Today was a first for me at the dog show. I actually knew the judge of the French Bulldogs, having exhibited with him over the past year and a half. I had gotten to know him through many conversations as well as having been the recipient of several of his veterinary referrals. In addition, he knew both my dogs (er … bitches) well and had made a number of complimentary remarks about them. He and his wife sponsored my membership in the Southern California French Bulldog Club. I had always heard that cronyism played a huge part in the dog show world. But today I wondered whether I would be the beneficiary of it. In fairness, because the judge was a breeder that showed his dogs locally, he had some type of relationship with most of the exhibitors this day. The question was, what kind of relationship did he have with each individual? This question, of how these relationships would affect the judging, was relevant to me not only on the obvious concern about the day’s placements of my two beauties, but on an even more personal level. I have been in the process of joining the Kennel Club of Beverly Hills. The Club hosts a puppy match each year, and being the host club obligates them to provide the judges as well as support staff. Club members are expected to participate by volunteering for specific assignments. I was assigned to do the judging of the French and English Bulldog puppies (which is one of the first steps to take to attain my goal of being a certified AKC judge). I imagined that I would know more than a few of the people that would be showing their dogs that day and I wondered whether it would be at all possible to judge with pure objectivity. It’s easy to talk the talk, but until the day comes that I step into the ring as a judge, I won’t know if I can walk the walk. And so the dogs were shown. Modi, in spite of looking like the best of the bunch, didn’t place and Laila won her customary Select Bitch title. Renata, the handler, was so disappointed in the judge’s decision in regard to Modi, that she chose to forgo appearing in the winners photo. As I placed Laila on the photo table, both the judge and the photographer aided in posing her. But Laila was distracted and kept turning around. The woman waiting behind us, whose dog had won Winner’s Dog, offered a handling tip, “Stick your finger up her ass, that’ll stop her!” To which I replied, “I do that for a living—today I’m on vacation.” After the picture was shot, Laila and I made our way out to the parking lot where we were going to pick up Modi at Renata’s air conditioned van. (Did I mention that the temperature was in the mid-eighties at 10 a.m.?) On the way we ran into another French Bulldog exhibitor who spread the rumor that within the last two weeks, the judge had bred one of his bitches to the dog that he had selected as Winner’s Dog. Judging… I just love it.
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And now, announcing ….
For more pictures of the darling girls, brother Boker, Modi and their whole family, click the Frenchie Dog Pix and Laila & Parents buttons! Stayed tuned for more doggie show adventures with Laila Tov! And to read the story of her first great success, and then find links to the steps along the dog show trail, click here!
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