Its been a while since I’ve had the opportunity to post. Good intentions aside, life has just been too crazy.
April, however, is the time for the annual trek to the CWCCA National Specialty. This year it was in St. Louis, but the events were not held at the host hotel as they usually are, but instead at the Purina Farms facility. The facility is gorgeous, lots of grooming space, lots of power, temperature controlled, etc. The problem was that I am not a person who likes to leave my dogs overnight at the facility, so it requires triple crating – one set for the hotel, one set for the van, one set for the venue. Start adding three sets of water bottles x 8 possible dogs – that is a lot of “stuff” to transport and creates the need for a U-Haul.
No specialty is complete without its disaster. Whether it be the non-starting van of 2009, or the forgotten show clothes also of 2009 (that was an exceptional year!!), or the broken serpentine belt of 2012, there has to be something that goes wrong with the departure. This year it was the U-Haul.
I wanted to be on the road Sunday morning, so I rented the U-Haul to pick up Saturday morning. The previous Saturday I got a call that the U-Haul was waiting for me to pick it up at the location I selected – unfortunately a week too early. Then they found me one for the next week 45 minutes away. I went and got it for 10 am Saturday morning, but the right signal didn’t work, and driving at highway speeds signals are important (at least to me!). I took the trailer to where I was originally to pick it up and they spent 3 hours trying to repair it – but the entire trailer needed rewiring. So at 4 pm I am desperately looking for a trailer for the week. I found one over in Stayner and managed to get it, leaving very little time to pack before dark and having to cancel a dinner invitation.
Thankfully that was the entire disaster of the trip this year. It seems the worse the trip, the better the results, so this year was pretty good results, but not the great ones of prior years.
Dolly, unfortunately has not been co-operative about getting into shape for shows this year. At Westminster she was totally naked. For the Nationals she has refused to lose weight despite a very restricted diet. She is convinced she is going to die from the lack of food and is playing the part of “Pathetic” very well.
So only Dragoon showed at the Megan on Tuesday night. He looked fabulous, and in my opinion out-moved most of his competition, but he only made the preliminary round.
Dragoon & Tim in the Megan
We had a fantastic photographer doing candids at the National this year and she captured some amazing shots of some of the dogs Comparing this photo to the information in the CWCCA trifold brochure, I think this is a pretty near perfect movement picture.
- Free and smooth. Effortless. Topline level.
- Legs do not move in exact parallel planes,
but incline slightly toward center.
- Forelegs reach well forward with little lift;
hind legs reach well under the body,
driving well beyond the set of the tail.
- Equal reach in front and drive in rear. Proper
sidegait should be strong, workman-like, balanced.
- Tail can be lifted when moving, but
shouldn’t curl over back.
She also got this very nice standing photo of them.
Getting Mr.ADHD’s attention is not an easy task!
The next day, Wednesday, was puppy and veteran sweepstakes, and although I had nothing entered it was nice to see Hunter’s grandaughter win the puppy sweeps from the 6 to 9 month class
Thursday was class boys, followed by the 4-6 month old puppies. In 4-6 there is no class placements, simply a best baby puppy and best of opposite baby puppy. I handled Sean, and Natasha and Paula Weller handled Patrick.
The puppies were narrowed down to two boys, and two girls for the final awards. Paula and Patrick made it into that group but unfortunately it was the other boy that was selected.
Friday was the girls turn. Both Dash and Cara were entered in the Open class. I handled Dash, and Tim handled Cara. Although Dash showed well for me it was Cara’s day.
Cara – 2nd in Open Bitch
And then it was finally Saturday – Best of Breed day. All the specials had to be in the ring for 8 am check in, which meant 5 am wake up , to be at Purina for 6 am. Although Dolly was still fat (although less fat!) I thought she had to show in Best of Breed in order to show in Bitch.
Dragoon was in the first class of males, and made it through the first two cuts of males. Darren is back from from the U.K. and made the first cut of males.
Dolly was the very last special. When the whittling down was done Dragoon was awarded an Award of Merit
Dragoon – Award of Merit
After the Best of Breed the unofficial classes began. Dolly was in Brood Bitch and Bev Mercer and Laura Marocco assisted handling Cara and Dash, helping Dolly to win the brood bitch class.
Dolly – Best Brood Bitch 2014
So there were highs and there were lows. On the positive side, the dogs received some nice awards, the Purina venue was beautiful, lots of grooming space, power, places to walk the dogs etc.
On the minus side, not having everything in one place made the trip harder, made socializing more difficult, and I missed the two things I am sure to attend every year – breeders education and judges education. There was also a problem with food, and I was glad I had a mini-coffee maker and lots of cereal bars and protein drinks with me. Of course the trip home had to be a challenge. There were two major lines of storms tracking across the southern states and I was driving north between the two of them. With the torrential rains, and winds trying to send the van and trailer para-sailing I was driving with a death grip on the steering wheel for 21 hours. Now my carpal tunnel has flared up so badly I can’t hold anything and I’m wearing braces on both arms.
I honestly don’t think, at this moment, that I will attend the 2016 National, unless Purina has built a hotel on the grounds by that time. I have to realize I am getting older and the trip is getting harder each year If I do consider it, it may be sans dogs, or with just a single one. I will definitely go to Ohio for 2017 though!
Now all thoughts turn to finding suitable panels to show in Ontario, until the big trip west in the summer