Apparently the majority of those who read this blog have no idea how to navigate the steps necessary to leave a message in the comments area. I understand; the process confounds me, too. The responses I get directly to my email outnumber by at least 10 to 1 the comments left on the blog. From time to time one of those emailed comments strikes me as must-read for all those who are tuned in to this blog.
Such was the case when I heard from Judie Niece on February 15. Judie was responding to the well-documented case Andrea in Las Vegas had made about the cost of competition obedience participation. Judie started out to explain how the benefits of having your kids participate in AKC dog sports events can far outweigh the onerous costs of that participation. But before she was finished she also delivered a little piece of wisdom that way, way transcended dollars and cents. Here's Judie's message in its entirety.
There is an incentive to have your children participate in AKC events, and it far outweighs the cost of shows. My daughter Holly participated in AKC Junior Showmanship and conformation. She started at age 11 -- no classes. She observed professional handlers and put into practice what she saw in the ring. She placed several conformation titles on dogs that she handled for others. She also trained her Lab in obedience, earning a CD title, participated in hunt tests, had a registered therapy dog, and qualified for Westminster 2 times as a Junior Handler.
Her first introduction to a dog show was watching "mom" participate in one of her first obedience shows -- she was hooked! Not only do these juniors mature quickly, having to participate with adults, but those who participate in AKC events are also eligible to apply for AKC scholarships. Between her undergrad studies at(Arizona State University) and then her transfer to (Colorado State University) for vet school, she was awarded about $30,000 in scholarships. And your choice of majors has nothing to do with the award. Many recipients choose majors not having anything to do with the "dog world." Not too many weekend soccer warriors can say the same. And did I mention she was SO BUSY with the "dog world" that she never had time to get into any trouble. . . . just sayin' . . .
It happens that I was priviledged to have, literally, a ringside seat for the interaction Judie describes. Many were the times Judie and I competed in the obedience ring with our goldens -- Judie with Sandy, I with Honeybear. And we watched together as Holly heeled her Lab in the Novice ring.
A few weeks ago, at an obedience trial, I looked to my left and saw a young couple changing a diaper atop a crate. They were Holly (Niece) Tuttle DVM, her husband Bill and tiny daughter Brooke.
Another dog sports newbie on the way?