Feb 8, 2007

A Tale of Two Tails, or

The Dog Show, Part II

I used to not be a people person. And to be quite honest, I'm still not all that keen on most people. People let you down by not being everything you hope they will be. But sometimes, once in a while, you meet folks who seem as genuine and open as you might hope. And sometimes you meet these people at dog shows, and sometimes these people own Borzois, too.

I've met four people now, three of the four being Borzoi people, who have struck me with their openness, their compassion for newbies, and their genuine love and joy drawn from their dogs and showing them in competition. The first was Rita, who comments here occasionally as, oddly enough, Lady Borzoi or Mama Borzoi. One innocent question from me at a dog show lead me over a year later, circuitously, to not only owning but showing in the ring one of these beautiful, elegant dogs. Rita has become our first mentor, the most important, I feel, because she opened the door for us, she set our feet upon a road that I had always viewed rather askance, a road which has become an eye-opening and wholly enjoyable journey. And she's held a quiet secret--not only is she currently competing for a place in the Westminster Kennel Club show, she is also becoming a professional breed judge.

Our second mentor was Nancy, if you recall from my posts a while back. She is the lady who came into our lives by coincidence, showing us the basics of gaiting, judge's examinations, and being invisible during the show procedures. Her hidden secret? She revealed a little of the behind-the-scenes, as she is Chairwoman of our local AKC organization.

This last show in Pine Bluff was a formative one for all of us, and for our mentoring process. It helped Penny (I hope) learn that if she's in her kennel it doesn't mean that we're leaving her. It helped Belle gain more comfort and relaxation in the noisy, oftimes crazed environs of a dog show. And it lead us to our third (and fourth) mentors, Ed and Linda, an utterly wonderful couple who own and show a handful of Borzoi. They spent the entire weekend with us, sharing over supper all sorts of grooming tips, handling ideas, and in general answering any and every question we could put to them, from shampoo preferences to the ins and outs of the very political world of dog showing.

Their secret? They own and show Phillip, one of the top ten Borzoi in the country, destined to be The Top Dog.

You know, I'm not a religious person. I no longer believe in a guiding power, a supreme being, or any of that hocus pocus. I know people who look at coincidences and strange events as proof that the Universe is watching us (and laughing, usually) and frankly I have never felt comfortable attributing random happenstance to any guiding Light, but here of late I'm having to start to seriously reconsider my atheist standings. The thing is - to encounter four such powerful people in a field into which we're venturing as innocent as church mice is awfully coincidental. I can't help but feel that we're being manipulated, guided, used as as factor for change in a game so big we can barely see the other players, much less the gameboard.

Irrelephant to Borzoi's pawn four. Checkmate.

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