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By:Jan Rifkinson
Date: October '99


1999 Bouvier Specialty
Sunday - Monday

The End

Sunday. The NE Illinois Regional Specialty.

I entered Truman in this show because I thought it would be rude to dump out after the National.  And it seemed that many from the Specialty stayed around which was great support for the local club.  With a judge named Dr. R. F. Greathouse, it seemed like it was going to be a extremely serious affair.

Now Chuck & Sue & Tucker & Scout Conklin had finished their own competition but they stayed over to show Truman & I'm extremely grateful to them for that.  Chuck being such a perfectionist, so serious & competitive who has accomplished so much with Tucker, I knew Truman was in responsible hands.  Besides Chuck is one of Truman's uncles by marriage.

So I delivered Truman to Chuck @ his grooming table @ 12:45pm -- not 12:30p (which might have been too early) & not 1:00pm (which might have been too late) -- 12:45pm.  This was the amount of time Chuck figured it would take for Truman's last minute touch up, a heart-to-heart with the gray fellow, a practice strut & stacking or two & then into the ring without giving Truman time to get bored.

But that was not to be.  Into the center ring paraded a very large group of Bouvs.

The judge stood in the middle of the ring, asked for quiet & explained his procedure.  He separated the group before him into three grouplets.  Grouplets 2 & 3 left the ring while he selected from #1. Then #2 & finally #3.  Truman was in #3.  By now it was close to 3pm & he was a bit rambunctious but when it was his turn, stood stock still as he was handled, his teeth & balls checked &, to a nice hand of applause, went thru his paces around the ring better than I expected a dog who hadn't been in a competition in a year, to do.  I just wanted to call his name but settled for hiding silently behind Maureen.  He was eliminated & I could hardly wait to get him back to give him a big hug.

The judge called back his selections from grouplets 1, 2, 3. The bitches returned and the winners were selected.

That night, The Pattersons & I decided to return to the Moose Room @ the fancy German restaurant for our last elegant meal in Oconomowoc.  And waiting on us that night was "Wendy", a very friendly young woman.  We were all curious people so she discovered why were in in town & we discovered she came from a bee keeping family, was married, had four kids & was thinking about adopting a Samoyed -- because she liked their white fur -- as a Christmas surprise for her kids (all young).

Well!  Did Wendy get an earful.  We suggested books to read, people to contact, web sites to explore. I told her to read "The Lassie Syndrome" @ http://www.bogartsdaddy.com/bouvier/pups
Much to her credit, Wendy wrote everything down -- suggestions, titles, URLs & all, promised to follow up before she did anything.  And she promised not to do anything for Xmas.  Wendy has since corresponded with me via email so I know she's on the right track.

Nicky, Maureen & I trundled outside as the place was closed down, having feasted well.  It was cold as Truman & Logan rested quietly in the back of their respective vehicles.  As we stood around, shivering & talking, Wendy came out in her little German waitress outfit to see a Bouvier.

Nicky freed "Logan" who nuzzled Wendy, wagged his tail, milled around & was a perfect gentleman. And finally it was time for "Logan" to get back into the SUV.

Wendy peered @ my car, trying to get a look @ "Truman" thru the darkened windows but she couldn't see anything.  I suggested she get closer & she'd definitely see something.  She did & "Truman" leapt @ the closed window, barking ferociously, eager to take a chunk out of Wendy's roundish face. "Oh my", she said.  But to complete the Bouv demo, I let him out of the car.  Truman sort of greeted everyone, said hi, wagged his tail a bit but was standoffish.  Then he decided to go down to the edge of the parking lot to look @ the lake.  Visions of a soaked Bouvier & one whistle brought him back @ a gallop & back into the car he went. 

So we said goodnight, wished each other a safe trip home the next day & caravanned our way back to the Olympia Resort & Spaaaaa.

I intended an early start the next day. Check out time was no later than 12N.

Olympia Resort & Spa Rule #1 (of 13): Check-in time is 4pm.  Check out time is 12 noon.  (There will be *NO* late check-outs allowed.)  An automatic #30.00 per hour, late charge will be added to your room charges for late check-out."

And while we're on the subject:

Olympia Resort & Spa Rule #11 (of 13): The housekeeping department *must clean* rooms daily (hotel policy). All rooms must be available for cleaning and all privacy signs must be removed no later than 3pm each day.  Exceptions will not be made.  Anyone refusing service will be subject to penalty fees."

Friendly, huh? 

Well, every day I had called the front desk as I left my room to tell them it was available for housekeeping.  Every day they cleaned my clean room without comment so I didn't foresee any problems.



Monday morning I packed most of our things in the car (including Truman) & called the front desk to have my room inspected before I left.

Olympia Resort & Spa Rule #3 (of 13): "A $100.00 refundable dog deposit, per room, is required in case of damage or if deep cleaning becomes necessary.  All rooms will be inspected and a determination made as to whether the deposit will be returned within 72 hours.  If the deposit was by cash, we will be refunding the deposit by check within 10 working days.  Please be sure that the address we have on file is correct."

It took a 2nd call to make an inspection happen.  In my presence the housekeeping representative inspected. When she was finished, I asked her to report her findings to the front desk as I was checking out & wanted to make sure that if there was a problem, it was mine & not someone else's.  She did, sitting on the bed that Truman habituated every once in a while -- shhhhh, don't report me.  The housekeeping person identified herself to the front desk & told them that there was no problem with the room.  I thanked her & went downstairs to check out.

There was a young boy manning (pardon the pun) the front desk.  I explained my room had been inspected by housekeeping & I wanted to settle up. He confirmed that, indeed, housekeeping had inspected & had reported no problem.  He asked if I would be using AmEx & I said yes.  I told him I expected room-only charges on my bill as I had passed inspection & hadn't charged anything.  He said he wasn't authorized to agree to that but ran the card thru & printed a bill which I signed.  I told him the hotel now had no authority to charge anything further to my AmEx account & additional charges would be refused.  He asked me to wait & disappeared into the back office.

A perky young woman appeared. "I understand we have a situation here", she said.  "There  is no situation" I countered.  "I simply won't accept any further charges to my AmEx account as my room has been inspected & rcvd a clean bill of health."  Well all the rules are in writing & your dog wasn't crated in the room (they only knew that because I had been honest & told them I didn't bring a crate) so you will be penalized. "True, but there was no damage, was there?"  "We have everything in writing & you will be penalized for not having your dog crated in your room."

Ah, yes Olympia Resort & Spa Rule #5 (of 13):  Dogs must be crated when the owner is out of the room.  NO EXCEPTIONS.  Rooms without crates will be subject to penalty fees. Plastic is required under all crates in your room.  Please keep dogs off beds & sofas.

Well, the facts of the matter are that Truman was *NEVER* in the room alone -- I took him everywhere. And the matter of a penalty for not having a crate was handed to me @ the Olympia Resort & Spa, 1,000 miles from home.  The reservation confirmation letter I  rcvd made no reference to crating or  penalties. The excellent ABdFC planning guide that I rcvd before leaving did mention that "Plastic sheeting is required under your crates.  Damages to the room are the responsibility of the occupant, and must be settled with the hotel prior to departure [...]."  There was no mention of a penalty & I knew it was safe to accept the responsibility for any damages caused because there weren't going to be any.

So much for having it in writing. The young woman turned heel & started back to her office as I told her that I would see her in court before I would pay one additional penny to the Olympia Resort & Spa & that the hotel did not have my authority to charge anything further to my American Express account.

So I can report that the front desk was consistent.  Rude when I got there, rude when I left.  Everyone else couldn't have been any nicer.

The trip home was uneventful.  The Red Roof Inn in Strongsville, OH welcomed us back with open arms. We stopped along the way for a large Baskin Robbins jamoca-almond-fudge milkshake for me & a small vanilla cup for Truman.  We passed the highest point on Route 80 East (2230'above sea level) & arrived in Ridgefield, CT @ about 3pm the next day.

We had fun @ the Specialty.  It was well organized. The planning guide & web links about the area were helpful. Tourist attractions & msgs were posted. The graphics were great.  The notepads useful. Events started on time.  The site -- well, I'll never stay there again for any event.  I'd rather drive.

I had the opportunity to meet wonderful Bouv Folks from all over the country -- some with whom I've clashed.  Some with whom I've had a constructive relationship, many whose words of support & information & good works & caring about the Bouvier I've read about on these very "chat" lines, as Dottie Kent likes to call them.

People I met for the first time @ the specialty included:

Kathy Heilenman
Frank Dryfus (Big Dawg)
Pat Hagopian
Lee Lockhead
Nancy Swenson & her husband
Nancy Levenhagen
Karen Meyers
Nancy Eilks (specialty chairperson)
David Sheckler
Cor Valentijn
Arden & John Shaw
Dale Cuddy
Shelley Bowman
Gladys May
Mary Alice Bushey (Tucson Angel)
David & Sondra Reiser (BOB)
David & Susan Frye (NY Rescue)
Mary Kasher (WB) (only briefly)
John Reilly
Suzanne Simms
Brenda Simpson
Cathy Humphrey
Kathy Wise

People I got to see again included:

Chuck & Sue Conklin
Nicky & Maureen Patterson
Jan & Bob Litogot
Pat Murray
Joyce Lack & Tony
Cyndi Routledge
Sandi Lyons
John Sullivan
Nancy & Ken Almgren
Deborah Profant
Micky Rein

That made for a wonderful experience, well worth the time, money, aggravation & putting up with the Olympia Resort & Spa.  And for whatever my words are worth, I would heartily suggest attending & entering your Bouvier in the Annual Specialty because it is so much more than a dog show.  It's also a people show.  And seeing all those terrific Bouvs in one place -- well, it was like a flock of butterflies (a better analogy,Rosie dear?) -- truly amazing.

As a guest @ the annual mtg, I was excited to hear that the ABdFC is working it's way towards a Bouvier Health Foundation, that it's education committee was financing an informational ad in Dog Fancy where other's advertise without differentiation, that one woman's persistence caused a $92,000 grant to be awarded for the mapping of the SAS gene -- certainly a benefit to our Bouviers -- that so many puppy care pamphlets were being mailed out, that Dorothy Kent was finally retiring, that health tests would soon be required of the sires & dams of nominated futurity litters for OFA Cardiac & Hips (to include OVC, OFA or PennHip...prelims would not count) & one other of the following: elbows, CERF or glaucoma (12 mos or less to the breeding).

So for all of this I have Nancy Eilks & her colleagues to thank & I do that now....  again.  It was a tremendous accomplishment.

And so ends the saga of my adventures @ the 1999 ABdFC National Specialty sponsored by Iams.

Jan Rifkinson
Ridgefield, CT
ICQ 41116329

Advance pro-activity in defense of the Bouvier

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