My name is Annie the Afghan I am 3 years old. I just came across your last two blogs and after reading the insightful advice you gave to Bunty and Jack I was hoping you would be able to help me out.
My problem is as follows:
Doris I have been feeling very anxious lately and nervous, it all came about a week ago when my humans told me that I would be exhibiting at the world’s biggest dog show called Crufts.
It’s the fear of the un-known Doris that has me so worried. I am a show girl true & true as I attend a lot of shows in Ireland but I have never been to another country never mind the biggest dog show in the world that just happens to be in another country ! Now, the humans are all excited about what they are calling a “Road Trip” even though there is a boat journey involved. I have never even been on a boat ! It’s a lot for me to take in, I don’t know if I am ready or able for this big challenge so early in my career. I feel so confused it is all I can think about at present it is consuming my every thought. Yesterday I even had a runny poo !!
Now don’t get me wrong I enjoying showing and I win a lot and even when I lose (It does happen) I still gets lots of love and hugs from my humans. When my show lead is placed around my neck I know it’s show time. I strut my stuff and girl do I feel like a Queen when I am walking around the ring.
I know it’s not for every dog though, but I do enjoy showing off and all the attention I do receive. I am groomed to perfection as I have a lovely long coat which needs to be brushed on a regular basis to keep me looking so good. It’s a wonder they don’t put me forward for those ads on the square box the humans look at each night. I may be biased but my coat is far more glossier than the skinny women’s on the hair care ads. It’s all to do with the good diet I am on but even still it takes a long time to groom my coat for the shows, and when I look good on the outside I also feel fantastic on the inside.
As I said earlier I have only attended shows in Ireland and a lot of the times I attend venues where I have been before and I feel relaxed and comfortable as I know the surroundings & I also get to meet some friends that I have met along the way. But this show is across the water in England & from what I am hearing it seems to be like nothing I have ever gone to before. There will be thousands of dogs from all around the world that have brought along their humans, some breeds I have never even seen in the flesh & I have only seen pictures of them in those magazines that get delivered by the nasty human that comes to the front door every morning and interrupts my mid morning nap.
All of this and to make matters worse, this show will be on the square box and beamed live around the world
I am worried Doris that I am not up to the challenge that awaits me this week, this is bigger than anything I have ever participated in before.
What if I don’t show well ?
What if I get nervous from all the crowds and all the noise ?
What if I have a runny poo !!
Will my humans be mad at me, will they still love me like they do now if I don’t strut my stuff like they know I can ?
Is there life after Crufts ?
I am at my wits end Doris, thanks for listening.
Great to hear from you, even if it is under the current circumstances.
You have made the first step in getting the better of your fears, as even by sitting at the keyboard and sending your email to me, you are already on the road to recovery, a problem shared is a problem halved.
Annie as you will know after reading the advice I gave to Jack the Lab, being 12 human years old, I am constantly fighting back the ravages of time, and even though I look fantastic for my age, I have to be realistic and realize that times waits for no dog. It might be hard for you to imagine but I too was quite the looker when I was your age.
The fact is that one day when I was rooting around in an old shoe box, (one of my favourite pastimes – rooting that is) I discovered that my humans originally had the intention of showing me shortly after I had accepted them. Now I came with all the relevant bits of paper, and could melt the heart of anyone that made eye contact with me (remember I’m a Dachshund), but the show dog life just wasn’t for me.
We all have standards in this life, I’ve heard that some of our relatives will drink from a lavatory (YUK !) and from what I gather when we model for our humans, the leader in the centre of the show ring is judging us against some kind of standard. That’s what it’s supposed to be about anyhow, but humans will be humans and all kinds of other things come into play.
Now from what I can gather, I didn’t completely tick all the boxes when it came to matching this standard, something to do with my funny feet and what they considered to be my peculiar personality..C’mon I wasn’t going to let a complete stranger of a human get up close & personal with me, placing their hands in places that I only reserve for the special ones. Having said all this I knew I was perfect, and so did my humans as I’ve wanted for nothing, and am enjoying life to the fullest.
Now to you Annie, you seem to have found your true vocation. I can only imagine you gaiting around the show ring with your fine coat flowing around you.
Firstly let me say that having qualified for Crufts, the biggest dog show in the world, you have every right to be there, as qualifying in itself is a major achievement, and something that you should be very proud of.
My advice Annie, is to approach this show with the same go get them attitude that you approach all of the other shows you bring your humans to. You have put in all the hard work, standing still for hours whilst having your humans groom you to perfection. All the long walks on the roads have got you and you humans in great shape, now it’s time to enjoy yourself.
I know you Afghans are fun girls to be around, so even if the size of this show is something you have never experienced before, go have some fun, that’s what these dog shows should all be about anyhow.
Now I’ve never been to Crufts, and to tell you the truth have never been on a boat either, but from what I am hearing from you, you are more than capable of taking this new experience in your stride. Whilst watching the square box last year in between napping in front of the fire, there seems to be so much more going on at Crufts besides the dog showing side of things. Dogs running over obstacle courses, playing with machines that dispense tennis balls, canines dancing with their humans dressed in fancy dress and a host of other things. My personal favourite was what they called Discover Dogs, where over 200 recognised breeds each had a booth to relax in whilst humans walked by in sheer amazement at the vast differences in size, coat & temperament learning all they need to know before even considering being owned by the breed of dog that interests them.
So it’s not just about the dog show, and that means that not all the human eyes are on you.
I’ll say it again, go and enjoy yourself, put your best paw forward, make some new friends, & don’t forget win, lose or draw, you always get to take the best humans home.
Trust me Annie, when I say that life will go on after Crufts and what lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.