Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Why I'm turning into a mall rat

Okay, really, how hard can it be to show a dog in the breed ring?

Jamie and I have pretty much mastered gaiting-that-is-not-heeling. He’s gotten much better at free stacking (at least I can get his front feet square, dunno about his hind end and not too concerned) and he’s much more patient about waiting for the cookie to be delivered instead of lunging for it.

He’s not the problem.

I am the problem.

Imagine that.

More specifically, my wardrobe is the problem.

In the last couple of years, I’ve attended several funerals (including my father’s), a family wedding, multiple graduations and anniversary celebrations. Not once did I look in my closet and declare, “I have nothing to wear. I must go shopping.”

But within minutes of mailing Jamie’s veterans sweeps entry I was having wardrobe angst.

I’ve never been much of a fashionista. No surprise there. As long as my clothes are clean and comfortable and my dog can see my arm movements for doing Utility signals, I’m good to go.

My friend, SHERYL MCCORMICK, who talked me into this said sweeps was no big deal. Don’t worry, she said, just wear what you’d wear to show in obedience.

I gave her The Look. I’ve seen people in the breed ring. They dress nicer than I do for church. My obedience attire was not going to transfer across the rings.

Okay, she said, on second thought, you’re gonna need to shop.

I work with a gal who did a lot of breed handling before kids and family sent her life in a different direction. She gave me a list of “do not’s” when it came to dressing the part. Most of her advice consisted of ways to avoid fashion faux pas of the show set. (Seriously, obedience people never think about this stuff. We never get beyond obsessing about our dogs’ training issues, let alone our own clothing issues.)

Another friend’s college age daughter, a veteran breed handler, offered to take me shopping. I probably should have taken her up on it. It would have been an adventure. Kaitlyn is willow thin and very stylish. I suspect we do not shop in the same stores.

So I shopped by myself. I had a vision. I already had a pair of nice black dressy jeans. I had nice black loafers. I bought a new black belt. I bought a lovely dark teal long-sleeved very dressy blouse. Gold hoop earrings, a bit of breed jewelry and I was set. My vision was complete.

Then I checked the forecast. Highs in the 90s with blazing sunshine the week before the show, dropping to the upper 80s on the day of Jamie’s breed ring debut. With me in black jeans and a long-sleeved shirt. Showing outdoors on a sun-baked prairie with no shade. Now I was having visions of being carted away by paramedics.

I went back to the mall.

Now I’m on Vision #2. Dressy brown/taupe/cappucino/mushroom pants with a short-sleeved, multi-hued teal blouse (I like teal, can ya tell?). Brown loafers. Brown belt. Gorgeous Big Red Dog.

Saturday had better get here fast. My Master Card can’t take much more of this breed ring stuff.


  1. I am getting so excited and I'm not even entered! This weekend can't come fast enough!!

  2. At the Gordon Setter National, people dress in cocktail attire for Veterans Sweeps. But I don't want to put you in a tizzy thinking about that !!!!

  3. Goodwill, Thrift Shops, those are the places you need to look. You can find stuff with the original price tags on them! And your Mastercard will love you!