Top Notch Toys September 2018


D id you know that more than 80 percent of show dogs are handled by their owners? Without owner- handlers, the fancy wouldn’t be what it is today. Now is a good time for us to celebrate and thank each of our owner-handlers. The success of our shows is the result of their dedication and hard work. Did you know there are approximately 22,000 AKC events held each year? La- dies and gentleman, our sport is grow- ing—and it’s not slowing down. One of the big reasons for this growth is the intro- duction of the National Owner-Handled Series. Since its introduction a little more than five years ago, this competition has helped the fancy to grow year after year. So, let’s be sure to thank the clubs that have offered this series as well as those that are looking to introduce it as part of their show weekend. The more clubs that offer the series, the better it will be for our sport. Show chairs, please remember that what’s good for the fancy is good for your club as well. I remember when the National Owner- Handled Series was introduced. Almost everyone thought it wasn’t going to be special. Some even thought that it was a second-tier competition. But with a positive attitude, a willing- ness to accept change and, most impor- tantly, a lot of hard work, the series has

become a success and the number of owner-handlers overall has skyrocketed. The National Owner-Handled Series is a reminder that there are many reasons to exhibit your “perfect” dog, not just for the ratings systems and winning at all costs. We do have to thank the American Ken- nel Club for instituting the series and for listening to you. They’ve been working hard making improvements for the better. Yes, there is long way to go. But everything takes time and refinements are sure to be made toward perfecting the point sys- tem, making the event more prestigious and getting more clubs involved. As they say, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” If our attitude remains positive, we can ignore the trouble-makers and bring a smile back to dog shows. If we have the will to work hard to make things better, we can achieve anything. Why did I mention trouble-makers and the negative crowd? Well, because there aren’t as many of them as youmight think. Over 98 percent of the people in our sport are amazing, positive people who want the sport to thrive. But then you have that two percent who just don’t share the same goals as the positive peoplewhowant to be happy, enjoy the dogs and make dog shows a perfect weekend getaway—a vacation! So, why do a lot of people think that the sport is hurting? Simple answer: Man, oh man, that two percent is loud and the

98 percent is often too quiet. The reality is that every community has positive and negative people, mean people and nice people, liars and honest people. This is true for our sport too. But most of us can agree to work together by being positive, motivational and loving. Together, we can continue to celebrate the sport. Let’s take this opportunity to focus on building our community, continuing to support one another and welcoming new dog owners into our sport. I would like to apologize for getting side- tracked a bit, because this was supposed to be a 300 to 500-word message just about owner-handlers. But while lay- ing down in my living room typing this message, my emotions led me elsewhere. We all deserve to be thanked. From the AKC to the professional handler, breeder, judge, photographer, groomer, supportive husband and wife and, of course, the own- er-handler, let’s celebrate one another by saying, “Thank you.” Live, Laugh, Love and Exhibit all of those Perfect Dogs!


16 • T op N otch T oys , S eptember 2018

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