1999 Bouvier Specialty
Monday, Oct 11th
The Olympia Resort & Spa, Oconomowoc, WI
Monday, 5:30am. My
good morning ear licks from Truman. "Later" I commanded.
Well Truman understands "later" to be a snooze alarm.
Dutifully he was back licking my ear in 10 minutes. One look @ my
watch, the dark sky, the very early, early morning news & Truman's
face was enough to convince me it was a lost cause.
So he got a few scritchies (Carol
Rauch can explain a scritchie) & listened patiently to a muddled
monologue while I tried to untie my mental cobwebs. A nap.
Maybe I sneak in a nap. Truman -- "lie down", "be
quiet", "go to sleep", "later" -- I threw in
all the commands I could think of. Truman (who's not @ his best
early in the morning either) turned away, jumped onto the other bed
& collapsed against the pillows having completed his work.
Ahhhhhhh, another nap, maybe? Back under my covers, still warm, I
rearranged the thin pillows into an acceptable lump & dozed off.
The phone rang. "Good morning" Carol Rifkinson said
cheerily. "Did you sleep? How's the hotel? How's
Truman? Was he a good boy? Did he eat? Did you take
your pills? It's raining here. Sabrina's fine. I took
her out. She keeps looking for you but I think she's finally
settling down." Hi, I said. It's 5:45 here in the
Midwest & everything's fine. "Go back to sleep",
Carol commanded as I closed my clamshell cellular & hung up to try
Truman's snooze alarm went off about ten minutes later so I gave up.
OK, I'll get the boy some food. Carefully packed away were
helpings of an Innova-Ca Natural mix -- enough for 12 days --
& 2 aluminum dishes. I remembered how heavy it all felt by the
time I got the 4th floor; all that food packed away with his grooming
tools, toys, assorted leashes & a pair of work boots.
Unceremoniously I dumped the dry food in a dish & decided to take a
It took all of the 4 skimpy bath towels to dry me off & Truman
hadn't touched a thing in his dish so I got down on the floor &
tried to hand feed him a little thinking he would need his strength.
Nah, forget it. Truman climbed back up on the other bed again
& went back to sleep. So I shaved, dressed in my black uniform
& watched the early morning news.
9am - Agility.
On one side of the hotel, fronted by an access road to the condos on one
side, the tennis courts on the other & separated from the golf
course on the third side by some scrawny white pines, lay the agility
area. Those folks had worked hard the day before to set up a nice
course & there was a goodly number of people milling around. I
greeted a couple whom I knew from B.O.N.E. (Bouvier Owners North East)
& trotted up to the ring. A woman with a lot of energy briskly moved
towards me & asked if I was Jan Rifkinson. "Yes", I
answered carefully, not knowing what to expect. Hi, she said, I'm
Shelley Bowman, nice to meet you (extending her hand). Are you watching
or participating? 'Watching". Shelley & I chatted
briefly; I so admired her positive energy & good cheer, realizing
*this* was the real beginning of my national specialty experience.
Suzanne Simms also introduced herself & offered computer help if I
felt deprived. I didn't. She was full of southern hospitality
& it was nice to put a face to an email.
The agility judge was a tall guy -- 6'5" +/- who called everyone
together for instructions, then allowed the handlers to walk the field
without their dogs. Competition began. There were all kinds
of breeds & for the time that I watched, I was impressed by
the support that everyone rcvd no matter the breed, the club, the dog
the politics or the performance.
Some competitors were down right funny. One example that comes to
mind was Chuck Conklin's CH I'm Special Vintage Classic who took
off like a shot but when he got to the weave polls, went into ultra slow
motion -- iiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnn, ooooouuuuuutttttttt, iiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnn,
ooooouuuuuutttttttt -- while Chuck stood over him clapping his hands in
quick rhythm hoping to speed up the process. No such luck but it
gave us all a good chuckle. However, as soon as he had made it
thru all the weave poles, Tucker sped up again & finished just 1 or
2 seconds off the required time. However, Joyce Lak's bitch came in 2nd
place after putting in a fine performance & we all congratulated her
while tried to cheer up Chuck. Day 2 was a different story (Tucker
eventually became the highest scoring Bouvier in the trials -- agility,
obedience & herding, -- a wonderful accomplishment.)
More on that another time.
Mid afternoon I returned to my room to discover the msg light flashing
so I called down to the front desk. The manager wanted me to tell
you that you will be "penalized" for not having a crate in
your room said the message person. Fine, I said, you do what
you've got to do & I'll do the same. A few more choice words
& I hung up.
Then I considered some possible "penalties" -- paper cups
instead of plastic cups. 6 face towels instead of 4 bath towels
& 2 face towels or worse, paper towels. No coffee machine.
Lock me out of the basic cable channels. No extra roll of toilet
paper. Make me & Truman sleep on one bed (not so bad except he
snores). Or worse -- expulsion. So I made a back up reservation at
the friendly, less costly, dog friendly, nearby Holiday Inn just in case
but the thought of packing & moving again left me numb. If
that happened, I decided, I will take all my bags & Truman, go down
the elevator, march to the front desk to check out and if they didn't
like that, well.......
Instead, I went back downstairs to the agility area to spread the news
while hoping no one else would get "penalized".
Mid afternoon, Maureen Patterson & I went shopping @ the local super
market. It was there that I decided I wasn't going to spend one
additional penny @ the spa place. So I stocked up on apples,
cottage cheese, yellow cheese, bottled water (for Truman), chocolate
donuts, yogurt & milk (for moi). Truman ate better that night.
That night, 17 of us invaded a pretty good local restaurant & had a
ball. Let's see, there was Deborah Profant, her brother, Michael
& his wife. Chuck & Sue Conklin. David & Susan
Frye. Nicky & Maureen Patterson. Joyce Lak & Tony
Fusco, Jackie, Claire McClean & her handler whose name I didn't know
until later. Including myself, that's 15 so either I owe 2 people
an apology or there were only 15 of us. There was one very funny,
exceptionally good natured waitress who handled all of us quite well.
It was Sue Conklin's birthday but she had threatened retaliation if
anyone dared to recognize it. So Nicky & Tony quietly went off
& ordered a cake with candles & we all sang happy birthday to
Sue with great gusto.
Truman was asleep in the car -- I wasn't about to leave him in that
unfriendly hotel. We drove home, took a quick walk in the
permitted areas -- no urinating on the trees, by the way -- and went up
to our room to sleep.
More agility & the first herding trials awaited us the next day.
click below for
Specialty Diary - Tuesday