It began as a drizzle, then the sky opened up and so did his view of dog show people. Which exhibitor are you? The one who sheltered or the one who won?
DOG SHOW CONCERNS
And The Truth Came Down, Trilogy: Part II
Joseph Byer, Jr., Research Editor
The overcast skies threatened rain but we were going to show our dog anyway because this particular show was so close. I loaded up the power wheelchair for easier navigation on the grounds with the wife. She is able to walk but only with assistance.
We had been to this particular dog show in previous years and found the show grounds challenging for the less than mobile person. When we arrived the rain began as a drizzle. I unloaded the wheelchair and we went over to the show rings under the plastic raincoats we bought for just such an occasion. In the short trek from parking spot to the rings, those very inadequate plastic covers allowed my pants to get soaked from mid-calf down to my shoes. Water was beginning to drip into my shoes, but we were determined to show!
“The man who thinks he can and the man who thinks he can't are both right. Which one are you?” ― Henry Ford
We spotted some dog show acquaintances who beckoned us over to share their space under a quazi-tent; no sides but a large sloping plastic roof held up with four poles stuck in the ground. I parked the chair and left my wife there while I went to get our dog ready.
I found a small river rushing around the roots of the pine trees surrounding my truck. My shoes were absorbing rather than repelling the water so I began to squish as I walked. Over the tree tops, dark clouds were bringing in a strong wind accompanied by heavier rain. Just as I was about to take the dog out to go to the show ring, a public address announcement warned us to take cover on the show grounds because threatening weather was moving in.
It was quite a sight as hundreds of people scurried towards motor homes and other vehicles. Spectators evaporated out of sight with chairs in one hand and kids in the other. Vendors were pulling displays under their tents, dropping the side curtains and lashing down as securely as possible.
I looked over to my wife and saw the wind blowing her plastic raincoat out behind her and the shelter she was under was was about to let loose and fly away. She put the wheelchair on full speed and charged out of the shelter into the torrential rain as I ran in her direction. She was headed towards the truck. I met her halfway, escorted her back across the flowing stream at the back of the truck, put her inside the cab and started the engine to heat the inside because she was shivering. I then went to the rear of the truck to put the power chair on its carrier; a process that rendered the rest of me wet from head to toe. It was not a good day and I was sure the show would be cancelled.
My resolve to show our dog had been washed away and I was wet and cold. I plopped into the driver's seat and announced we were returning home. She weakly protested that we were scheduled to show in about 30 minutes and couldn't we hang around a bit to see if the show would continue.
"I'm soaked and cold and I'm going home" I announced firmly.
It took about an hour to get home and the ride was for the most part, silent. I got her into the house, the chair unloaded, the dog inside and the truck into the garage as quickly as I could. With my duties completed I was free to get out of my cold, wet clothing. At least it wasn't raining now.
I moved CinDee to the couch and was fully intent upon changing into some dry clothing when the phone began to ring.
"Honey, would you bring me the phone", she pleaded.
"I am cold and tired, and wet from head to toe and you want ME to get the phone?" I asked a bit irritated.
The first call was from a breeder wanting to know where we were because the skies cleared and the dog show was starting up again. This person was calling from their motor home parked on the show grounds and do I need to point out that it had not been offered to us as a refuge?
The next call was a handler who we knew, also calling from the comfort of her motor home and wanting to know when we would be there. There was belligerence in her voice meant to cause us to return to the dog show and annoyance that we were ruining HER day!
A third call came from another breeder who also sounded annoyed that we were not to be found and that things were starting up and we should get there ASAP.
None of the above invited us to share safety and weather the storm in their dry, heated motor homes. None had helped us get to safety or shelter after the announcement, and no one inquired how we were at the time. All they wanted was for us to come back to the show. When I asked why it was so important for us to return and show our dogs, the reply was...
"Without your dog the major is broken", each exhibitor said, one added "And besides it’s rude to break the major so if you leave your house now you could be here in time to save it."
Our showing did not end with that adventure because despite the many things wrong in the dog world, we still enjoy a day out with the dog, visiting friends, watching the dogs show and, oh yes, shopping at the vendors around the show grounds.
See you all ringside.
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