Saturday, August 23, 2014

Judge Not - Lest Ye Look Stupid

Judge Not – Lest Ye Look Stupid

That quote is not exactly from the Bible, but it may come from the Dinosaur’s journal.  We all have been guilty at times of coming to conclusions without sufficient insight into why people do what they do.  In the dog game the target is most often the dog show judge and exhibitors often question the validity of the judge’s expertise particularly when they don’t fare well at a show.  It’s amazing how smart some judges are when they finally see the light and put our dogs up for a good win.

In my years as an exhibitor there were judges who put my dogs up with some regularity and some that I just couldn’t win under at all.  It was easy to question their eyesight, lack of integrity or jealousy because I beat them at another show.  Bottom line was that as my dogs became more competitive and I became more adept at training and grooming, I won more.  Some judges may have not liked my type of Collie and some may not have liked me, but you just save your money and don’t show there.

If you stay with the dog game long enough you will win some when you don’t know how it happened and lose some for the same reason.  Years ago at two specialties in Ohio there were two very different results.  The first day my bitch entry took Winners and a five point major over the Winners Bitch at the National.  My special, who was sire of the Winners Bitch, defeated the Best of Breed at the National.  Now both my exhibits were good Collies, but in my opinion, not that good.  No, I did not refuse the awards.

The second day the winners at the National (which I had judged) took Winners Bitch and the National BB took the Best of Breed.  So you ask was I happy?  The answer is that I was happy for two good deserving winners, but not so happy with some of the judging earlier.  It can get very confusing and both judges had put me up before and would put me up again, so it was a matter of you pay your money and take your chances.  When you’ve judged for a while (over forty years for me) you find that sometimes you can’t put up something you really like because it’s not in top shape, isn’t moving or showing well, or just happened to encounter a better one on that day.
In October I look forward to doing the CC of Nebraska’s 100th Specialty.  No I was not there for the first one, but have judged there on several occasions.  It was a great favorite of mine, because  I got to visit with Steve Field who was and is a legend in the breeding of purebred Collies.  The last time I judged there Steve was in a nursing home and our visit was still rewarding.  He passed away not long after that, but the memories linger.

As mentioned in a previous blog, I hope to see some good Collies though it is early in the season for coats.  It would be nice not to have to excuse any for makeup, but my white handkerchief will be at the ready.  Illness and injury and an aversion to airline travel have had me grounded recently, but the dogs continue to beckon.

Read a recent article in Collie Expressions regarding Collie rescue.  Various groups have done great work for our breed over the years.  Many problems develop because people have too many dogs and just can’t properly care for them.  Often the problem stems from so called “breeders” who can’t select what they should keep or can’t do it at a reasonable age so they keep most of the litter.  They seem to be afraid to let a good one go elsewhere.  These folks probably shouldn’t be breeding at all in my opinion.  The fiasco from Alaska and the boondoggle in Tennessee are classic examples of too many dogs and rescue groups and just Collie people saved the day.

While I admire anyone who steps up to help Collies in distress, sometimes you encounter some weird criteria.  Over the years we have twice been found unacceptable to adopt Collies that were trying to find a home.  We have adopted several with no problem, but their reasons reminded us that being impossibly judgmental can defeat the basic purpose of finding a dog a good home.  The first case was a bitch in a foster home that would not release her because we don’t let dogs on the furniture.  The second case recently was due to our having an intact six year old male who has never and will never be bred. Since our bitches are all spayed, there was no reason to expose him to unneeded surgery.  In sixty five years in Collies I have never seen a case of testicular cancer and this dog does not run loose ever!

We need guidelines in dog shows and we need guidelines in finding suitable homes for dogs.  You don’t fake color on dogs in dog shows and you don’t adopt out a dog to an unfenced yard or someone without a vet recommendation.  Reasonable guidelines are the result of legitimate needs. Unreasonable expectations are often the result of bureaucratic muscle flexing which defeats the intended purpose.

Think about it!!

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