On A Personal Note: New Year’s Resolutions of a Dog Enthusiast

Truth be told, I do not usually make resolutions at the beginning of a new year. I always fear that I will be unable to keep them and will feel as though I have let myself down. This new year is also the start of a new decade, and, hopefully, the start of new relationships and experiences with dogs, as well as continuation of the paths I have been on during the past few years. I have always had goals (things I want to accomplish) and options (potential paths to move toward my goals), so those are a little like resolutions anyway. Within the big part of my life that is dedicated to dogs—judging, exhibiting, working with breeders, and caring for the dogs I have at home—there are still many things I want/need to work on, both personally and professionally. Here are my 2020 resolutions within those four groupings:

JUDGING:

  • Attend the National Specialties for Poodles, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and Pomeranians. These can be made to fit in my schedule and I do love to attend National Specialties for breeds I am studying whenever it is possible.
  • Complete my application for the five breeds I am not approved to judge in the Toy Group by the end of May.
  • Continue to always have my big book of standards at the ready while I am judging. I find that even though I have reviewed the breeds I am judging the night before, I sometimes like to refer to the actual wording of the standard when I am making a decision between two deserving dogs: an essential part of type? a fault vs a serious fault?
  • Work on having a better response when someone verbally attacks me in the ring. A shocked stare is probably not quite what I want, but I do not want to jump to a bench show committee unless it is clearly indicated. I treasure feedback, but really prefer a quiet, non-confrontational conversation after I have completed judging for the day.
  • Continue to learn! I have always said my goal in life is to be a professional student, and dog show judging is a perfect opportunity for
    continuous learning.

EXHIBITING:

  • Train as often as possible! Both my skills (I am not a handler) and the dogs’ skills need constant practice. And make it fun for all of us!
  • ALWAYS congratulate winners in the ring with me. Be a good sport.
  • ALWAYS make only positive comments about the competition, especially while ringside.
  • Keep working on learning to groom an Irish Terrier correctly.
  • Partner with any handler working with my dogs to ensure they get what they need to do right by the dog and manage the dog’s career appropriately. Enjoy the relationships.
  • Sort out who may be a potential special. Get the Italian Greyhounds ready for the National in September.

WORKING WITH BREEDERS:

  • Keep my Irish Terrier girls in the best of health and never miss when they come in season.
  • Keep my Italian Greyhound boys in the best of health and available if called upon by my breeder-partner.
  • Treasure the relationships with breeders who are willing to work with me and who have similar vision for the future of the breed(s). I am not in the position to whelp and rear puppies any longer because of my travel schedule and good partners are like solid gold to me.
  • Treasure every puppy produced and evaluate them realistically.
  • Be careful to not get overloaded with dogs (again).

CARING FOR DOGS:

  • Never put off routine veterinary care.
  • Ensure every dog gets individual time with me every day that I am at home.
  • Play with dogs. Cuddle with dogs. Have a relationship with each dog based on his/her own
    individual personality.
  • Be obsessive about keeping up with each dog’s grooming needs—especially nail trimming.
  • Pay close attention to weight
    and nutrition.
  • Enjoy living with dogs! Raise
    good pure-bred, purpose-bred
    canine citizens.

There are many more issues I would love to be able to address, but one thing I do know is that my time is limited. “If there were world enough, and time” I would love to be able to be involved in some performance sports, as well as helping to work with legislators who are being persuaded by the animal rights fanatics, be more involved with good and true animal charities, do more work for the clubs of which I am a member, and participate in more educational activities. Maybe another year will see a change of focus. Wishing everyone who is still reading a very Happy New Year and much success with your doggy activities and your own New Year’s resolutions! Hope to see you soon at a dog show!

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