enter Jedi. I know that neither of us are properly conditioned for all that running, and as president I felt that I'd serve the Club better from behind the scenes. Still, sigh.

To be honest, Jedi's show career is probably over. I can't see putting him back in the ring. He doesn't seem to like it and my inexperienced handling skills allowed too many bad habits to develop. Looking back, there are so many things I could have or should have done earlier. And to rub salt in my wounds, the Blogging from A to Z Challenge begins again next week. I'm not participating this year, but last year I did a great series on Dog Shows for the Novice Fancier. I feel a little hypocritical now.

Want to know a secret? Don't tell Jedi, but I've been seriously thinking about getting another show puppy and trying again. Not right away; probably in a year or two. We have too much going on right now. But I am tucking away money and looking at breeders. Maybe I can find a kickass mentor in the interim. Lord knows I need help! For now Jedi and I are going to do nosework and anything else that tickles our fancy. OK, pity party is over. Yes, I'm still disappointed, but I have to get ready for nosework class. We have a trial in two weeks! TTFN, -- K