Sunday, June 1, 2008

Multitasking Newfies

Sniffing's A No-No At Dog Show
(Yakima Valley Kennel Club Draws Hundreds Of Canine Competitors To Annual Dog Show, by Rod Antone, Yakima Herald-Republic)
"Those who think dog shows are for the poofy, foo-foo types that sit on pillows and eat bon-bons should think again.

"The pressure was on at the Yakima Valley Kennel Club All Breed Dog Show on Saturday, as man's best friend ran, stopped and ran again. Whether they were Alaskan Eskimo dogs, American Staffordshire terriers or Tibetan mastiffs, they all tried to walk briskly around cones and did their best not to sniff the ground, which is a real point-killer.

"But sometimes it was all just too much to take. For the owners, that is.

"'There was this one guy who started to walk in and his dog sniffed the ground and he just left, he didn't even try', said Jean Rodgers, who was competing in her first dog show with Jule the Rotweiler. 'She wanted to sniff the ground, but I talked her out of it.'

"Kennel club officials said there were about 820 dogs of all sorts and sizes ready to compete at State Fair Park on Saturday and today. The competition drew hundreds of entrants and spectators from all across the state and the West Coast.

"'This is our first time', said Teri Hamilton of Kimberly, Ore., who drove six hours to compete with Josie, her Australian shepherd. 'She did good.'

"Emily Allen of Walla Walla and her family brought three dogs to compete: Doberman pincshers Jato and Cali, and Dux, the Australian terrier. Allen says even though her family does not take the competitions as seriously as other dog owners, they still compete in shows all across the West Coast and spend hundreds of dollars for registration, gas, hotels and other expenses.

"'We try to get two a month in summer and spring', Allen said. 'For some people it's a job, for us it's a hobby.'

"For the Fish sisters from Camas, Wash., it's more like a career. Jenny Fish has been competing since she was 9 years old, and her sister Emily is a professional dog handler.

"Dressed in a suit and tie, Dennis Sieracki of West Richland had high hopes for Kelly, his English setter. 'She's been showing for about a year; she's got six points now and working her way toward the championship', he said.

"Debbie Jordan of Wenatchee said her two Newfoundlands, Sophie and Shiraz, aren't just for show. Both are training to be certified water rescue dogs. 'They also pull children in carts ... they're good all-around dogs', she said.

"Others, like Cindy Parson and her Old English bulldog Gemma, were there just to watch and support friends. 'She might compete one day, but she's got to mind her manners first', Parson said.

"The Yakima Valley Kennel Club is an American Kennel Club-recognized organization that holds dog shows, agility trials, handling seminars and other canine events in central Washington. Club member Bessie Pickens, who has been involved in West Coast dog shows for 50 years, said the Northwest in general is a good
place for dog owners, breeders and handlers. She said Yakima's show, in particular, has a more relaxed atmosphere than other shows, and attracts a lot of first-time entrants.

"'We do not attract the great big-time handlers', Pickens said. 'The breeder/owner handlers do much better. As far as new people go, they should go to a few dog shows first and talk to people. We'll be glad to help out with any questions or offer suggestions.'"

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Okay, 'Drew and I have a question: How do we get out of this crazy show world?


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