Monday, May 24, 2010

When to say "When"

Well, the shows at Wassamki came and went. Beautiful weather, lovely campground, good company... it was a very nice weekend. It was not a successful weekend, but it was very enjoyable.

There were three dogs entered each day, so I had hoped that Ian might come away with, if not both points he needs to finish, then at least one of them.

Um, yeah. Not so much. Not only did he not come away with a point, he didn't even come away with a Reserve. Now THAT is what we call being royally dumped at a dog show.

Elli came out of the weekend slightly better with one Reserve, finishing second in Open Bitches each day to her littermate, who was also Winners Bitch two of the three days. Congrats to Ah-Leah on her wins. I never have a lot of expectations for Elli in the ring; she is almost always the smallest one in there, and while she does have some nice qualities, many judges are going to look at her size compared to the rest and are not going to look any further. I need to find the judges who will. Regardless of whether I get her finished or not, she will be bred this winter on her January/February heat cycle (assuming she passes OFA), because I definitely see enough in her to build on. I'm about 95% certain of who her suitor will be; more on that once I firm it up.

But -- Ian. At what point do you say "enough is enough?"

Ian didn't come here to be a show dog. He came through an act of Divine Intervention: I was on a waitlist for a Pembroke and just counting down the days until the breeder I had chosen had a puppy for me. In the meantime, I was reimmersing myself in the dog world after a looooong absence. I was surfing the Web and had probably Googled "corgi" when I came across a picture of an available 16 month-old Cardigan -- this one, to be exact:

I had heard of Cardigans, certainly, but I had honestly never even considered one. I hadn't met any personally, I didn't know anyone who had one, and to be honest, I thought they were pretty funny-looking. But I tossed and turned and thought about that face all night and all the next day at work, and that evening when I got home I knew I had to make a phone call, because This Was My Dog.
As it turned out, Ian's breeder had recently moved to Virginia from up here in Maine, we knew a lot of the same people, and everything just clicked. A check was mailed, transport arrangements were made, and a few days before Christmas '07, Ian came home to me.

Ian had originally been sold as a show puppy but had been returned for reasons that had very little to do with him and a whole lot to do with the buyer. He had been shown a couple of times but did not have any points. Since his breeder felt that he "was not a group-winning special or anything, but was finishable," I decided what the hell, I'd show him and see what we could do.

You know how they refer to marijuana as a "gateway drug?" Well, Ian was my gateway dog. He won two out of three shows his first weekend out, and with me!, who had never shown in conformation before. He's the one who started me down this fun, rewarding, frustrating path that I'm on, and I Thank Dog for it.

But that was a lot of shows ago. I keep a spreadsheet for each dog of all shows entered, the judge, the result, comments about it, etc. To date, Ian has been shown 33 times. You know how much a show entry averages; you do the math. And that doesn't count the shows that I entered but didn't go to for whatever reason, or any of the other 1,001 expenses associated with showing a dog.

Ian stands at 13 points, 3 majors. "He's so close, you have to finish him up now!" That's what I've been telling myself. But right now I've spent a whole lot of money to bring him to where he is. This is not a dog I'm going to breed. He wasn't sold on a show contract, nor with any expectation that he would do anything other than be a beloved pet and possible obedience/agility partner. Does it really make sense to keep throwing money at show entries and hoping something will stick? At what point does the number of times he's been shown just become embarassing? When do you cut bait, throw in the towel, call it a day, etc.?

When? July 22nd.

What happens on July 22nd? Magnum turns six months old. Magnum WAS sold as a show puppy, WAS chosen for that purpose. I DO have plans to breed him (again, assuming that he passes his health screenings). And if he turns out anywhere near as nicely as I dare to hope he'll be, I can't wait to get him out there. My time and resources are woefully finite, and I need to focus them on the future, one that I hope will be very bright for "the little man."

So, Ian? My lovely boy, my heartdog, my gateway to this crazy world: you are and always will be first in my heart and on my pillow. Let's get that CDX, and start herding, and maybe take up tracking one of these days. Let's throw the Kong out in the backyard, snuggle on the couch during Doctor Who. Let's give this conformation thing a last hurrah these next two months, and let the points fall where they may.

After July 22nd, the show ring belongs to your brother.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, Bummer. I am sorry nothing happened for you and Ian in Maine. When are you showing next?