Saturday, December 30, 2017

Chariots of Fur (Again)

Race mascot "Ben Fur"
Jedi and I are going to participate in Chariots of Fur again in 2018. I debated doing it because the race is exactly one week before we fly to NYC for the Westminster dog show. Longtime friends know we've walked the Mutt Mile the last two years (and chickened out for two years before that). This time we're going to do the whole 5K. Fur real!

Up until this year, Chariots of Fur has been hosted by St. Francis Animal Hospital. It was a big fundraiser for their Helping Paw program. The race is sponsored by a different organization this year. Other changes include:
  • A later start time
  • Slightly higher fees (that increase the later you enter)
  • Fun Run and 5K are the same price and start at the same time
  • Medals will be awarded to the first 700 finishers
  • Ribbons are given to all participating dogs
  • Dogs' names are on the entry form so dogs can be announced at the finish line!
I'm excited. I have friends that have joined for the last couple years. Some walk, some run, some do the mile, while others do the whole thing. Regardless, we all meet up after the race to socialize. Last year it was bitter cold, so we ended up at a dog-friendly restaurant for pizza and beer.

Interestingly, St. Francis Animal Hospital is still hosting a dog-friendly 5K in 2018. They’ve moved the date to March and changed the name to Paw Prints in the Sand. I'm thinking about entering that one too. (I'm a glutton for punishment.)

To get my fat ass ready to go, I've downloaded a walking plan. Here it is if you want to see it: 5K Training - Walkers Program. I'm up to 2.5 miles on the track and 45 minutes on the treadmill. BTW, Jedi is enjoying the extra walks. Wish us luck, we'll probably need it! And I'll post race pictures. Promise. -- K

P.S. I really really want a medal, dammit.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Big Talbot Island

WARNING: Do not follow my example.

Big Talbot Island is about 40 minutes from here. From the road it's rather boring and easy to miss. However, it has a beach covered in driftwood that is absolutely beautiful. Unfortunately, dogs are not welcome on the beach.

I have a friend -- whom we'll call Bad Influence Betty -- that wanted to take our dogs to the beach anyway. Despite Hubby's objections, Betty and I loaded up the dogs and headed north.

It was a good mile hike from the parking lot to the beach access. There were multiple "NO DOGS ALLOWED" signs along the way. I felt a twinge of guilt every time I saw one, but Betty and I kept trodding along anyway. When we finally got to the beach, there were six other people there -- and three dogs! We snapped a few pictures and left.

An hour later we got back to the van and discovered that both dogs were crawling with ticks! Our next stop was the self dog wash! We spent a good hour scrubbing dogs and picking off ticks. You know what? It was worth it. -- K

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas!

This year's official Christmas photo:

My favorite pet store, Pet Supplies Plus, offered free photos with Santa. (Don't tell Jedi, but "Santa" is really Fred, the friendly dog food guy.)

We decided to decorate the yard this year as well. This is what we came up with:

It looks even better at night:

Yes, those are Star Wars themed lights behind Darth Vader. What did you expect?


Friday, December 22, 2017

Have You Seen Me?

Yep, I've been gone awhile.

Nope, not dead.

I've been busy the last three months focusing on my health. *gasp* I know, I'm surprised too. I finally got tired of being sick and tired. I got a health coach to help. I'm walking, eating better and taking my meds regularly. That's the good news.

Unfortunately, all this is very time consuming. My nutritionist challenged me to write things down. I am. All of it is in another blog (that I'm not ready to share yet). However, I've been doing doggie things too and will try to share some of those over the next couple weeks. Long time friends know that I stink at multi-tasking, so please bear with me. And I look forward to sharing upcoming events like the Westminster Dog Show trip in February and the German Shepherd Dog Club of North Florida's Specialty Shows in April.

I hope everybody had a Happy Christmas. I'm really looking forward to 2018. I'm expecting great things. Seriously, how could a Year of the Dog NOT be good for me? Talk to you soon, -- K

Friday, September 22, 2017

Showtime -- Judges

We're still putting on a dog show! So are you following along? We've secured a date and location and have formed the Show Committee. Whew. Now for another toughie: finding judges.

I discussed what it takes to become an AKC show judge here. It’s not an easy thing to do. Each judge starts out with a specific breed. It’s most likely a breed that he/she has been showing and breeding for decades. Later, judges may work to have other breeds added to their “approved list.” However, a judge’s primary breed is always known, and they are highly sought after for specialty shows (like ours).

Ideally, a club starts soliciting judges a year or more out. We had less than nine months and we need two of them. It’s stressful. Besides finding GSD judges -- not judges that also judges GSDs -- we're looking for judges who are available, attractive and affordable.


The AKC puts limits on how often a judge can judge. A judge cannot judge the same breed at two shows held within 30 days and 200 straight-line miles of each other.

The AKC also restricts who a judge can judge. He/she cannot judge:
  • A dog that the judge or his/her immediate family members owns.
  • A dog that the judge or his/her immediate family members has owned, handled in the ring more than twice, sold or boarded within one year prior to the show.
  • A dog or the owner of a dog for which the judge has provided handling and presentation instructions classes within one year of the show.
  • A dog being shown by professional handlers that the judge or his/her immediate family members have used within the four months of the show.
  • Anyone or a dog belonging to anyone who may give the impression of an unfair advantage, including relatives, employees, employers, co-owners and traveling companion.
The dog world is smaller than you'd think. We shared our potential judges list with club members and asked for possible conflicts. Several of our prospects were disqualified because of relationships they had with club members.


The 2017 AKC Show Manual says that “The judges panel is one of the most important factors to consider when planning an event.” Like it or not, judges bring (or repel) participants. Things to keep in mind when looking at judges:
  • What can they judge? For a specialty show like ours, we want a German shepherd judge. However, an all breed show would want someone who can judge multiple breeds. Even more desirable, would be someone who could judge groups or Best in Show.
  • Reputation. Does a judge focus on movement? Is he rough while inspecting the bite? Does she prefer typey dogs? Professional handlers and veteran fanciers know these things and will avoid showing to judges they think won't give their dogs a fair chance. I have a DNS (do not show) list.
  • Newness. Handlers don't want to show to the same judges all the time. Since a dog has to earn majors under two separate judges to make champion, there's no point for a dog to be shown to a judge that is already given it a major.

Each judge’s contract is different. Some judges charge a flat fee, some charge per dog and others want expenses only. Those expenses often include air fare, a hotel room, ground transportation (mileage or rental car) and a couple meals.

Ideally, a club would bring in well respected judges from out of state to maximize interest. However, that can be expensive. And there's no guarantee that there will be enough entries to cover the cost. Our club had a bad year in 2015 and lost $800 on the show. We're still feeling the effects from that show!

Who knew finding judges would be so complicated? Not me! It's stressed me out big time, but I've got good news. RK was able to secure our number one and number two choices. Both judges live within driving distance; one is in Georgia and the other has a winter home in Florida. Both judges asked for expenses only. Even better, they know each other, like each other and were thrilled to hear who was judging. Whew. How's that for good fortune? We have a little time to breathe until the next big step -- The Premium.

More later, but for now I need to relax!-- K 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

More Movie Reviews

It’s been a while since I reviewed movies. There are a couple reasons for that:
  • Most of the movies I watch don’t involve dogs, so they’re not appropriate for a dog blog and
  • Most dog-related movies stink.
That being said, here are three dog-related movies that I’ve seen lately.

A Dog’s Purpose. I almost didn’t see this movie. Three weeks before the film opened TMZ aired secret video of a German shepherd supposedly being forced into the water during filming. Do you remember the controversy? Several days later it was discovered that the heavily edited video was an animal rights stunt. The Hollywood Reporter has a good breakdown of events in case you’re interested. The story is about a dog who lives, die, and is reincarnated (multiple times!) into another dog. Each time the dog is trying to figure out his purpose. The story is told from the dog's point of view.
My opinion: I’d give the film a resounding “Not bad.” I really like Josh Gad (the voice of the dogs). However, I'm not a big fan of reincarnation stories. If you're interested in this story, I think the book was better than the movie. (I talked about the book here.)

The Dog Lover. This one piqued my interest before it came out. It was supposed to have a limited theatre release and I had planned to go. However, the movie was silently pulled. I actually bought the DVD so I could see the movie. The story is about a woman from an animal rights group who takes a job at a large kennel with the mission of finding dirt on a supposed puppy mill. As time goes on she discovers that the kennel/breeder is not what she expected. Unfortunately, things go bad anyway. The plot is loosely based on the real-life case of Paul Upton and his German shepherds. The movie’s intention is to show that things aren’t as black and white as organizations like the HSUS want people to think.
My opinion: The message was good. The acting was mediocre and the production was obviously low budget. I’m super annoyed at the portrayal of animal control -- AGAIN. However, I recommend you watch the movie anyway.

Megan Leavy. The trailer for this movie was misleading. Fortunately, the actual story is richer than I expected. The movie follows a female Marine and her detection dog, Max, in the Middle East. Megan decides not to reenlist, but Max belongs to the Marines. This movie is based on a real story. Pictures of the real Megan and Max, along with a follow are shared during the credits. As a Navy veteran, a GSD owner and someone actively training in canine scent work, I found a lot to identify with. There was one scene where I yelled out "Trust your dog!" (My trainer would be proud.)
My opinion: Definitely worth watching. Have Kleenex ready. Even Hubby got teary-eyed a couple times.

And finally, did you know about the website Does the Dog Die? It’s a real thing! Type in the name of a movie and there are dozens of reviews about it. More importantly, everybody tells you up front if the dog dies or not. I have friends who won’t even watch a movie until they’ve checked the site. (I wish I had known about this before renting John Wick!)

I’m done ruining things for you. Enjoy the rest of your day! -- K

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Stupid People Pay My Mortgage

Sorry I've been absent lately. Between a lingering chest cold and Hurricane Irma, I haven't been able to form a cohesive thought. Don't worry though, the stupidity has continued. Here are a few head scratchers that surfaced during my absence.

This picture was posted on a Facebook GSD group with the follow question:
"I noticed a couple of these near the groin. I check him often enough for ticks, and I think I would've caught it. Any idea what it could be?"
When someone finally told the OP that it was a nipple, an argument ensued because this dog was male and "boys don't have nipples." Seriously!

Ms. Russo called again about her dog Bear. She said that her neighbor has a brown dog with yella eyes and a cropped tail. She knows it's her dog, but Bear won't look at her when she calls him "because he's just too traumatized." Ms. Russo thinks the neighbor stole her dog and cut his tail to "disguise the crime. That way people couldn't see the identifying white spot." Too bad she never got around to getting that identifying microchip.

However, Ms. Russo said she had a great idea for Animal Control. She thinks that we ought to use our kennel to house everybody’s animals when they evacuate for the hurricane. We could make the City some money! My partner nicely explained to her that if it's unsafe for people to stay at the beach during the storm, it's unsafe for their pets as well. He even explained the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act of 2006 (PETS Act) to her. What a nice guy. I probably would have said something like “Are you really that stupid? No wonder your dog ran away!”

You would be surprised by how many people called asking us to shelter their animals during the hurricane. Luckily my partner, Mr. Nice Guy, handled most of the calls. Unfortunately, I was on phone duty when Mr. Stevens called.

Mr. Stevens said that last year during Hurricane Matthew we took care of his cats and he wanted to know if he can leave the cats with us again this time. I told him NO! I reminded Mr. Stevens that the only reason we had his cats was because he refused to evacuate without them. The police took his cats so he would leave. The cats were put in the top cage with extra food, water and litter boxes. The police department was forced to evacuate the city as well, and his cats sat alone in a dark, damp cinderblock building for two days until we were allowed back over the bridge. It took another three days for power to be restored. When I reminded Mr. Stevens that I called him for ten days to pick up his cats and almost charged with abandonment he said “Oh yeah, I forgot about that.” I told him I didn’t forget, and suggested he start looking for a boarding kennel now.

I had a guy call last week. He said that his girlfriend lived in Oceanside, the new Habitat for Humanity housing. They had a small teacup pig being shipped to them the following day and wanted to make sure that our laws would allow it. I told him no. The only pigs allowed in our city are miniature Vietnamese pot bellied pigs, anything else is a $500 ticket. Pot bellied pigs must be vaccinated and registered with the City. He was shocked. He said “I’ve done my research, and these pigs don’t get above 30 pounds.” I told him that he needed to do more research. All our ordinances are online. Unless he had a bona fide, purebred miniature Vietnamese potbellied pig -- sus scrofa vittatus -- he was in violation.

The same guy called back three hours later and asked “What if we register the as an emotional support animal? The pig costs $1500!” (Did I mention they live in Habitat for Humanity housing?) I told him that I knew his neighbors. The moment one of them complained about the pig -- and we both know they will -- I was writing him a $500 ticket. And I would continue to write tickets until the pig was removed from the City. I strongly suggested he either
  1. Move to a town that allowed pet pigs or
  2. Get a dog from the Humane Society and spend the other $1450 on something more practical.
He said he could still get his money back. I told him I thought that was a better idea. But between you and me, I’m expecting a pig complaint by Christmas.

On a personal note, I took Hermione to the vet for grooming on a Saturday morning. The place was crowded. Hubby and I sat in a corner waiting for our turn. A man came in with a toddler and started leading his child around the room, saying things like "See the doggy?" and "Where's the kitty?" He actually found it amusing that his child was banging on roughly petting dogs and sticking fingers in cat carriers. I glared. When the little brat came over to "Look at the birdie" Hermione squawked so loudly that the child ran away. Good Girl! We got called into the exam room before I could chastise the father. But I did post this snarky comment on Facebook:
Dear people with small children,

The vet's office IS NOT a petting zoo. If you must bring your kids along, please contain them. These animals are sick and/or stressed. The last thing they want is to be harassed by your toddler.
Some things just shouldn't have to be said!

Some days -- OK, most days -- I wonder "What is wrong with people?!" On those days I remind myself that stupid people pay my mortgage, albeit indirectly. Think about it: if common sense was really that common, I would probably be out of a job -- and you wouldn't get all these fun stories. So, let's hear it for the idiots! -- K

Friday, September 15, 2017

Irma Versus My Truck

I've been an ACO with my small beach town for almost 11 years. For the first 10.5 all my work trucks were hand-me-downs. They all had issues -- Things like torn interior, squeaky hinges, random body damage, constant leaks and unreliable A/Cs. Heck, one even tried to kill me!

Three months ago I was issued a brand new Ford F-150. It had less than 25 miles on it. The electric assisted steering is a dream. The A/C is so cold that I can't crank it all the way down without freezing. This problem is unheard of in Florida! When I got my new truck the department asked if there was anything else I wanted. I said yes. All the police officers have their names on their assigned vehicles, I wanted my name on the new truck too. Management hemmed and hawed, but two weeks ago my name was finally on my truck. I was thrilled!

Six days later, Hurricane Irma hit the beach and ruined everything.

The storm ripped a branch off of a tree and impaled my windshield. It also dented the hood, the roof and the passenger's side quarter panel. My boss watched the branch jump over his vehicle, headed for my truck like a guided missile. I was texted these pictures.

Stupid branch. I hate you!
What a mess. I'm still finding glass inside the truck.
At least my name is unharmed.
When I saw the damage in person it was worse than I'd thought. My in-car video/rearview mirror is shattered in three places. The passenger side mirror is gone and the quarter panel is crumbled like an unwanted love letter. The windshield was replaced, but the rest of the repairs are estimated at $3500. Eek. The City is in no rush to fork out that kind of money before the new fiscal year. Until then I get to ride around in a beat up truck. Ten times a day someone asks "What happened to your truck?" My answer: Hurricane Irma. -- K

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Showtime -- The Committee

One of the first things you need to do before putting on a dog show (or trial) is set up a Show Committee to run the whole shebang. To keep things moving smoothly (and satisfy the AKC) the Show Committee needs to select a Show Chairman. This person’s duties include:
  • Proper planning of the show
  • Ensuring all AKC is submitted in time (and there’s A LOT of paperwork)
  • Securing/contracting venue
  • Soliciting/contracting judges
  • Overseeing all sub-committees (Advertising, Catalog, Concessions, Grounds & Equipment, Hospitality, Parking, Stewards, Trophies/Awards, etc.)
  • Coordinating with other clubs if the show is part of a cluster
  • Hiring stewards (if applicable)
  • Verifying insurance and permits are in order
  • Getting the premium out on time
  • Contracting an official photographer
  • Developing a Disaster and Emergency Plan
  • Preparing for any misconduct hearings (while simultaneously praying there are none!)
  • Meeting with the local AKC representative
  • Ensuring ring is set up properly
  • Putting out any last minute fires (there are always fires)
  • . . . Plus a million other things as required
Next, the Show Committee needs to select a Show Secretary. A club may choose to hire a professional superintendent/show secretary (i.e. MB-F, Onofrio, etc.) to handle the all the paperwork. However, they’re expensive. A small club like ours usually chooses someone from within the club to handle things. The secretary’s duties include:
  • Developing and sending out premiums (entry forms)
  • Ensuring entries are properly filled out and fees are included
  • Organizing entries into proper classes
  • Assigning armband numbers to dogs
  • Developing official show catalog
  • Passing out armbands at show
  • Maintaining a correctly marked “Official Show Catalog”
  • Filling out/sending in official judges' reports to the AKC
  • . . . And a whole bunch of things I don't know about yet!
 According to the 2017 AKC Show Manual:
Individuals should be appointed to committees based on experience, the workloads they can handle, and the time they can apportion to each task. Candidates for committee positions must familiarize themselves with the specific duties and responsibilities involved.
Doesn’t that sound nice? Unfortunately, when you have a small, limited experience volunteer base like we do, you just take what you can get and hope not to screw up too badly. It may not be ideal, but it makes for interesting blog posts!

So for those of you following along on our journey: RK has taken on the responsibility of Show Chair and I have agreed to be Show Secretary. Are we nuts? Probably. I'll keep you updated on our decent into madness progress. But for now, I'm trying not to freak out over Step 3: Judges! TTFN, -- K

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Repeat Customers

Brown dog with yellow eyes -- NOT Bear
One of the perks of working in a small town is that you deal with the same people all the time. This allows officers to develop relationships with residents. Already knowing the history of a situation, neighborhood, or animal can speed up service time. It can also be exhausting. Dealing with the same lonely, irresponsible, irrational or downright crazy people over and over has caused quite a few headaches.

A while back I told you about Ms. Russo and her cat Snowball. Well, she's back -- this time with her dog Bear.

In a nutshell: Bear is missing. She left him in the yard while she was running errands. Bear got out and was found by a neighbor six blocks away. The neighbor put Bear back in the yard, but he got out again before Ms. Russo returned. He's been missing for two weeks now. Ms. Russo calls at least twice a day. She'll spend ten minutes telling me about how much she misses her dog and spend another fifteen minutes about her health problems. She repeats herself often, but rarely makes sense. Here are some of the things she's said:
  • No, she doesn't have any pictures of her dog. The phone company made her change phones three months ago and she can't get pictures off the old one. No, she can't transfer them to her computer because Hurricane Matthew ruined it last October. And no, she can't go to Walgreens and use the kiosk because she's dying of cancer. (BTW, she's been dying of cancer -- and telling me about it -- for 10 years.)
  • Bear is a brownish lab/pit mix. You can't miss him, he has "yella eyes." She has never seen a dog with yellow eyes so he's special. She asked me if I've ever seen a dog with yellow eyes and then called me I liar when I said yes.
  • She doesn't know how old Bear is (maybe two) and says he's 140 pounds. No, she's not exaggerating about the weight. No, she doesn't have a vet I can call to get additional information. She doesn't have time to go to the vet, she's dying of cancer.
  • No, Bear's not neutered, and she's not going to do it either because "he has the most beautiful balls you've ever seen on a dog." (Ick!) No, she doesn't plan on breeding him, but thinks its a shame to "remove something so beautiful."
  • How DARE I suggest she widen her search area because Bear could be out looking for girls in heat? He's a puppy, he wouldn't do that! (I told her that she may think he's a puppy, but his testicles say he's a full-grown, intact male.)
  • Yes, the dog was wearing a collar and tags. The address is correct, but the phone number is wrong because the phone company made her change number, remember? No, she hasn't had time to buy a new tag -- she's dying of cancer.
  • She doesn't know if he has a microchip because "he was a gift." She wouldn't say from whom. No vet records accompanied the dog.
  • He's worth $40,000 because he's her service dog. No, she can't tell you what services he's been trained to perform. Nor can she explain why she left her service dog in her yard.
  • It's not her fault that her dog got out. People keep opening her gate. The police should be doing something about that!
  • It's not possible that her dog jumped over the 4-foot chain link fence. He's a good boy. She tells him to guard the house when she leaves, and she knows he lays in front of the gate the entire time she's gone. When I reminded her that it's August -- in Florida -- and suggested Bear would be safer and more comfortable inside she changed the subject. She knows that I know she's a hoarder. 
  • Bear has never gotten out before When pressed, she admitted to: the time that the other ACO wrote her a ticket; the time her neighbor called animal control about her dog running loose; and the time she called the police because the guy across the street had her dog. (BTW, "That guy has a female pit bull. He just built a 6' wooden fence and put up 'Beware of Dog' signs. That's suspicious. The police should go see if he has Bear. I bet he wants to mate them.")
  • And my favorite: maybe the neighbor who found Bear last time came back and stole him. She keeps calling them but they hang up on her.
It's Buddy now
Ms. Russo tied a leash to her gate. If we find Bear she wants us to bring him home and attach him to the leash because she's "never gone long" -- despite the fact that he got out twice during her last trip. I told her no. Obviously the dog is too smart for her fence. We will hold Bear in our kennel until we give him to her directly. She's upset because that would involve a ticket for impound and boarding -- and she's dying of cancer.

Ms. Russo constantly tells me that doesn't understand why Animal Control can't find her dog. She pays taxes! She also can't see where she has any culpability. 

My personal feeling: Bear realized that this woman is a nut job -- dogs aren't stupid -- and when he saw an opening he ran as fast as he could. He has changed his name to Buddy and is living somewhere on the other side of town. -- K

P.S. As usual, the story is true but names and identifying facts have been changed to cover my ass. Also, "Buddy" is wearing a disguise for his protection.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

New Class

We have good news and bad news on the rally front.
  • Bad news: The Tuesday Training group is taking a break. The weather has been horrendous. When it's not raining it's unbelievably hot and humid, making everything difficult. Even worse, there's a children's soccer league using the park now, making parking nearly impossible. Hopefully we can start back up when things cool down.
  • Good news: K-9 Obedience Club started a new novice rally class on Monday nights, under cover with giant fans. Last Monday was our first class and Jedi and I learned a lot.

Class was more formal than what we were doing in the park. It was set up more like a trial would be. We had a ring with regulation signs and the dogs were crated when not in the ring. I was afraid Jedi would be an idiot. Alas, the idiot was me. I need to memorize the signs and learn to make better use of the walk though. Jedi performs better when we move at a brisk pace. When I slow down -- or stop because I can't remember my left from my right -- he loses focus.

Surprisingly, Jedi knows more than I thought he did. He didn't forge ahead, his fronts were relatively straight and he executed the left finish like a pro. Even the teacher was amazed! Also, we were one of the few teams that knew the left about turn. (We've been practicing.)

We learned a new sign! This is rally sign #35, Call Front, Return to Heel. It looks difficult, but really isn't. How's that for a change? It goes like this: We walk up to the sign and stop. I back up and call Jedi into front position. I tell him to stay, walk around him and return to heel position. From there we walk back the same direction we came from. So yes, it's just like the picture -- if you're any good at interpreting pictures (which I am not).

There are a bunch of signs for me to learn! Beginning rally teams need to know 36 different signs. At a trial there will be 10-15 of them in the ring. Some of the signs involve weaving and spiraling around orange cones. A team will lose points if they touch or knock over cones. This part is challenging for clumsy women and long-bodied dogs!

We're making progress, slowly but surely. We'd do better if I was a better, more consistent trainer. Fortunately, Jedi doesn't care. I don't know when we'll be able to start competing. It seems that every semi-local trial conflicts with a nosework or scent work trial. But we're having fun -- together -- and that's the most important thing. -- K

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Showtime -- What, When and Where

As I've mentioned, we're putting on a dog show. RK and I have never done this before. It's proving to be more difficult than I think it should be. As a blogger, I naturally looked to the internet for guidance. I can't find anything offering useful information for a clueless newbie. So, we're doing this blind -- eek! And in true blogger fashion, I'm sharing my journey (much like the A to Z of Dog Shows series several years ago). I hope that someone else will find my efforts helpful -- maybe even encouraging. Let me know!

I've been combing through extremely dry booklets and manuals for weeks, trying to make sense of it all. My brain hurts! I've labeled this Step 1, even though these things were set up by a previous show committee. [Note: We're holding a conformation show, though much of this step would apply to performance trials as well.]


First, you must determine what kind of show you're holding. Conformation shows come in different varieties. A Specialty Show is a dog show of only one breed, given by a specialty club. An All-Breed Show is a dog show where all (or almost all) the different purebred breeds are being shown and judged simultaneously. A Limited-Breed Show has more than one breed but less than an all-breed (i.e. a herding club hosts a show for all the herding breeds).

The German Shepherd Dog Club of North Florida is a specialty club. We're holding two specialty shows back-to-back on one day -- Friday, April 6, 2018. The Greater Orange Park Dog Club is an all-breed club. They are holding back-to-back all-breed shows April 7 and April 8. Currently they are doing the same thing RK and I are, but on a much larger scale.


The AKC has strict rules regarding show dates. However, said rules are not clearly written in one centralized, easy-to-use location. It's enough to give a girl a headache! 

Chapter 2, Section 3 of Rules Applying to Dog Shows states:
Each club or association which she'll hold the show in its territory at least once in every two consecutive calendar years she'll have the sole show privilege in the city, town or district of its assigned territory.
I read that several times and keep thinking WTF? First of all, why did the AKC feel the need to underscore "in its territory?" I can't find anything anywhere defining territorial boundaries. 

That aside, the AKC divides the year up into 52 weekends. Weekend 1 is the first full weekend of January. Clubs are assigned the weekend number. For example, my club has weekend 14. No other German Shepherd group within 200 miles can hold a German shepherd specialty show on that weekend without the express written permission from the German Shepherd Dog Club of North Florida.


Once a date is secured, a club must find a place to hold the show. There are many things to take into consideration, including:
  • Cost of rental. This is a biggie! A club can’t spent its entire budget on the venue. As you will see soon enough, there are a lot of expenses when putting on a dog show.
  • Location. Is it in the club’s geographical location (wherever that may be)? Can out of town exhibitors find it easily? Are there dog-friendly hotels nearby?
  • Type. Is it an indoor site? Outdoor site? Combination of the two?
  • Size. Is it large enough to hold all necessary rings, exhibitors and spectators? Enough space for x-pens? Is there room for vendors?
  • Parking. Is there enough parking for the judges, volunteers, exhibitors and spectators? Is there room/hook-ups for motor homes? Where is parking in relation to the rings? 
  • Conditions/Usability. Is there grass? If so, will it be mowed beforehand? Is the area level and free of tripping hazards? Is it clean? Is there adequate light, ventilation, heat, or A/C? Is there access to water?
  • Toilets. Are there flushing toilets on site? If not, is there room to set up porta-potties?
  • Other amenities. For example, indoor space with electrical for grooming, kitchen use for concessions, covered pavilions, available trash cans/dumpsters.
If a club is moving to a new venue, the site must be approved by the AKC beforehand. The 2017 AKC Show Manual states that:
Any site not previously used for an all-breed or group club event must be visited by an AKC Executive Field Representative prior to approval by the Event Operations Department. A site diagram (detailed layout) must be provided at the time the event application is submitted to the AKC’s Event Operations Department with ring size and aisle widths and location of all amenities. If there are possible problems that may occur with the parking, a layout and parking plan should also be submitted. Approval from the Events Operations Department must be attained if any change of date or venue location is required.
This is a lot to take into consideration. Fortunately for us, we've had an agreement with the Greater Orange Park Dog Club for several years. They've jumped through all the hoops to secure a location (the St. Johns County Fairgrounds) for weekend #14. Several specialty clubs have subcontracted to use the grounds the Friday before. It works out for everybody.
  • The Specialty Clubs get a nice location with decent amenities. Honestly, our club wouldn't be able to afford the location on our own.
  • The All-Breed Club can offset some of their expenses and/or get additional volunteers (our agreement requires man-hours in lieu payment). Plus, there are people at the show grounds on Friday as they set up.
  • Exhibitors have the opportunity to show in two specialty shows (Friday) and two all-breed shows (Saturday and Sunday) giving them four chances to win in a three day period. That's awesome! This increases the likelihood of entries for both clubs.
  • The larger number of entries warrants a higher point value for the winner. Since we've had this arrangement, our specialty shows have all been major-pointed shows -- and that makes everybody happy! (See here for an explanation of points.)
And as far as I can tell, that's Step 1 in a nutshell. Tired yet? Wait until you see Step 2! TTFN, -- K

P.S. If you have experience putting on a show -- successfully or not -- PLEASE chime in. Don't tell RK, but I think we're in over our heads here.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Here's Your Sign

Lowes is Pet-Friendly! 
It says so right on the door.

Remember, when visiting pet-friendly establishments:
  1. Be a good ambassador. If your dog isn't well-behaved, having a bad day or your business doesn't allow to you focus enough attention on him, please leave him at home. Your behavior (and that of your dog) directly affects the rest of us.
  2. Say thank you. Make sure to tell the manager/owner that you are there because of the dog friendly policy. If it's a chain (like Lowes) find their corporate Webpage/Facebook/Twitter and thank them there too. A well-written thank you can make a big impact.
  3. Spend money. They're businesses, not charities. These establishments need to make money to stay open, especially small Mom & Pop operations. Yes, you may be able to get something at Walmart a little cheaper. But isn't it worth a few dollars to support a dog-friendly place? Money talks my friends. Ours should be saying "We want more dog-friendly places."
  4. Spread the word. We all have dog friends. And if your well-behaved, thankful, money-spending friends tell their well-behaved, thankful, money-spending friends . . . Just think of the possibilities!
It's Wordless Wednesday, so I'm going to stop talking. Hop around below and see what others are sharing. And speaking of sharing -- please let me know of any dog-friendly places you know about. Talk to you later, we have some shopping to do! -- K

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Goodbye Z

Sad news from here: Jedi's mother crossed the rainbow bridge. She was a sweet dog and will be missed dearly. It's weird speaking of her in past tense. I will always be grateful to her for the wonderful pup she gave me. I'll think of her every time Jedi does the sneaky "scratch my butt" move that Zasha was famous for.

Golden Breeds Zente Zasha
4/2/2008 - 7/29/2017

It's been a bad summer for GSD club dogs. We also lost Colonel, Mikey, Tasha and Tundra. No matter how much time we have with our dogs, it's never enough. And with that, I'm going to log off and love on my dogs. I hope you do the same. -- K

Thursday, August 10, 2017


During our South Carolina trip I finally got to meet Rosie the White. I'd heard so much about her. She is my cousins' white German shepherd, and she's absolutely beautiful.

Here are a few things about white German shepherds that you may not know:
  • White German shepherds are not albinos. The color is the result a recessive gene. 
  • The white gene has been present since the beginning of German shepherds. A white herding dog named Grief was the grandfather of Max von Stephanitz's foundation dog.
  • In 1933 white coats were deemed a breed standard disqualification by the German Shepherd Dog Club of Germany.
  • In 1968 white coated German shepherds were officially banned from competing in the conformation ring by the American Kennel Club (AKC).
  • In 1998 white German shepherds were officially disqualified from the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) breed standard and banned from the conformation ring. 
  • White German shepherds are allowed to compete in all other dog sports including obedience, rally, herding, agility and tracking.
  • Surprisingly, white German shepherds are still registered with both the AKC and the CKC. If both parents -- regardless of color -- are registered with the organization as German Shepherds, all puppies -- regardless of color -- are fully registerable as a German shepherd dog.
  • The United Kennel Club (UKC) recognized white German shepherds in 1999 and they are allowed to compete in conformation ring. I think the International All-Breed Canine Association (IABCA) also recognizes white GSDs.
  • The German Shepherd Dog Club of America (GSDCA) oversees the breed standard for AKC German Shepherd dogs. White German shepherds are a heated topic and the club argues amongst itself whether or not to allow them on a regular basis. 

There are clubs world-wide dedicated to the white German shepherd. The White German Shepherd Dog Club International, Inc. even holds national conformations shows. A simple Google search will provide you with hours of reading material.

There are breeders who specifically breed whites as well. And just like every other breed, it's buyer beware! The quality of these puppies can vary greatly. Do your research. Ask for health and temperament tests. My cousins did their research and found a great breeder. Rosie is wonderful. She is a healthy, well-balanced, even-temperament dog. Rosie is definitely a GSD. She takes her job as "family dog" seriously, providing love and protection to two active children.

Finally, Rosie has a famous littermate! He was all over the news in 2015. Her brother, appropriately named Lieutenant Dan, was born without a foot. The special puppy was given to a girl without feet. You can read the story and see pictures here. Warning: grab some Kleenex first. You'll need it.

OK, enough gushing over my cousins' dog. Jedi says it's time to get back to my own dogs. TTFN, -- K

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Who's At The Door?

Last week I told you about the strange couple that's been seen around town. Yesterday I received this picture from the dispatcher. The peahens stood outside the police department for several minutes before moving on.

Do you think they wanted to talk to Animal Control? We'll never know because it's Wordless Wednesday! Hop around below and see what others are sharing today. -- K

Saturday, August 5, 2017

More Crazy Work Stories

Not the ducks in question
Many of you have written me saying that you absolutely love the crazy work stories. Lucky for you, they're not in short supply. It seems that work has been extra crazy lately. Here are some of the calls I've had recently:

A woman called the police dispatcher to report ducks in her pool. She was frantic, afraid that they would drown. I arrived to find a female mallard and ducklings swimming in a pool that obviously hadn't been chlorinated in a very long time. The woman was upset because every time she'd scoop a duckling out with a net, it would jump right back in. (I DID NOT say something snarky.) I assured her that the mother would not let her babies drown, and the best thing to do would be leave them alone. However, to make her feel better we secured a float to the side of the pool so the ducklings could climb out. I would bet my last paycheck that they didn't use it.

Who else keeps newborn kittens on their desk?
One of my crazy cat ladies found a litter of kittens but couldn't find the mother. She said that she couldn't bottle feed them either because she has a job now. So, I picked up three two-day-old kittens. They couldn't stay in my kennel or else they would have starved to death. I couldn't find a foster family to take them until the following day so the babies came home with me for the night. It was awful. Kittens need to be fed every 3 hours. They also need to be stimulated to relieve themselves. Mama cats use their tongues; Kelley used a warm washcloth. Kitten poop is stinky, sticky and gross. Jedi and Roxy wouldn't leave the kittens alone. Jedi was the worst! I don't understand how he can smell anise on a Q-tip from 3 feet away, but must stick his nose on a kitten to figure out what it is. Fortunately, the kittens are now with a more qualified foster family.

Animal Control deals with the City ordinances related to domestic animals -- leash laws, feral cats, barking, etc. In theory, wildlife calls are limited to scoop and run (i.e. sick raccoons) or the immediate safety of the public. I'm not trained or have the equipment for most wildlife, so in moist case my office refers people to wildlife specialists. I DEFINITELY don't do snake calls. That being said, I had a snake call last week. A hysterical woman called 911. The dispatcher sent me to the address to see if I could calm her down and advise her. Ahhh, the joys of working in a small town. I arrived on scene to a woman standing in the middle of the living room holding a broom. Across the room was a large, sliding glass door. Jammed up against the door frame was a 3-foot garter snake who looked just as terrified as the homeowner. I was able to open the sliding glass door and use the broom to guide the snake outside. I have never seen a snake move so fast. The way I see it, all of us wanted the same thing, but I was the only one calm enough to think it through. I wish all calls were that easy!

I had a woman call me saying that an opossum was badly tangled in a soccer net and she couldn't get it out. She wasn't exaggerating. It was a cheap, child's net that folds easily for storage. The opossum had several pieces of the net wrapped around his neck and front legs. One leg was wrapped so tightly that the foot was beginning to swell. every time someone approached the opossum he would panic and flop around, tangling himself even worse. Thankfully, the homeowner was more concerned about the animal than the net and had no problem with me cutting her son's toy to shreds. I started with the head. The poor animal probably thought I was trying to cut his head off and kept biting at the scissors. He nearly bit me twice. I ended up shoving the end of a catch pole in his mouth to keep him occupied. Once his head was free I put the catch pole around his neck. This allowed me to safely position him while I cut the net from around his legs. He wasn't cooperating! He kept grabbing at the net with his dexterous feet and prehensile tail, tangling himself more as I was working. Fortunately, I was faster than he was and after 10 minutes he was freed. He stared at me for a moment or two and then ran into the woods -- without even a thank you.

I got an email from Code Enforcement. A resident sent in a complaint stating that the neighbor behind him didn't clean her back yard and he was "tired of smelling dog shit." To be honest, there's not much I can do about it. Our ordinances state that I can write a ticket to someone who doesn't pick up poop on public property -- and even on a neighbor's property! -- but I have no authority to compel a person to clean their own property. That being said, I investigated anyway. I started with the complainant, who wasn't home. Then I went to the house in question. A teenage girl was home. I gave her my card and asked her to have her mom call me when she got home (I'm limited on what I can do/say to minors). THEN I went next door . . . And this is where the job gets weird. I knocked on the door and said:
Good Morning. I'm Officer Kelley with Small Beach Town Animal Control. I get a lot strange calls and investigate them all. That being said, may I go into your backyard and sniff for dog poop?
Yep. I did. Long story short: Didn't smell poop. Dog Owner cleaned her yard, then called to bitch about her neighbor. Complainant called (he saw me on his home surveillance) and bitched about his neighbor and his impotent HOA, the ones who should be handling this. And Next Door Neighbor knows Hysterical Snake Lady and she told him all about the incident. Luckily, she had nice things to say about me. Everybody knows everybody in Small Beach Town -- it's enough to make a girl paranoid.

All this happened in a two week period. During that time I also had cases involving: peacocks, two dogs with microchips (one was untraceable), feral cats in a trap, National Night Out, a dog bite at the pet store and crossing guard recertification. (That's one of my many "other duties as required." Click the link if you want to see some of the other weird stuff I do.) Like I've said before, this job seldom boring. -- K

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Not a Peep

I hate Peeps. You know, those gross sugar-coated marshmallow things that are sold every Easter. Even worse, they're now showing up during other holiday seasons in different shapes -- Christmas trees, pumpkins, hearts, etc. I've seen different flavors too, like chocolate, strawberry and cotton candy. Doesn't matter though, they're still disgusting. (What's that saying about polishing a turd?)

I have friends who think my Peep aversion is hilarious -- and they take every advantage to Peep me. I've received multiple boxes of Peeps in the mail. One friend made an elaborate Peep tray for a potluck. Another slipped a Peep into Jedi's Easter basket at a charity egg hunt. I was opening eggs expecting dog treats and found a marshmallow monstrosity instead. Blech. No need to imagine my reaction, it was posted all over Facebook.

The worst part: during the sugar-bunny bombardment, I was given a stuffed Peep toy. Jedi found it -- and he loves it! He carries it around the house and uses it as a pillow. It's so freakin' cute! I don't have the heart to take it away from him.

I think I'll change tactics and tell my friends that I hate wine and puppies now. Think they'll shower me with shepherds and shiraz instead?

Believe or not, it's Wordless Wednesday. Yes, I've used waaay too many words for a "wordless" post, but hopefully my punny title will earn me a pass. Anyway, hop around below and see what others are sharing today. -- K

Monday, July 31, 2017

Awww...What Is That?!

Here's the strangest Animal Control call of last week:

Peacocks in the Park -- absolutely scandalous!
These girls have been seen around the beaches for a few weeks. However, they just recently came to my tiny beach town -- and the residents are losing their ever-loving minds. I'm getting calls about the hens ten times a day. I can only imagine the pandemonium if there was a beautiful -- and noisy -- male running around as well.

Wildlife is outside of my expertise. I contacted the Florida Wildlife Commission (FWC) and was told that peacocks are considered native to the state and we are to just leave them alone. Apparently, this answer isn't good enough for some people and they're pissed that I'm not doing anything.

Fun Fact: Peacocks read signs better than many of our residents
This picture was sent to me by Code Enforcement and I'm still laughing. It seems that the peacocks are tired of being harassed. They were seen heading toward the police department, no doubt to make a complaint to Animal Control. This job is never boring

So, did the peacock story make you giggle? I hope so! It's Awww...Monday, where a group of bloggers come together to brighten the start of your work week. Click around below and see what others are sharing. Thank you Sandee for putting this together each week. Happy Monday! -- K

Sunday, July 30, 2017

We're Back

We're back from South Carolina. The AKC Show Committee Seminar was informative and overwhelming. I was given tons of paperwork. In addition to a handout of the PowerPoint, I came home with a bag full of official AKC rule booklets:
  • Rules Applying to Dog Shows
  • Rules, Policies and Guidelines for Conformation Dog Show Judges
  • Dog Show Stewards
  • Junior Showmanship
  • Rules Applying to Registration and Discipline
  • Dealing with Misconduct
  • Match Regulations
  • Obedience Regulations
  • Obedience Judges' Guidelines
  • The Steward in Obedience
  • AKC Rally Regulations
  • Rally Judges' Guidelines
  • The Steward in Rally
  • Rally Signs and Descriptions
To be honest, it's some dry reading. I'm going to sort out all the paperwork next weekend. And it appears that I'll to have to print out the 197 page 2017 AKC Show Manual myself. Unfortunately, that wasn't included in the ton of paperwork.

I learned a lot at the seminar. I also discovered that there's a lot more I need to learn. Ugh. But all in all, I'm glad I went. I met some very nice -- and more experienced -- people from other clubs. Each gave us a card and offered assistance via email. One woman told me that she had signed up this seminar three times in the past and it had been canceled each time. I guess RK, VP and I were lucky to get in first try.

After the seminar Hubby and I went to my favorite aunt's house. (Love you Auntie!) We spent time with my aunt, uncle, cousins and some friends who moved to SC several years ago. I also got to meet Rosie the White. (I'll tell you all about her in another post.)

On Saturday morning Hubby and I returned to the TD Convention Center to catch part of the dog show. GSDs were in the ring at 8 AM and I didn't want to miss them. I have priorities! Auntie went with us and I think she had a good time. I was able to narrate and answer questions, hopefully making it more enjoyable for her. I love dog shows and it's fun for me to share with others.

It's been a busy weekend and I'm exhausted. I need to unpack and watch Game of Thrones (again, priorities!) before heading off to bed. I have some fun stories to share later, so make sure to come back soon. TTFN, -- K

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Road Trip!

True story!
Hubby and I are getting up before dawn tomorrow and driving six hours to South Carolina. Why? So I can attend a four hour seminar on dog shows at the TD Convention Center in Greenville, SC. (Yes, the math seems a little off. Fortunately, I have family there and we're turning it into a mini-vacation.)

This event has a fancy schmancy name: AKC Show Committee Seminar -- Symposium for Show Committees. It's being sponsored by the American Kennel Club, the Greenville Kennel Club and the Piedmont Kennel Club. I hope it's not a waste of time and money. BTW, it's not a free seminar. Did I mention that the AKC doesn't make things easy?

Learn, Baby, Learn!
RK and VP are meeting us in SC to take the seminar as well. We're hoping that this will better prepare us for the German Shepherd Dog Club of North Florida specialty (conformation) shows in April. Topics to be presented include:
  • AKC Paperwork Made Easy
  • Attracting New Exhibitors
  • Communications Between Clubs & Judges
  • Event Hearings
  • Judging Contracts
  • New Programs
  • Premium List
  • Rules and Regulations
  • Show Site Planning
  • Superintendent/Secretary Selection
I'm excited. And a bit anxious. I'll share what I've learned when I get back. -- K

Wednesday, July 26, 2017


Jedi and I arrived at nosework class early last week. We passed the time with a photoshoot. Class meets at a doggie daycare tucked between the freeway and skeezy motel. Who would have thought I'd find this gorgeous backdrop?

I'd tell you all about it, but it's Wordless Wednesday! Hop around below and see what others are sharing today. -- K

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Busy, Busy, Busy

Look what came today!

We actually passed the test a month ago, but still . . . I'm so freakin' excited! I keep all Jedi's certificates in a binder, much like I keep all his ribbons in a box. I enjoy pulling them out to reminisce and wonder where we'll a year from now.

Fall is just around the corner and various dog trials are starting up again. I scoured several sites (including Infodog, UKC and BHA) to made a calendar. I wanted to see what was being offered where. I'm trying to see what Jedi and I should do next. It's tough! There are multiple things to do every weekend from October to April.
  • In October there's a UKC nosework trial in Ocala. We need to pick up one Novice Container leg to earn our Novice Nosework (NN) title. We also need one leg to earn our Novice Handler Discrimination (NHD) title. I think both elements are being offered at that trial!
  • Rumor has it that an AKC Scent Work trial will be offered in Ocala sometime in December. I definitely want to do that.
  • My favorite training site will host monthly Barn Hunt trials starting in October. We only need two legs to earn our Open Barn Hunt (RATO) title.
  • There will be several Rally trials nearby in the next eight months as well. I'd love to try for our Rally Novice (RN) title. The Tuesday Training crew has been working so hard on it.
  • My GSD club is hosting conformation shows in April. As I mentioned earlier, I'm kinda on the planning committee for that!
  • And somewhere along the way the GSD club wants to hold both an AKC Scent and Go and an AKC Scent Work trial.
Holy cow, I can already feel my weekends (and money) slipping away. Oh well, at least I'll have something to blog about. See you at the show! -- K