It’s not my job….. or is it?
I live with a bunch of spoiled show dogs. I obsess about their diet, their sleeping habits, their coats, their entertainment level and physical condition. I live with Canine Royalty! I am a dog snob, yes I said it a dog snob. I’m also a responsible breeder and hopefully I am seen as a kind person, a knowledgeable person and a good sport and sometimes those things are at odds with dog snobbery.
Having recently returned from New York City and having attended my 1st ever Westminster Kennel Club show is really making me think about my dog job. What are my responsibilities as a kind, knowledgeable, good sport? As a slave to Canine royalty what are my obligations to the general public. I couldn’t find an official attendance count for spectators at Westminster this year and I don’t have anything to compare it too but I can tell you there were LOTS of people there. Average people, local people, people who really liked dogs and wanted to see them and talk about them. “My, insert relation, has a corgi”, “we just lost our corgi/mix”, “we just love corgis” “what kind of dog is that?”, “I love their feet”, “can I take a picture” and on and on. Leslie and I answered their questions, (as did the rest of our Cardigan exhibitors), we handed out CWCCA breed brochures and I made slide show on my I-Pad to show people what show dogs do in real life. Junie, got tons of pets, scratches and treat offers (no she didn’t get any treats from strangers) and had her photo taken, it was an adventure. So I ask “is this my job”?
I work very hard to create these wonderful creatures, I breed them for myself and I train and show them for my own pleasure. I like to show and win, I like hanging with my friends and other dog people, I like traveling around with the dogs and mostly I like the dogs. Is it my obligation as a kind, knowledgeable, good sport to interact with the public? Can I claim privacy? Or is showing dogs like being a Hollywood starlet where I say I want privacy but I sit at the front table of a trendy establishment? What say you gentle readers?
Here is what I say;
As a responsible breeder and dog show exhibitor I expect that my dogs and I are on public display, when we are in public. My dogs are well-bred, mostly well-behaved and really cute. Cute equals people magnet! When I am in public I need to be the public face not only for my breed but for the dog fancy in general. I feel that when we are in public it is my duty to promote responsible breeding, explain the show process, talk about the pros and cons of the breed, mentor new people and to talk to people about the suitability of my breed for their lifestyle. I like to help people and their dogs, better dogs make better pets and better pets means less in shelters and happier people so I am glad to share the knowledge I have available. In the last few days I’ve equated a behavior problem with a medical condition that lead to a vet visit and treatment and I suggested a training technique that is helping pets to be better neighbors, and had some one stop their car in the street to ask if I could train their Jack Russell, I’m the Dog Lady. But am I obligated when I am walking or training my dogs to be “the Dog Lady” or can I be a “Dog Snob” and be like the Hollywood starlet that goes to the grocery wearing a cap and sunglasses and buy bananas so she might not get her photo taken or be asked for an autograph. What is my job?
So I ask you readers as seasoned Breeders and/or exhibitors what do you think our job is? Those of you who are dog lovers but aren’t on the public dog show stage, what do you think? I’d love to hear from you.