Hard to believe it's been a full year since the Bichon Frise National Specialty (which I call Bichonicon) but here we are, down in Indianapolis at the same hotel where, at the 2005 Nationals (also in Indianapolis), we picked up the 12-week-old QBit. QBit had no particular desire to be stuck in a crate for four days, so we handed him off (along with packmate Jack) to a cozy kennel in Wauconda until we get back. We're showing Aero again this year, and Dash is making his first ring appearance at the nationals.
It's a smaller show than last year for some reason, but there are still well over a hundred white dogs here, all of which (especially after show grooming) look pretty much alike. Carol spent a good part of today washing, drying, brushing, and tipping Dash (trimming loose ends, which are legion) while listening to the critique of seasoned bichon groomers like Lorrie Carlton of Belle Creek Bichons. (Above, with Carol and Dash.) Dash came out of the process looking pretty damned good, and when he hit the ring for 10-12 month Puppy Dog Sweepstakes mid-afternoon, he took fourth place in his category. That sounds so-so, but these are the nationals--and the handlers who placed first through third in the category are among the superstars in the bichon world: Lorrie Carlton, Lisa Bettis, and Paul Flores. For an amateur handler like Carol to take fourth place against competition like that was something of a coup, especially since Dash was a little tired after all the preparations and didn't hold his head up as proudly as he usually does.
It's now 7 PM here, and Carol is down in the grooming area brushing the recently bathed Aero, who sat out today's events but will be competing in the Amateur Owner/Handler category tomorrow morning. Dash is sacked out in his cushy crate and I'm looking forward to a good night's sleep myself. Dog shows are a lot more aerobic than I would have expected--but then again, so were silk screening and telescope making. More tomorrow.