Yesterday, I experienced a very unusual thing indeed. I think it
a post to BDL. It might restore someone's faith in humanity! I know
As with all forms of competition, there comes a certain amount of
goal grabbing, disappointment, anger and even revenge in extreme
Some of it, is just the nature of competition, the majority of it is
malice. Dog showing is no exeption.
Unfortunately, all too often I have stood at ringside and heard
malicious comments, bitching and bickering. Dog show people can be
cruel to each other sometimes. I have on occasion been the brunt of
comments, but that's another story.
Well, yesterday I had a breath of fresh air, as it were. I was
at the Rough Collie Club of Ireland's Championship show.
It's a relatively popular breed here in Ireland. Always a big entry.
They had a wonderful judge from the U.K. This lady has been in the
since 1949. So, it goes without saying, I was pretty privileged to
steward for her.
Anyway, just before the Novice class, one of the club official's came
into the ring and, I overheard her tell the judge about the one entry
the class. I thought it was unusual that there was only one entry in
later found out the reason why!
I called the class, and, in walked an old man and his Rough Collie.
only ever seen this man at our St. Patrick's day show. He's an old
rough around the edges and, well, his dog, is really unkempt by show
He marched proudly into the ring with the dog on a great big thick
While the judge was going over the dog, I was filled in on his story.
I was told that he lives in an old folks home in Galway. (The other
of Ireland.) He has no family left living and no visitors at the old
He's been showing this dog for eight years only ever on St. Patrick's
day or the Club show. He'd travelled 150 miles on a bus yesterday
Which takes about 5 hours in Ireland.
The nurses in his home, usually phone the club to tell of his
and the club usually phone back when they spot this old man at the
He has only ever shown the dog in Novice, and people over the years
never compete against him. The nurses told the club officials that
wins a rosette at a show he wears it for weeks at home in the old
home. The dog lives with him at the home and, is quite a celebrity
dog" with all the residents.
The pride and joy of this man's life. He spends half the year, telling
people about the last dog show and the other half of the year, looking
forward to the next one!
Anyway, the judge was so considerate to this man. And, boy was he
to show his dog off.! When the judge asked could she look at the
"Oh yes," the man replied and instructed the dog to "Smile".
With that the dog showed off a perfect set of choppers!
The judge replied "Aren't you a clever dog?"
With that the man said "Oh, he is very clever, he'll shake your hand
if you like!"
I couldn't help smiling when I heard this, and full credit to the
she shook hands with the dog.!
The dog won first in the class and every exhibitor at the show, gave
old man and his dog a standing ovation. He was cheered and clapped as
did his own lap around the ring. People came over to the ringside to
congratulate and pat the man on the
back as he left the ring.
Talk about Elvis leaving the building, this man was certainly the king
when he won his class. He was just so proud of his accomplishment. He
lapped up every minute of it.
It was the first time I'm sad to say that I've seen people being
nice at a dog show. They really made this old man's day. Possibly his
Heaven help the residents at the old folks home when he returned home
Not only did he win a rosette but also won a great big trophy. I'm
it will take pride of place on the mantle piece. !
Isn't this what dog showing SHOULD be about.?
Giving people like this old man a day out to enjoy the only family he
has. His best pal, his dog. A memory for an old man to hold on to, to
brighten his day, something to share with his friends at the old
home? Something to be proud of , however small the achievement?
Anyway, that's the story, just a thought, an observation and possibly
inspiration to us all? I know it's one of the happiest memories I
a dog show.