Rodeo at the National Specialty

It’s the 2014 National Whippet Specialty. It’s a place to go to WIN, but it’s also an environment to see and be seen and have an opportunity to do something a bit different. Sara had talked me into entering the extended generation class. Stewart as grandpa, Norris as son and Retro as grandson. As I thought about this class, I thought how nice it would be to just sit and watch these dogs of my breeding being presented by others and simply get a chance to look at them.

Weeks in advance it was arranged that Sandy would take Stewart, who typically shows better for someone else because when he’s with me, his head is invariably cranked towards me. Sara would be on Norris and Kathie would take Retro. Retro is extremely laid back and easily goes with others. The biggest problem with Retro is that he is so casual about life at times it’s hard to wake him up enough to sparkle in the ring. But, Kathie has been around him many times and he is a willing partner with a different handler.

As a prelude to the extended generation, Norris had been shown in the stud dog class with Retro and Juno and didn’t make the cut. That being the case, we were pretty sure we would only be occupying space and supporting the entry in the extended generation class, since the judge already didn’t like us. That was OK, since I really wanted to see them all presented well and simply get to enjoy the moment as an observer.

So it begins – the judge likes to see movement and always has the group of dogs do two full circles around the ring. Stewart and Norris step out and gait beautifully for Sandy and Sara. Out of the blue and right from his first step on the go around Retro turns into a bucking bronco. Two full circles of the ring with him doing butt spins, alternating with actual bucking – front end goes down, rear end up, kicks and repeat. He’s not scared or panicked, he is just gone goofy. I’ve never seen even a baby puppy in the ring with this collection of moves. He’s acting like he’s on doggie catnip. Kathie does her best, stopping completely at one point to get him under control but her efforts go unnoticed by Retro.

Retro, poster boy for slug of the month, is completely out of control. Of course, only at a national. I can see this is going absolutely nowhere, so to stop the carnage, I wave Kathie (convulsed with the laughter) over to the ring barrier. Without even checking with the ring steward, I step over the barrier and take Retro’s arm band.

Kathie tells me that when she commented on me wanting to watch, I quietly said “I’ve seen enough”. I maintain that I was more polite than that, but that’s what she tells me.

We take a rousing third place out of three. I can’t say for sure the judge had a look of utter disgust on her face with us, but I don’t know her that well….

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