The show portion of the Bichon Frise National Specialty 2010 finished out today, and I'll take a break from cleaning up and packing (which includes washing all the dog towels we brought) to summarize.
I made a McDonald's run for the gang this morning at oh-dark-30, all the while that Carol and our friends were furiously brushing and tipping down in the grooming area. Both Aero and Dash were showing today, so I got a chance to put on my best suit and parade our puppy around the ring. Dash doesn't like leashes, but he held his head up a little better today, and picked up Fourth Place in Open Puppy Dog 10-12 Months, out of a field of nine, again including most of the Bichon Powers. (Bogglingly, we beat a couple of nationally known handlers and their dogs.) Carol says that I'm picking up the dog handling thing pretty well, and although I could smell myself sweat, the judge evidently liked what she saw.
Carol handled Aero in Amateur Owner/Handler, and although it was a small category, she took First Place, just as she did last year. Aero is a very good dog, and few dogs that good are handled by their owners. (Most show dogs of Aero's quality are owned by wealthy people who hire professional handlers to take them around the country and show them.) Ordinarily, being a champion would disqualify Aero for any category except Best of Breed, but since we entered Aero in the show before he completed his championship, he got to stay in the category. Carol and Aero did not place in later rounds, but considering who we were up against, that isn't really surprising.
So we're taking home three ribbons this year: Two Fourth Places for Dash, and one First Place for Aero. Overall a fine showing, and we're lookiung forward to the big Colorado Springs show in June, where Dash has his first serious shot at a major win. We've decided to spend another night here for reasons of simple exhaustion, which was fortunate because there's a tornado watch in force for most of our path back to Chicago. (By tomorrow morning all that should have passed on over Ohio.) As the bichon crowd leaves the hotel, other groups are filtering in (including a hot-air balloon convention) and we've begun hearing an old line that curdles any bichon person's blood: "Look at the pretty poodles!" Yup. Time to go home.