• Shannon

Do Whatever You Can’t Not Do

It is very important that whilst going through times rife with negativity, that you balance it out with positive things and thoughts.  One of the ways I did this was to concentrate on what I wanted for my future.  I needed to do something enjoyable.  Dogs were always part of my life and always in the plan for my future.  I’d tried for a long time toestablish a breeding program and in addition to it being an expensive and time-consuming undertaking, I’d not had very good luck.Someone once said that the sport of purebred dogs was built on the backs of the average Joe/Jenny that put every spare dime into their dogs, sparing no expense on feeding, grooming and training.  They spend weekends packing all their dogs and crates into their minivans (usually to the chagrin of their partners/spouses), driving all over creation, staying in hotels and getting up early for that 8 am ring time in the hopes of winning and bringing home a few points and a $.50 ribbon.

They weren’t kidding.

There is no shortage of wealthy folks in the sport.  There are many kennels with 50 or more dogs and teams of handlers.  But for many of us who don’t have access to much in the way of funds to put toward showing dogs, it’s a constant struggle to figure out how to get into and keep ourselves in the game.  It is not unlike any other sport, where evenings and weekends are spent at the gym, rink or football field honing the skills necessary to compete.  Sacrifices are made, trainers and lessons and equipment must be paid for and hours upon hours are spent for very little recognition, especially in the beginning.   Showing dogs is not much different.  You do it for the same reasons anyone participates in any sport–because you love it.  Because you can’t imagine yourself not doing it.

I’d scrimped and saved for a long time for my first show dog, a Rottweiler pup I’d purchased from a friend and fellow trainer.  I’d purchased her with the intent to show and make her my foundation bitch and after 2 years of training and a positive start to her show career, she fell into a hole and ruptured her cruciate ligament.  It was heartbreaking.  Her show career was over and any hopes for beginning a program of my own were gone.  It had been hard enough to convince my husband at the time that this was something I needed to do; that it was anything but a money-trap we couldn’t afford.  And as anyone who’s been around the world of purebred dogs for any length of time will tell you, there is no money in purebred dogs if you’re doing it right.

I had a baby over the course of that two year period and all the expenses that came along with that.  I’d taken quite a bit of flack for socking away the money I had to purchase that dog.  Trying to do it again after paying several hundred dollars to repair the injured leg just wasn’t going to happen.  So I pretty much gave up.   I continued to do rescue, but showing would not happen again for more than a decade.

I decided to get back into the ring with a small breed.   After a few years I purchased a lovely little Powderpuff Chinese Crested bitch and learned how to groom and show a small, coated breed.  After having large dogs for years, my foray into the world of small dogs was, in very kind terms, an unmitigated disaster.  The pup I’d purchased was a gorgeous specimen, yet she hated anything that had to do with showing, especially grooming.  With Powderpuffs, there’s a whole heck of a lot of grooming and coat care.  She would fight me the whole time.   She also had a fondness for pottying in her crate, which eventually took it’s toll on her coat.  That among other factors led me to the conclusion that I needed to get out of Cresteds and back into my comfort zone–a large, wash and wear breed.

I placed the Crested with my parents (where she thrives to this day and lives like a Princess) and began researching a breed I’d come across a few times throughout the years I had Rotties–The Cane Corso.   Many Rottweiler people I knew had made what seemed to be a natural progression to this breed.  Newly separated from my husband, the fact that they were a guarding breed was very appealing.  They were visually stunning as well, and their reputation for being very gentle with children was also a plus.  I’d been eyeballing the breed for a long time, but had not actually gotten my hands on one.  I settled on a breeder not far from me and made an appointment to go and view her dogs.

It would be the beginning of a very important journey and would catapult me headlong into doing exactly what I couldn’tnot do.

Photo property/courtesy of Love Frankie and Lola. Used with permission. http://www.etsy.com/shop/LoveFrankieAndLola

#dogshow #divorce #FrankieandLola #dreams #doingwhatyoulove #dogfancy

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