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painted and done about. “Natural” is the 7th word in our Standard! 10. What advice would you give a novice exhibitor? Enjoy your dogs and don’t start collect- ing any before you really know what you’re doing. Enjoy the sport. Don’t worry and get stage fright in the ring.
latter). She wished to remain this way, but hanging out with a dork was mystifying to those who used to quake in her presence. I blew her cover. We have to go back a bit and remember that when I began showing in the early 60s dog shows were really awfully crooked. For some odd reason this never both- ered me because I knew I was a novice and knew it was just the way it was. One thing that bothered me was the tradition of holding up judging if a handler—any professional handler—had a ring conflict. Not just for a minute or two; up to an hour or more. We all knew who was going to win BIS; place in the groups and win the points. (To this day, I’m not really sure how dog shows are “fixed.” Do you call up the judge and baldly say, “I really need to win tomorrow’s Group”? Does cash go from hand-to-hand under tables? Gifts delivered via UPS? How IS it done?!?) Nevertheless, it was done blatantly— somehow—during my formative years and surely moreso in decades previously. I entered the Reno Kennel Club show and whoever was going to travel with me canceled. I mentioned this to my new friend, Mrs. Pimlott and she chirpily announced she was going to go with me and “We can gamble and have fun.” Terrific! During our 4-hour drive to our neighboring state, I whined to Eileen that poor Harvey Wallbanger had such a star-crossed career having won a huge Sweepstakes; winning a big major, then blowing his coat; then getting sick with something weird and yada-yada. Win big; enter a lot; no majors; don’t go, etc. An idea popped into my pointy head en route. I was almost a good enough friend with Eileen that I dared to suggest she help me fix the show as the judge was a fellow club member and a good friend. My only relationship with the man was that he handled a fellow Keeshond breeder’s not very good dogs and lowly me tended to beat them, a lot. Thus, I was sure he hated me. Couldn’t she find a way to suggest to the man that my dog could finish the next day? She was appalled. About an hour of icy silence went by, and she finally said, “Is the major in dogs or bitches?” I timidly said, “Um, in bitches.” She then said, “Okay, I’ll teach you how to fix a show; but, you’ve got to go Win- ners Dog on your own.” “The Plan” was hatched and she told me how it would come down. If I went Winners Dog, she would come rushing up to the ring and while the judge was marking his book, she would loudly say, “CONGRATULATIONS, Robin! Didn’t that FINISH him?” My job was to excitedly jump up and down and loudly say, “Oooo, Eileen. Not yet. He still HAS to go Best of Winners for the major.” “The Plan” was executed almost to perfection except for a few flaws: (a) The judge took 1.5 seconds to mark his book; (b) Her “loud” congratulations were uttered in a whisper; (c) With my back to the ring, my “Oooo, Eileen...” was nothing better than a semi-silent stage whisper; (d) Said judge was already in the middle of the big ring and hadn’t heard a word during The Big Fix. When we both discovered there was absolutely no
Bis/Biss Ch. Charmac stud poker hoF (photo courtesy of kathy stewart, http://klompenkees.com)
Everybody in the building was a beginner once and almost everyone will happily help you out and welcome you to the fold. Find glory in your wins and learn from your losses. Be a good sport! Remember that there’s only one person who’s truly not a “loser” at every single show—the winner of Best in Show. The Keeshond breed and dog shows for me have been a lifelong passion; I’ve traveled to far-off lands and to nearly every state in the US because of the love of my breed. Learn from every show you attend. If you’re confused, ask somebody! There are still a few characters left hang- ing around who you’ll learn to both love and loathe. Hang out with people who like to have fun and giggle over stupid stuff. Don’t take yourself or the sport too seriously. You should, however, get very serious should you decide to BREED: Do it right or don’t do it at all. Fault offset; do all health clearances known in the breed and add others as they eventually might crop up; pedigree study with more than one sole mentor. Then throw the dice and cross your fingers while you pray because you are now creating life and those lives YOU will be responsible for having created. We are rapidly losing our best breed- ers simply because we’re getting old and dying off. I’m concerned that more than some of us are exploiting newcomers and too few of us are baby-stepping the few serious newcomers to carry on responsibly producing this terrific breed. 11. What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever experienced at a dog show? Let me count the ways! We all used to have fun at dog shows. Poor AKC is wondering why the sport is shrink- ing, but I know why—hardly anyone’s having flat-out fun anymore thanks to the well-meaning but flawed insis- tence that all judges turn themselves into non-personal robots who are unreachable and not allowed their own personality. To me, I think one of the funniest ones began when the late Eileen Pimlott lived in Cupertino and we slowly began a very odd-couple friendship. Eileen was a British/ American ice-maiden and I was—and I proudly remain— a dork. Eileen was also a fast-rising judge and was highly respected by AKC and exhibitors (as well as feared by the
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