always something to learn

by Sarah Burlingame, PDFC Show Chairman

I have been a member of Peninsula Dog Fanciers’ Club on and off since I was 12 years old, first as a Junior Member doing Ring Hospitality and “Go-for” work, then as a Ring Steward, and now as an Active Member, Secretary, Show Chairman, and Odds-and-Ends Person. I didn’t start showing dogs myself until I got Taylor, my now 6-year-old Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever (and I am still very much the novice). We have done Conformation here and there over the years, but we hope to add an American Championship to his name in addition to his Canadian Ch., and maybe a WC, RN, BN, and whatever else we can try!

All that to say… I have been in the show world for a long time, mostly behind the scenes. I have learned a great deal in the almost 20 (yikes!) years since I was a Junior Member, but this show year has reminded me that I still have a great deal to learn, both behind the scenes and in the ring!

I am a learner by nature–I love discovering new-to-me ideas, growing with my dog as we both master new skills, and building relationships with my mentors and sharing what knowledge and experience I have with others that are new to the game.

There have been many new exhibitors that have emailed the club recently with questions about showing their dogs, entering, and more. I don’t always have the answer, but I must admit that I get a little excited when I DO know the answer (or where to find it) and can share that with them. It shows me that I know more than I realize and I hope that I can share that knowledge in a way that gets them excited about joining our dog community, whether it is in Conformation, Obedience, Field, or any other venue.

I have also learned a lot in just the few short weeks since our entries closed. Our entries are down overall, as are most shows recently, but we still had major overloads in our Obedience trials on Saturday, something I’ve never had to deal with before. Obedience overloads are an even more confusing logic puzzle than Conformation overloads! We eventually got the classes ironed out, and hopefully all goes smoothly on Saturday for our judges and our exhibitors.

And now I can add another line to my long list of things I’ve learned… and yet know that there’s still so much more to go!

Only three more days until our 2014 show!! Have questions or want a tour of the show? Come find us at the Club Table in the Pavilion or wandering the show! And don’t forget to tag your Instagram show photos with #pdfcshow2014 this weekend!