509 — 12-Steps to a Happier You in the Dog Fancy

Wishing everyone the gladness of Christmas, which is hope; the spirit of Christmas, which is peace; the heart of Christmas, which is love.

12-Steps to a Happier You in the Dog Fancy

I don’t know about you, but this holiday season I just haven’t had the vibe. I’ve honestly tried. But, all my magic spells for maintaining a positive attitude have been, at best, modestly successful. Even a week at the ocean didn’t cure me this time and that’s my solid go to.

Pretty sure I don’t have to run the litany we all know too well about the “why”. It’s just plain been a rough couple years. The global psyche is literally bruised and battered. Peace on Earth and goodwill to mankind seem like quaint notions of a bygone era. These notions could just as easily apply to the Ming Dynasty for all of their relevance in our world today.

What we all need is a 12-step program for happiness… Fortunately, I have just the thing! Lol

I wrote the following in 2015 for the now-defunct Best In Show Daily online mag back when I was a weekly columnist there.

These steps apply to our dog event world specifically, but can be generalized to daily life without much trouble in three simple rules. Just be nice. Get off your bleeping phone. Learn new things.

I may or may not have included this ditty in a previous episode, but if so, even I can’t find it! Lol

12-Steps to a Happier You in the Dog Fancy

January: Say “Congratulations” to the winner or “Thank You” to those who congratulate you. Yes, every time. Yes, even when the winner is your most bitter enemy, actually, especially then.

February: Watch one breed, other than your own, from start to finish, at every dog show you attend.

March: Instill and enforce the “first to look at their phone during dinner pays for everyone” rule each time you go out to eat, whether at a dog show, with co-workers or family. Experience the miracle of direct human interaction.

April: Seek out a club official — show chair, chief ring steward, hospitality chair, etc — at each dog show you attend and thank them, personally, for their hard work and compliment them on a specific piece of the show which you particularly liked. Resist the urge to complain about anything.

May: Volunteer to help at one show. Even if it is an hour of ring stewarding, helping with clean up or set up, judging a fun match, simply restocking the candy dishes or picking up someone else’s poopie. Do one thing for a club for no better reason than you can.

June: Help someone new. It could be as simple as assisting someone with an armband. Maybe a promising youngster with a new puppy shows up and would welcome five minutes of *kind* and constructive direction. It is important here to understand the concept of help. Focus on the positive. Just be nice.

July: Organize a potluck. Get a whole bunch of people together at someone’s RV or grooming space, even invite someone you don’t know well, break bread together. Laugh. Tell stories. Talk dogs. If there is a water balloon fight somewhere in the mix, this cannot be a bad thing. Remember, we’re still carrying each month’s goal forward, so March’s “no phone” rule applies. By now, it should be ingrained and much easier to implement.

August: Read the standard for a breed about which you know nothing. Then, at the next show, while continuing your February goal of watching a new breed, go find the breed you read about. See if you can apply elements of the standard to dogs in the ring.

September: Go back to school … In your own breed. Re-read your breed standard. Memorize it. Commit the entire standard to memory so thoroughly that you can quote entire sections verbatim. Then pull a random dog out of your pack, stack him up and go over him piece by piece according to the standard. Try very, very hard to be objective and not make excuses. Simply see what’s there and what isn’t.

October: Take the skeletons out of your closet. Look at them in the cold light of day. Whether as a breeder, handler, exhibitor or judge, take a look at your past mistakes, acknowledge them, then burn them at the stake and move on!

November: Talk turkey. Get off the internet blogs and approach a more experienced person about a question in your breeding program, grooming routine, handling skill set, whatever. Talk to them in person. Invite them to lunch or drinks. Do not expect miraculous secrets, but acknowledge and respect someone outside your comfort zone. You learn something new every day!

December: Give the gift of your time and energy to a local animal shelter, rescue group or other doggie emergency support system.

This 12-step program is guaranteed to bring enhanced enjoyment, satisfaction, curiosity, knowledge, camaraderie and success to anyone’s dog show calendar. Make the New Year the best ever!

I’m off to cook a simple Christmas Dinner for two, snuggle some dogs and curl up for a long winter’s nap.

Wishing everyone the gladness of Christmas, which is hope;

the spirit of Christmas, which is peace;

the heart of Christmas, which is love.

PureDogTalk’s ORIGINAL 12 days of Christmas…

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, a puppy in a sherpa bag…

(Caveat, never give a puppy for a Christmas present!)

On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, two towel rolls for my puppy in a sherpa bag…

On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, three air fresh’ners, two towel rolls for my puppy in a sherpa bag…

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me four show collars, three air fresh’ners, two towel rolls for my puppy in a sherpa bag…

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, five cooooover ads… four show collars, three air fresh’ners, two towel rolls for my puppy in a sherpa bag…

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, six Sprinter tires, five cooooover ads… four show collars, three air fresh’ners, two towel rolls for my puppy in a sherpa bag…

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, seven shiny suits, six Sprinter tires, five cooooover ads… four show collars, three air fresh’ners, two towel rolls for my puppy in a sherpa bag…

On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, eight sensible shoes, seven shiny suits, six Sprinter tires, five cooooover ads… four show collars, three air fresh’ners, two towel rolls for my puppy in a sherpa bag…

On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, nine doggies dancing, eight sensible shoes, seven shiny suits, six Sprinter tires, five cooooover ads… four show collars, three air fresh’ners, two towel rolls for my puppy in a sherpa bag…

On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, ten tongues a wagging, nine doggies dancing, eight sensible shoes, seven shiny suits, six Sprinter tires, five cooooover ads… four show collars, three air fresh’ners, two towel rolls for my puppy in a sherpa bag…

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, eleven puppies squalling, ten tongues a wagging, nine doggies dancing, eight sensible shoes, seven shiny suits, six Sprinter tires, five cooooover ads… four show collars, three air fresh’ners, two towel rolls for my puppy in a sherpa bag…

And, on the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, twelve friendly judges, eleven puppies squalling, ten tongues a wagging, nine doggies dancing, eight sensible shoes, seven shiny suits, six Sprinter tires, five cooooover ads… four show collars, three air fresh’ners, two towel rolls for my puppy in a sherpa bag…

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER — FRANCIS BACON

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