Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Rest Of The Trip

May 1, 2008

We were mugged at the ring entrance and I've never been hugged by so many people in my whole life - they just kept coming. It was such a thrill, and many of those who took the time to congratulate us have been friends for years. Argus got a little too wired up with all the excitement and was jumping up on people too, as I tried to settle him down. When Jess was through being congratulated for Daisy's Award of Merit, she came and took Argus from me and put him on a down-stay so he could catch his breath and settle a bit before pictures. Several people offered him water, and although he was too excited to drink, sips of water poured in his mouth helped him stop panting.

The photos went well, and although it is certainly not our best picture, it is adequate. I should not have kept Argus standing so still on the platform for as long as I did. It's a rather "static" shot, and to me Argus looks best when he is getting ready to launch after a squeaky toy! That's how I always see him in my mind.
Mr. Bivin was very complimentary, and said that Argus was "everything a Dalmatian should be". He put his face down to Argus, who kissed his cheek.

We stayed for the Awards Dinner of course. I normally head for home right after breed judging at the National, but for some reason I did not check out of my room this year. When Argus won the breed, I was informed that we WERE staying (no arguments from me there) and we had a very nice time at the dinner. We thought about going to the bar afterwards, but instead we stayed in the banquet room and chatted with friends, then walked the dogs and finished up packing so we could leave early the next morning.

The trip home was easy, the weather was good, and we sure had lots to talk about! Both Jess and I went back to work on Friday, to avoid facing a week's worth of work on Monday!

This was truly and thrill, and something that I will relive many times - with a smile, I'm sure.

Such A Good Time We've Had

April 29, 2008

On Tuesday evening Jess and I agreed that it was one of the most fun Nationals we had ever attended. Although we would have appreciated the organized Hospitality Rooms that were a DCA tradition for years, there were plenty of opportunities to socialize with friends. Because judging started early each day, we were generally back in our room by 11:00 PM - most nights!

I've always thought that dinners with friends are one of the highlights of DCA week, and this year was no exception. Because DCA is primarily during the week, it is not hard to get seating for large groups which makes things easier. I enjoyed the traditional trip to Bonefish Grill (I went three times the previous year), a fun Mexican restaurant, and the excellent Chinese restaurant right across the highway from the Drawbridge Inn. Our group Genuine Dalmatians (folks who do not support the backcross at this time) had a really great dinner at the latter.

Many were anticipating fireworks over the backcross issue, but all went well and DCA President Dr. Garvin kept the Annual Meeting running smoothly. The backcross group, who refers to themselves as the LUA group brought along a number of dogs who go back to the Dal/Pointer cross, but unfortunately it appears that the addition of Pointer genes still affects the spotting. I have yet to be convinced that LUA dogs will ever be marked like purebred Dalmatians should be - it is ironic that the genes that affect the metabolism of uric acid in the breed, are apparently tied to the markings that ALSO make our breed unique. Although some of the backcross dogs were less ticked than in the past, they still do not have the clear and distinct markings called for in the standard.

Tuesday evening was the Top Twenty, and we really enjoyed watching it this year. Because Argus should be eligible for that event next year, I may enjoy it less as a participant! Some of the dogs and handlers looked particularly good, and when the winner was announced at the Awards Dinner on Wednesday, I thought the choice was a good one and well deserved.

After the Top Twenty, we joined friends at the bar, and had a wonderful time. Everyone seemed to be in great spirits, and suddenly it was 1:30 AM and we had to get up in just a few hours!

Off To The National - Dalmatian Club Of America

April 26, 2008

Oh, such a long trip and such lousy weather. We left about noon on Friday and encountered rain in Wisconson and drove through torrential downpours near Madison and Janesville. There was so much rain on the freeway that it felt as if I was driving through a river, and I could feel the mini-van wheels spinning beneath me. The rain was so heavy at times that I could not even see the road. Because the storm front extended in a long line from Texas to Michigan, we could not drive out of the rain, and I finally called in quits somewhere in Illinois, about halfway between St. Paul and Fort Mitchell, Kentucky.

We found a nice Super 8 across the street from a decent restaurant - awesome home made chicken noodle soup! We unloaded Argus, Violet and Sydney, brought in the two pop up crates, and Argus slept on the bed for the first of six nights. We turned oun The Weather Channel and found out that tornados had gone through Wisconsin right behind us!

The weather was much better on Saturday and our trip was uneventful. We particularly enjoyed the beautiful flowering purple trees in southern Indiana, and arrived at the Drawbridge Inn mid-afternoon, in brilliant sunshine. The first person we ran into was Linda McSherry, Violet's owner, so they were quickly reunited.

Our room was ready and looked good, and the beds were even comfortable. Our room was down a level from parking, which meant schlepping our crates down the stairs, or going the long route so we could use the dolly - we chose the latter!

The Welcome Party was well attended, and we had a great time connecting with old friends, and meeting people that we only knew through ads and the internet.