351 – Attitude of Gratitude at the Holidays
Attitude of Gratitude at the Holidays
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, blessed holy days, praise the universe for Winter Solstice and a joyous new year to one and all. As we celebrate the fourth Pure Dog Talk Christmas, I am focused on an Attitude of gratitude.
Gratitude to my listeners who encourage me, share the love, provide GREAT ideas and support the show financially through our Patrons program. I am so grateful that you all take the time to listen in to the incredible conversations I am so lucky to have. We surpassed a half million downloads on Thanksgiving day this year, on the three year anniversary of our debut episode. And our audience and listernership is growing by leaps and bounds every day. Please, continue to share the show, bring people to the table who might enjoy our “talks.” And, absolutely, give me your ideas. I can’t swear I’ll get to every single one immediately, but they are ALL on a LOOOOOONG list of great topics for upcoming shows.
Gratitude to my guests. I am not kidding when I say I am the luckiest girl alive. I get to talk to ALL of the coolest people in dogs. And, after 40 years of grooming, training, handling, now judging, I literally learn something from EVERY single episode. My guests give freely of their time, their experience, their accumulated DECADES of wisdom and offer YOU the listener an unbelievable platform on which to gather knowledge.
Gratitude to my sponsors. These corporations have made a conscious decision to reach out to the purebred dog community, to support us, our education, our goals, ambitions and dreams. Trupanion and, for the first time, (drumrollllll) announcing our brand new sponsor Embark, have committed not just money but dedication to the purebred dog fancier that is admirable, and entirely worthy of your business. I am a firm believer that we support those companies who support us. Without these amazing companies, Pure Dog Talk would not exist. And that’s a fact. Check out Trupanion’s Breeder Support program and breeding rider. Investigate Embark’s DNA genetic testing. I cannot say enough about Trupanion and Embark and their willingness to invest in YOUR future.
I MUST also shoutout to the Dog Show Superintendent’s Association which was the very FIRST supporter that stepped up and said “YES, Pure Dog Talk is exactly the type of education and mentorship program our sport needs. Here, let us help you.” ALWAYS remember to stop by the superintendent’s desk and give them a shout out for their support of Pure Dog Talk. Our advertisers and partners, from Show Dog Prep School to Leading Edge Dog Show Academy to local clubs, are also due my unending gratitude for their confidence in our platform.
Moving on, I am and we ALL should be offering our undying gratitude to the Breeders who came before us. We are, without exception, building on the shoulders of those who came before. In my own case, Ray and Lyn Calkins, Cascade Wirehairs, Mildred Revell, Weidenhugel Wirehairs, Bernee Brawn, Justa GWP, Silke Alberts Cadenberg GWP, and the additional mentors who took the time to help me like GWPCA founding member Genevieve Capstaff, Pat Laurans, Joy Brewster, Judy Cheshire, Laura Myles, Doug Ljungren and many more. If you haven’t done it already, make that same list. Send them a little note this Christmas and say thank you. Thank you for the help, the guidance, the information, the direction, the encouragement, the criticism and the hard work YOU have done to bring the breed to the place it is today.
We NEED Dog Breeders
So, now my stump speech…. When my family & I got involved in purebred dogs 40+ years ago, the dog show was chock a block with, you guessed it, dog breeders. Today, dog breeders at the dog show are phantoms, rarely seen. Today, we have exhibitors. And Exhibitors, dog owners, are HUGELY important. BUT, and yes, there is a BUT. We NEED dog Breeders!!!! The Sport desperately needs good breeders of good dogs in order for it to continue to thrive. Please contemplate that instead of adding a platinum grand champion to your bitch, instead you visit with a breeder or mentor in your breed and consider breeding a litter of healthy, well adjusted, beautiful companions for the world to see, of creating a future family of dogs that will bring love and joy to their families for decades to come.
Spirit of Christmas
Meanwhile, I encourage everyone out there in listener land, of any religion or lack thereof, to Carry the Christmas spirit into the new decade … giving, gratitude, welcoming, joy, peace and goodwill to all
Encourage a new person. Sell them a good dog. Encourage them to breed it with your mentoring. Remember, when we give with a full heart, we expect nothing in return. So when that stunning show puppy from that incredibly special litter is spay against your contract, stop eating your heart out. You sold that puppy, but you gave the gift of love for a lifetime. Be glad you were able to do that.
To the new person, be *grateful* for the hard work and dedication of years and generations that went before. RESPECT…. Try really hard to decide you don’t know everything in the first five minutes. Understand that the judge, the other exhibitors, professional and amateur, know more than you do. And maybe, just maybe, this isn’t an exercise in political bs as your best friend keeps trying to tell you. Maybe you do just need a better dog, or a better grooming, conditioning or handling protocol. Maybe, JUST maybe, it’s better to be QUIET and watch, listen and learn before proclaiming the madness of it all.
Every year at the holidays, we welcome friends and family to our home to celebrate. Try not to emulate the mean girls clique in high school. Ditch the resting bitch face. This is not world peace or finding a cure for cancer. It’s a freaking dog show. We ask for an opinion, we receive said opinion. The rest is on you. Build a network, grow outside your breed, invite the new kid to sit at the cool kids’ table. Handler friends, if you see a new person struggling, help them. If you see a young handler taking on too much weight before they’re ready, offer to mentor them… what’s the worst that can happen? They say no?? you have lost nothing. And perhaps planted a seed. I count myself amongst the worst offender in this. I worked hard to get where I was and had grand opinions that everyone else should do the same… While I was quick to help a new person in my breed or an OH in another breed, I was far too judgy about new folks coming up in the handler ranks who weren’t “raised right” as apprentices. Just like new breeders, they need help, not to be ostracized…. All that accomplishes, is to send them off to folks who won’t teach them well. The good lord knows, there have been efforts that were shunned. So be it. At least we tried.
Remember the joy you had with your very first ribbon. Share that joy. Help other people find that joy. Growing our sport is a job for every single one of us. If you want to have a job or a fun thing to do, get over your happy selves and just freaking be nice. Not everyone is as experienced, in tune or clever as you are. Railing at them for some imagined slight is a sure bet to send them packing and that’s one less potential dog breeder to grow this arena. I’m looking at a WHOLE lot of you folks. Handlers and owners alike.
Peace and Goodwill to All
Whether they are your competition, your judge, your club members or the show officials. Give the officiousness and turf battles a rest. For the love of DOG, people, please! If the new person in your club suggests reinventing the wheel for the 9 millionth time in your experience… OK! Maybe this person has a great new idea! OR, maybe they don’t. Either way, give them some room to run and you might be surprised. While I always recommend having a backup plan in case someone finds out there is work involved, not just glory, how are you worse off? Go to plan B and forge ahead. We get ourselves so worked into knots, and I speak as someone who has done just such a thing, that we lose sight of the bigger picture.
Finally, let’s all strive to be not just breeders of champions, but champions of breeders.
And this means ALL breeders. Including ones who don’t do it *exactly* to your specifications… <insert eyeroll here>…. While I am the last to encourage subpar breeders, I recognize that you and me and Bobby McGee over there aren’t going to provide all 9 million replacement dogs sought by the public each year. So, again, get over your happy azz and help improve the results of commercial breeders. Educate BYB folks. Encourage them (preferably NOT from the top of your ivory tower) to at least health test their dogs. The next time some rando calls and asks for stud service you surely won’t provide, instead of ignoring it or being a snitty jerk, engage them. Ask questions. Provide education and information about what’s important in your breed. Yes. It takes time. Yes, it can feel as if you’re having a root canal w/o sedation. But guess what. You signed up for it the first day your dog won a ribbon and you became hooked.
SHARE that joy and ENCOURAGE new breeders. There’s no saying that newbie you are choking on talking to won’t get the idea, move forward and become a top breeder. FGS, YOU didn’t all start at the top. Every one of us started *somewhere*…. Be that starting point for someone else. It is the very BEST holiday gift you can give, to yourself, to that new person and to purebred dogs.
And so, as Tiny Tim said, “A Merry Christmas to us all; God bless us, every one!”
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER — FRANCIS BACON
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