When one of your golf-playing acquaintances refers scornfully
to someone who has Gone To The Dogs, he’s referring to
one of us. We just happen to think we have the very finest leisure
time activity going; one that is more than just a hobby, it’s
a life-style. I’ve been told that the only other group
of people which compares to us in their fervor is the parents
of little leaguers. Though, I think that some of the Internet
devotees are likely to be in the same realm soon as well.
As a veterinarian, I find myself trying to reason with some
of my pet owning clients to alter their living arrangements
to accommodate their pet. Some of them find this an incredibly
strange perspective, saying ‘What do you want me to do?
Move for my dog’s benefit?’ Well, of course this
is what I mean! Dealing as I do with dog breeding and exhibiting
clients, most of them have already done so. It’s only
natural in my world. This is the world of The Dog Fancy.
Dog fanciers collect chain link fence, and value it as though
it was gold bouillon. Crates (wire or fiberglass cages) come
a close second.
Dog fanciers go to the grocery store and buy $95.00 worth of
kibble, canned food, milk bones and plastic garbage bags. Also
a couple of cheap TV dinners for themselves – say about
Dog fanciers drive mini-vans, full-size vans, stretch vans,
high top custom vans, and cube trucks. Also frequently a travel
trailer or a motor home. Many own two vans; his and hers.
Dog fanciers go out to eat at nice places on weekends with their
buddys and entertain the adjacent diners with discussions of
how difficult it is to chop the ‘poops’ out of the
ice and snow.
Dog fanciers travel up to 50 weekends a year, from state to
state, coast to coast, and country to country attending shows.
Dog fanciers who engage in the field activities, such as herding
or hunting trials, must be suitably provided with appropriate
accessories - camo gear, shotguns, rubber bumpers and starters
pistols, or Australian oiled dusters and their own flock of
Dog fanciers all have at least one shirt which proclaims that
‘My Dog Walks All Over Me’, and they wear it proudly.
Dog fanciers meet their friends at the show every weekend and
enjoy a continuing party celebrating their communion with each
other and above all, with their reason for being there, their
dog. They will be quick to encourage you to spell that word
backward. Make no mistake about it, this celebration of an entire
species frequently does more than just border on worship.
Two competitors being 'set up' and one 'free baiting' in the
The sport of showing dogs encompasses many activities, some
of which have nothing to do with ‘showing’ per se.
It would be difficult to call herding sheep, or hunting birds
A Fancier may have one dog, which may compete in one activity
year after year, or may go from one activity to another, mastering
many. Or, the household may be centered around many dogs, with
sons and daughters of the original Star working their way through
the different levels of competition.
Outdoor shows - colorful tents, green grass, beautiful sunshine;
and if it rains, the show must go on!
There are so many American Kennel Club sanctioned activities
that I will probably overlook some here. There is something
for most every one, dog or keeper.