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By:Jan Rifkinson
Date: October '99


Title1999 Bouvier Specialty

Obedience, Futurity, Sweepstakes

Thursday was an in between day for us.  There were fewer convenient parking spaces & Truman's bathroom runs were made more complicated by all the new smells that had arrived overnight.  Can't say that I blame him, though.  And anyone who saw me realized that walking to a less convenient parking space could only be a benefit in terms of the extra weight I was carrying around my midriff.

Obedience, sweepstakes, & futurity took place simultaneously if I remember correctly & right next to each other.  Low fences separated these events & for some dogs in obedience, what was happening "next door" was a delicious diversion.

The judge seemed like a very nice guy making sure everyone *really* had a chance to demonstrate what their Bouvs could do.  On a couple of occasions he gently moved the Bouv into the right position.  He seemed genuinely & equally interested in everyone.

There were two distinct obedience trials although I can't tell you what they were by name.

In one test, the Bouv was asked to walk in heel position around the ring @ the judges command, i.e. forward, right turn, stop, speed up, slow down, left turn, etc.  The Bouv was asked to heel in figure 8's between strangers standing in the ring.  Then retrieve a dumbbell on command with the dumbbell in sight, i.e. trainer with Bouv in sitting position @ their side throw dumbbell across the ring.  On command, dog retrieves dumbbell, gives it to trainer, walks around & sits in the proper position next to trainer.  Next is a retrieve with the dumbbell out of sight, i.e. a barrier is placed in the middle of the ring.  Bouv sits next to trainer while dumbbell is placed on the other side of the barrier out of sight.  On command, the Bouv jumps the barrier, retrieves the dumbbell, jumps over the barrier again, gives it to the trainer, walks around & sits in the proper position next to the trainer (or maybe that was part of the more advanced test).

There was some Bouv humor at work here much to the chagrin of their owners/trainers.  "Oh, I think I'll watch that little bitch prancing around in the next ring. Hmmmmmm, who is that over there in the corner?  This dumbbell -- you want me to pick up *this* dumbbell after it's been sitting on the floor for a while?  Wait a minute, I jumped this thing one way; maybe I'll walk around it on my way back.  Hi there. I smelled you out in the permitted "exercise area".   It was you, wasn't it?  How about a quickie?  I've only got a few seconds before they come to get me."

Just ask poor John Reilly.

The next test involved long sits & downs with the owner/trainer out of the room & some of us had a good chuckle watching the slithering, crawling, inching that some of these wonderful Bouvs managed while kinda keeping to the program.  But then there were the other extremes -- those that sat, downed without moving as much as a muscle for the allotted test time & those that decided to get up & stretch, check out a few things while the judge gently moved them back to their assigned spots.

For me the event was an amusing, sometimes down right comical & humiliating testament to the Bouvier personality but that made me all the more impressed by the obvious time, patience & hard work I knew it had to take for me to be able to see all those Bouvs out there making the attempt to do what was expected of them.  I had hoped that Truman might be equally impressed & then further inspired but noooooooo.  By this time he was sitting in the car so as not to disturb the contestants with his myriad vocalizations.

An I'm Special pup won the futurity.

What I hadn't noticed until after I returned & I'm sorry I missed, was a free health seminar on eye problems conduced by a Dr. James Schoester.  I don't know if it was very informative but any information on the subject has just got to be good & I'd love to hear from someone who attended who could pass on what they learned there.

Dinner that night was late & @ a little restaurant at the train station.  The highlight, besides the company, was when the train flew by
the large picture windows facing the track.  I guess that was the real entertainment because the food wasn't.  When they flashed the lights on & off in the room where we sat, we figured it was time to go.  Subtle, huh?

Friday's confirmation for regular dogs & bitches, the house on the rock & the ABdFC@#$@#($W$*&* annual meeting loomed for the morrow.

click below for
Specialty Diary - Friday


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