ShowSight January 2019


I DON ’ T THINK I’ VE EVER BEEN ACCUSED of lying down on the job but, in truth, in ’18, I kind of did. More about that later, but first a huge burst of energy and enthu- siasm for a whole new ballgame to all my fellow fanciers. I am as elated as you are to hit the rings and rack up won- derful memories before we’re too quickly thrust into 2020, which promises to be interesting to say the least. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. While 2018 certainly had its moments, ’19 has some exciting things to which we can look forward, too—most notably the AKC Museum of the Dog’s move from St. Louis back home to Manhattan. I for one can’t wait to see this beautiful facility; the photos that have surfaced so far look gorgeous. The Grand Opening is the Friday before Westminster, February eighth; it’s lo- cated at 101 Park Avenue between 40th & 41st in the same building as AKC’s home. I hope to see many of you there. We’ll have complete coverage next month, here. Near here last month was AKC’s flagship event, the Na- tional Championship with the myriad of accompanying functions and competitions, all of which grow bigger and better each year. We’re proud to feature coverage in this issue of the blockbuster event. Again this year we were proud to sponsor, in, part, the Judges Luncheon and again this time, AKC’s Meet The Breeds® Best Booth contest. Anyone who has not attended this week of conformation shows, judges’ institutes, Dock Diving, Agility, Obedience, Best Bred-By Exhibitor, National Owner-Han- dled Series finals, Junior Showmanship extravaganza, the ACE Awards, the AKC Breeder of the Year presentation and all the other extras has really missed out. I’ve been fortunate to have attended every AKC show—now numbering eighteen—and those who looked skeptical in its early days have now no doubt become con- vinced of its import. Speaking of which, while eighteen seems a lot of trips to a par- ticular dog show, it pales in comparison to the fact that this year represents my fortieth consecutive trip to Westminster. Although I know people who attended many more, I’m considering it quite a feather in my cap...although for a while there it looked like I wouldn’t get there at all. In the bar, in Philadelphia, after Best in Show at the National Dog Show, four of us were discussing the year that passed, and for the first time I told the story of my crazy 2018 to people outside my immediate circle. And since I did, and I know there have been rumors afoot, I guess I’ll repeat it here. Only because it’s almost funny in a black-comedy-of-errors way. New Years Day 2018 started off sad, for one of my older dogs had a cerebral hemorrhage in the wee hours and before I could do anything for her, she left us. That in addition to the pneumonia I was fighting wasn’t a very nice start to the year. (This ailment had been plaguing me on and off for months, but always seemed to clear up.) My 39th trip to the Garden was almost ruined by another bout of it, compounded by the flu. During BIS I turned to Jackie Fogel and asked “Am I burning up?” She assured me that I was, but I made it through the entire Westminster week before collapsing into bed in my hotel for three days, flat on my back. I recovered enough to board a plane the next Sunday, fly home, and sleep for the better part of the week. What a waste. I want to take a moment to extend condolences to our own aforementioned Jackie Fogel and family on the loss of her father Martin, at ninety-eight years of age. Also, to my own family on the loss of our beloved Aunt Mickey (Mary McGinnis Habetler) just days shy of her 102nd birthday. May they both rest in peace. But back to the story of my hapless year. A few months after the Garden I fell at home, landing on my knees, rendering myself

Photo David Woo for AKC

unable to walk (or stand) for almost two months. While I was laid up and dopey on pain meds, which I hate, I awoke in the middle of the night to discover a burglar standing next to my bed, helping himself to stuff that was not his. Was I hallucinating? No. Unable to get out of bed, all I had for defense was my voice which was loud enough to cause him to flee, albeit with an armful of irreplaceable things. Even better: although he dropped his car keys on the floor of my bedroom while escaping, and the car remained outside my front gate overnight, the police were unable to pin the crime on anyone. Although we’re quite sure we know who it was. During all this I was back and forth to doctors trying to once again breathe, and walk. And then they discovered stage four lung cancer. And when they tried to administer chemo, it literally almost killed me. I was hospitalized for a week, then sent home and told I needed the care of Hospice. My best friend flew in from Califor- nia, my siblings from around the country, and things looked bleak. But I was not done yet. A trip to Tampa brought more fun; re- turning home, traffic on the interstate was stopped cold, and as we sat there we were rear-ended (at 70 mph). We weren’t seriously in- jured, but the car has now been in the shop for two months, await- ing parts from Germany. And late in December, to keep my spirits up, I resorted to a favorite candy treat: Turtles, which I keep in the freezer because I like them cold. Looking back on a fairly awful year I sat down, glad it was almost over, and took a bite of my candy. And I broke a tooth. I then decided to sit, quiet and still, and not move till the last ring of the bell on December 31st. But things are looking up. With help and support of friends and family I’ve been able to keep up with my workload and I’ve yet to miss a deadline (in thirty-nine years). And the last checkup I was told that my condition had improved! I tell you none of this for sympathy; I often laugh because it’s been, to use a clinical term, nuts. But during 2018 I enjoyed nu- merous wonderful judging assignments, watched this magazine continue to grow and improve, and spent time with many fellow fanciers who make it all worthwhile. And I extend my admiration to all my “fellow warriors,” to use a term courtesy of my friend Maria Arechaederra, many of whom have it way tougher than I do. My love and strength to all. I hope I used up much of the bad luck in the universe, so your (and my) 2019 can be perfect. I’ll see you in New York and many other places. Till then, remember: ShowSight Magazine wishes you All The Best!

14 • S how S ight M agazine , J anuary 2019

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