Columns: No Margins, No Limits, No Kidding!
MENTORING IN THE DOG SPORT
Reiki Master on show relationships and the power of trust because sharing your gene pool with a fellow breeder is as intimate as having sex with them!
August 2018 Update
Vicki Haywood, Oakwood Poodles, Reiki Master
We enrich living by accepting people into our lives based on impressions in the beginning, then based on performance as we get to know an individual over time. We can make lasting friendships, fall in love, and share the innermost part of ourselves with a spouse or best friend we trust. In dogs, we mentor and seek a trustworthy mentor.
In dog breeding we form the same kind of attachments. We meet people in our breed, find we think the same way and form an everlasting bond of sharing and caring.
Sometimes we go so far as to share our dogs.
As we become successful, we put ourselves out there, take the criticisms, make decisions for breeding strategy. We help in our clubs by taking on tasks of responsibility and grow our sport and along with that our own lives can be enriched. We meet new people and encourage them and teach them.
And because we are humans we are not perfect and sometimes mis-understandings come along that can cause hurt feelings or go so far as to harm a person’s reputation. There are rotten apples in every crowd. Sometimes one rotten apple spoils a whole bunch.
As humans we need to protect ourselves in our personal relationships and as breeders, our dog relationships. Never enter into a breeding relationship without your eyes wide open. We are after all, the keepers of our breed. Sharing your gene pool with a fellow breeder is like having sex. You share every partner that person ever had, and in dogs, we share every imaginable gene by making a breeding. Research and health check and pray you have made the right decision.
As breeders we sometimes take on a rank novice who knows not one thing about the dog world. Every once in a while that decision is so remarkable that all you can see is a wonderful world unfolding. The edges of the paint might get a little muddled, but the end result can be so very satisfying.
Four years ago I gave a young bitch to a very rank novice dog person.
They have had so many adventures together that I could literally fill a book with them. We have listened to the tales from rattlesnake killing, to fishing from the kayak, to bringing home fresh killed rabbit for breakfast, chasing and being chased by Guinea hens, ventures into obedience classes, then agility classes, joining clubs and participating in everything from conformation to hunt tests (she is a wonderful upland game dog).
This past Saturday, my protégée’s little girl became a mother. We joked for weeks that we had no idea what kind of mother she might be. Since she has such huge prey drive, we were a little afraid she might decide her babies were breakfast (shudder). She produced 2 beautiful little boys, is a fantastic mom, and her owner is waiting not so very patiently to be able to go and see her and the babies, accepting pictures and videos, learning all he can about the birthing process from afar, until the day he is ready and confident enough to embark all on his own. Maybe one of these kids will be the dog to take him into the dog show world he yearns for. God knows he has earned the mentorship so many have taught. And as one of the mentors, I embrace the process, as so many years ago, my mentors embraced me.
Lessons to be learned, lessons to teach, as in all of life. If our show world is to survive we absolutely must take on the challenge of teaching. Yes sometimes it all goes to hell and falls apart and people's feelings get hurt but like any loving relationship, we strive for longevity.
We took a leap of faith to place a bitch in his hands, we put him in a position to succeed, we helped him way up the success ladder by breeding to a quality dog and last Saturday morning, a new dog show exhibitor was born!!!
What have you done to contribute to our failing sport? Just a little something to think about from my side of the fence.
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