Sportsmanship – The good and the bad

Dennis the menace

In one of the groups to which I belong because of the Cardigan connection, there have been a few interesting posts on Sportsmanship in various media – newsletters, chat groups, etc.  I have no idea about the events that lead to the posts even though I do know the writers.    The future of dog shows as we know them is in jeopardy, and reasons such as too many shows, low expectations of success due to professional handlers, uneducated judges, have all received a portion of the blame along with poor sportsmanship.

Among dog people I have seen the best and the worst of the dog show world.  But there have also been many, far too many examples of poor sportsmanship and I hate to say it, but most have come from this same group. 

Here are some of the examples that stick in my mind…..some from a very long time ago, some more recent.

November 1996 – As the judge, R. Glendinning pointed to Hunter for Best Puppy in Group, I saw another Cardigan person directly across the ring point their finger down their mouth and make a gagging motion to the person next to them.   They then hurried around the ring to come over and hug me and say what a lovely dog he was and how he deserved the win.    Really???

February 2000 – Megan was 5 months old, and I took her to the Ontario Breeders show to get her used to the noise and commotion.  While there I asked a group of Cardigan exhibitors if they would be entering the Orangeville show, which was the first show she would be old enough for.  I was told “Oh no! The judges suck!  But we will be entering Credit Valley (the week after)  because Stan and Eve (Whitmore) are judging”    So I entered Megan just for the practice, since shows were less than $10 a day back then.   Was I ever shocked to see EIGHT other class dogs entered and she went BOW/BP all three days putting her at 9 points.   At Credit Valley the only other entry was a special she defeated to finish her championship.

August 2012 – I was allowed to be show chair for the Canadian National specialty ONLY  if I agreed that Dolly and Dragoon would not be shown (never before or since has the show chair been told they cannot enter dogs).   I am not saying – I could not handle them (there is no way I would have shown being the chair – I was told flat out that they could not be ENTERED.  The day of the show, was extremely hot, and our ring was used for the Junior Handling Zone finals which ran overtime.   Rather than help us try to get ready by offering any assistance to Beth Bowman and myself trying to sort through the mounds of class trophies, people sat ringside complaining and saying “When are we going to get started?”   They could see what the delay was – it was nothing that we caused, or that could be helped.   When people got their class prizes which Kathryn Arthur & I had gone to a lot of trouble to acquire, they did nothing but complain.  Each class placement received a stainless steel bucket, with the show logo, a 4′ kennel lead in the class placement colour (blue, red, yellow, white), and a bag of treats.  Prize quality went up from there, but exhibitors complained that the leashes were only 4′ long.  I still use some of them to this day, and I don’t know how short other people’s corgis are, but they work just fine on my dogs!  One person came up the judges that were there for mentoring and said “My name is xxxxxx.   Please note that one persons opinion is not necessarily the opinion of the rest of the club”.  At the end of the show, everyone disbursed and went to dinner, leaving Marilyn Boissoneault and I to take down and put away everything (and do without dinner).  I resigned the next day, disgusted at the behaviour of some of the exhibitors.

Calgary 2014 – at the all-breed show prior to the specialty, Dolly was defeated in the veteran class.  With the amount of cheering, clapping and whistling that went on you would have thought the bitch won Best In Show.  Since I wasn’t showing her people were asking me “What was THAT about?”, including the handler I was using.  How do you explain that type of behaviour?

This doesn’t even begin to cover the number of times I’ve asked if there will be competition at a show, only to be told no, and then find out  there was.  Or the times people have not shown up after the first day of a show.

And of course there are the mysterious “genetic” issues my dogs supposedly have that people searching for puppies hav been warned about!   I still have to figure out what they are myself!

I have honestly given up sharing any of my dogs’ successes in this group.  If someone else’s dog takes a placement anywhere, congratulations abound.   Successes by my dogs are totally ignored, so I no longer mention them.  When asked to write an article about Dolly’s accomplishments I said I would not do it myself, but I was willing to be interviewed for an article that someone else would write.  Quite sad that I don’t feel comfortable  talking about my own dog’s accomplishments:(

At the Guelph show this year I was verbally attacked for something that a handler was told I had said, that I never said!  Thankfully I had the entire conversation on my phone as a text conversation and was able to prove that the gossip that had been passed on was NOT what had actually been said at all.

All of the people who have written the posts I’ve read complaining about the lack of sportsmanship are in at least one of the above scenarios …. some in more than one :(

On the other hand…..I have seen some shining examples of good sportsmanship.

Carolyn Cannon – after Dolly won Open Bitch at the U.S. National in 2009, told me to get lost while she re-bathed and re-groomed her for Winners.  I’m sure Carolyn’s grooming made her look much better and contributed to her success. I have always said if my dogs win it is despite my handling and grooming, not because of it!

Lori Sams and Gayle Petrick, who helped by showing my dogs last year at Western Reserve, as well as to others who have helped with my set up and shades in the past – Philip Myers especially coming to mind!

Tim & Tracie Zeitz – who when my van blew a transmission line on the way home from the 2012 National drove out and took all my dogs out of the van back to their house, and kept them until the van was mobile again.

One shining example….and I can’t even name specific people….but when the final go-around for Winners Bitch at the 2010 U.S. National was happening, Eileen Eby took a video.  Dolly isn’t an American bred or owned bitch, but the volume of the cheering increased noticeably when she and Tim took their turn.   So there was an entire of room displaying sportsmanship, cheering for a dog that they had no reason to be supporting.

Sportsmanship, like friendship and love, is an exponentially growing resource – that is the more you give it away or display it – the more of it you get in return.   Display sportsmanship including losing gracefully, and winning even more gracefully, and it is one step in the demise of dog shows that you can eliminate.   If you have a comment to make, make it away from the rings, and even better, away from the show grounds.   People love to gossip, and twist words – don’t give them the opportunity!

Another 24 hours……

no amazon

So another 24 hours has passed.

I received three emails sent a couple of minutes apart saying:

Hello Shelley,

This is Roselyn from Amazon Customer Service.

Certainly, we appreciate the time you have taken to bring this to our attention.

I understand your concern regarding your orders and you had to contact us. I completely understand your disappointment. That’s definitely not what we want our customers to experience.

I’m sorry about the trouble you had. I’ve passed your message on to the appropriate department in our company for consideration. We value this kind of feedback, as it helps us continue to improve our store and provide better service to our customers.

I’ve checked also your conversation here with the previous representative and I can see here that my co league was set you a follow up to look into this problem to have a full refund for your items.

Again, I can completely understand how frustrating and annoying the situation can be when something like this happens but believe us it was never our intention. We try our level best to provide convenient and stress free shopping to our customers but in this case we haven’t met the standard. Please accept my sincere apologies for this.

One of our aims at Amazon.com is to provide a convenient and efficient service; in this case, we didn’t meet that standard. I’m truly sorry, and I hope you’ll consider this an isolated incident and give us another chance in the future.

On a personal level, I appreciate your patience, cooperation and understanding in this matter. It is our privilege to have you as our valued customer & we want to make sure you are always taken care of.

We hope to see you again soon.

Best regards,

Roselyn D.

I don’t see any resolution or any comment on how this will be resolved in there!  Do you?

 

Score: U-Haul 1: Amazon 0

This is not a usual subject for my blog. It’s barely even dog related. However, it is a commentary on the sad state of affairs in Corporate America.

I recently had the opportunity to deal with two major U.S. Corporations and had a bad experience with both. The difference in the way the two companies handled and resolved my complaint however is like night and day.

thumbsup uhaul

 

I had reserved a 6×10 enclosed U-Haul trailer to pick up from a local dealer. What should have taken no longer than a couple of hours maximum, turned into a full day ordeal. The local franchise owner (1/2 an hour away) had the trailer ready, but unfortunately repairs to my van had put my debit card capacity close to my daily limit. That issue was easily resolved with a phone call to my bank, who increased the daily spending limit temporarily on the card.

The serious problem began after the trailer was hooked up afterwards. While the signal and brake lights functioned properly, the running lights would not operate. Since I expected to be driving in the dark having functional running lights was imperative. The franchise owner did not have another 6×10 trailer on his lot, but he did have a 5×8, and I decided to take it instead. From that point the problems continued to escalate. He was unable to credit back the difference to my bank card. Calls to the bank could not resolve it. Calls to U-Haul corporate office could not resolve it. The owner was unable to refund the difference in cash at that moment. So I was stuck with a trailer with no lights. However, calls to corporate head office resulted in a semi-desirable resolution – take the trailer down to the Corporate store in Brampton (a further half hour away and a major city) and they would repair or replace it.

So off I went with the semi-functioning trailer in tow. Upon arrival there a maintenance person checked it out and decided the fault was with the trailer (not my van or the connection). I expected the trailer to be replaced, however, the manager came out and said, “You rented from a franchise, I can’t exchange it, sorry. He should have refunded your money.” I explained he COULDN’T refund my money which is why I had brought the trailer down. “Nothing I can do”, she said shoving the paperwork back at me and walking away.

I went ballistic on the Corporate customer service phone line. Finally, they called the manager, told her to switch trailers, which she finally did. I asked U-Haul what they were going to do about the trouble I had been subjected to, and the customer service person said there was nothing that could be done until the trailer was returned but to speak to the manager of the franchise when I returned the trailer. Unfortuntely, the delay in making the switch took me into rush hour in Brampton, and the exodus to the suburbs resulting in an hour drive being almost two hours to get home. One day of my life totally lost over a trailer.

I do have to commend the Franchise Owner though on his handling of my complaint when I returned the trailer. His question to me was “What will make you happy?”. I named a figure – he increased it by nearly 50%. Will he get my business again? Definitely!! High recommendation for the U-Haul Centre on Stewart Rd in Orangeville!!! Boos for the corporate store on Main St. in Brampton. :(

no amazon

Now let’s compare this to a recent Amazon experience.

Using my phone, I ordered 4 30″ dog crates to be shipped to a U.S. depot for pickup May 10th. According to the website they would be delivered May 9th.

First, shortly after this, my credit card showed fraudulent purchase for $600 U.S. Whether this was a fault of Amazon’s systems or not I can’t say, but it is the first time that has ever happened to me.

I called to give them a replacement card number, not wanting to risk entering it on the phone again. I asked if the crates would still be delivered by the 9th and was assured they would be. Wrong!!

I phoned customer service and spent almost 3 hours on the phone trying to get the crates re-routed to another destination. No luck. Furthermore, because the crates were now out of stock, Amazon couldn’t just send another order out to the destination. I was advised to place an order for a similar item and they would cover the difference and have it shipped to the new destination. I asked if they would arrive for when they were required and was assured they would arrive by Tuesday.

I pulled over, used my computer to place another order, which came back with a confirmation saying they would be delivered Thursday. No good. I needed them for Wednesday. Called customer service. Nothing they could do. Ended up cancelling the order and speaking with “Erick L.” who assured me customer service would be in touch to resolve this. I demanded that someone listen to all the tapes of my dealings with this order, and explain why I had been lied to about delivery dates, and made to go through this frustration.

Monday (three days later) I get an email from the U.S. warehouse that the crates (that were supposed to be cancelled) had arrived. I figured I would leave them there for Amazon to deal with.

So yesterday, I get a phone call from the U.S. depot – they have received a shipping label to return “A” crate to Amazon, but I would have to pay $55.17 in storage, and handling fees. I told them to deal with Amazon, I was not paying anything.

This morning I called Amazon again – spent nearly another hour on the phone with another customer service person on a bad line (so I couldn’t understand his name) explaining what was going on, and that I was not going to spend any more time on this without sending Amazon a bill for MY time that they were taking away from my clients. He promised that someone would get back to me today. So here we are with about an hour left in the day, and surprise! surprise! no contact from Amazon.

So I decided to put all this in writing, and I will post it as a review on Amazon’s website, as well as share it on social media. Will it get me any response from Amazon? Most likely not, but I do feel better for venting, and relieving stress is good, right?

 

Common sense is an oxymoron

Over the weekend I participated in a pet show down in the GTA with some of the dogs. I shared the booth with a Pembroke person and printed literature so that we could educate the public on the breeds and so they could see first hand the differences between them.

12027512_414338198765372_8026387006036032189_nOver the weekend we handed out hundreds of documents on the breed, the Blue Merle Pembroke fallacy, and finding a reponsible breeder.   The dogs we took were for the most part excellent ambassadors for the breed until they were so exhausted they just wanted to sleep.

Now you can call me a breeder snob all you want, but breeder or not I expect a certain level of etiquette when my dogs are out in public.   The public was allowed to bring their pets to this event and they were there in droves.   But for every well behaved pet walking nicely beside its owner  on a loose lead there were 25 straining and pulling dragging their owners along, or walking out at the end of a 6 foot leash, or lunging at dogs on the tables.

Specifically coming to mind were a Black and Tan dog (some type of Rottie cross)  being walked by a young man brandishing a 6″ knife on his hip.  To add insult to injury the dog had SERVICE DOG IN TRAINING patches on his harness.   Now I am not going to comment on this mans need for a service dog, but what I am going to comment on is that this dog is in no way ready to meet the public.  Go to a class, get a proper collar on your dog, and stop allowing it to jump on other dogs!   There was no need for it to be a SD or SDIT to come to this event – it was open to everyone.   In contrast, I saw a couple of very nice SD’s (both Lion’s Foundation) dogs assisting their handlers, a poodle and a black lab.  I was growled at by a dog wearing ESA badges on its harness too.  I also know of at least two SD’s that were there out of  uniform.  I also had the opportunity to speak with someone about the suitability of corgis as a potential candidate.  

There was a very large German Shepherd dragging around two small women who were holding onto its harness.   Again no collar or halti on the dog.   I said “you should put a collar on that dog and get some control” as it lunged towards my puppies I was taking to the potty area,  and in return I was sworn at.

I saw more pinch collars on dogs than I have ever seen in one place at one time.  If I can control a 150+ lb Irish Wolfhound on a collar of this weight why can’t people handle dogs less than 50 lbs on one too?

 donovan003

 Can’t see the collar?  There is a reason for that!!  When we show dogs we don’t want anything to detract from the overall look of the dog, so we use as tiny a collar as possible.   Could he break that collar if he were poorly trained?  In an instant!!

Here is the same weight of collar on a corgi.  Again you can see the collar is loose – there is no tension or “choke” action – and that snap on the leash is tiny  – maybe only 3/4″

Dolly Head

Yet these dogs, and thousands like them, walk through hundreds or thousands of dogs and people every weekend on show equipment of this weight.  Why can’t the general public?

 I saw a lovely mastiff-type dog on a pink jewelled collar that at a soft command sat beside his owner as his wife talked to the Doberman fanciers, and I almost wanted to reach out and hug him and say “Thank you for being a responsible dog owner!”

Sunday afternoon I saw someone walking some type of exotic animal through the dog area.  It was not long enough to be a Ferret and I think it was a Mongoose (edit:  I’ve been told it was a lemur).   I can only imagine how terrified it must have been no matter how well trained, walking among all these giants who had been bred to hunt and kill it.   Think of yourself being asked to walk through a pride of lions – well fed lions – but lions nonetheless, with a single unarmed body guard.  Would you do it?

Over and over again I asked people to please not let their dog’s get in my dog’s faces.   The almost constant answer is “What’s wrong with your dogs? Do they snap?”   I just ignored them but wanted to say – “No, but I don’t want the diseases your dog is carrying from the dog park to come home to my puppies and I don’t want to test your dogs temperaments on my dogs”.

Here is an example provided by Wendy Reyn of what a small dog uncontrolled on a long leash did to her dog. however this was not at ths weekend but it shows the damage that can be done,

Chow biteThere was a Chihuahua who’s owner insisted on picking it up and putting it in the faces of the larger dogs.   She was very lucky that one of the dogs didn’t mistake it for a squeaky toy!  The dog was terrified, trying to hide behind her, and curtains and under chairs and tables.  Yet this owner was totally oblivious to the signals her dog was sending her – “I don’t want to be here!”

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I’m sure every dog owner that went through the show on the weekend is proud of their dog and I am proud of mine for what they put up with over the weekend.  Just remember, that a well-trained dog with impeccable crowd manners is far more impressive than a panting, drooling dog straining with all its might against a harness dragging its owner along as an afterthought.

Do you want people to respect and love your dog as much as you do?  Invest in obedience classes or a private trainer, and then show the result in public!  Out of all the dogs that stood out in my mind from the weekend, it was the pretty grey mastiff with the jewelled collar that could have broken it like thread, sitting beside her dad.   Perhaps its time we started to licence the owners instead of the dogs.  We need to make people accountable for showing some level of common sense before being allowed to ruin the life of an animal