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The Glitz and Glamour Of Dog Shows


Dog Clubs Virus


Many Kennel Clubs and even National Specialty Clubs will not survive COVID 19 because Spring dog shows are what often sees dog clubs through the rest of the year.


April 6, 2020

Vickie Haywood, Dog Sports Editor


We began COVID 19 isolation sooner than most due to health problems. Many businesses will not survive COVID and on that train of thought, much is already being said about dog clubs, including Parent and National Specialty clubs.



There is so much anger in the dog groups on social media. This virus messes up long-held plans for dog show exhibitors but it hurts clubs even more. Many of us had no choice but to cancel as our show grounds are on State held property. The dog clubs did not make the decision...the Government did and just in the nick of time for me personally.


The NC Tar Heel cluster shows - my little specialty show with a grand entry was to be held the Friday and Saturday of the cluster. Knowing I was going to have to spend 2 days in a building crammed full of people who had traveled from all over the world in recent weeks, I was unnerved!!! I had already suffered Type A flu AND and bacterial double lung pneumonia in recent weeks and I knew that raised my “High Risk” even higher.


So I was so gratified at the cancellation and then LAID LOW by all the anger all over social media. Many exhibitors are not dog club members so they have never served on committees, never negotiated a contract with a Superintendent, never seen a contract with venues, have not the first clue how little money clubs actually derive at the end.


They don't know so cannot appreciate the many hours of work it takes to put a judging panel together. We must have many judges on the panel but avoid overload. At the same time, we don’t want to have to hire additional judges after entries close. That comes with its own set of problems.



The know-it-alls on social media don't know that all the contracts have rules attached, like how many people can be in a venue, how much insurance the club has to carry to even put on an event, or about filing disaster preparedness with the authorities, and arranging for EMT and veterinarians on standby.


They don’t know or understand the many rules of the AKC itself that have to be followed. I could write a dissertation on all of that.


Believe me, few clubs will have anything left after all the non-refundable booking, site fees and other bills are paid. Many clubs will go under and yet, the anger continues because exhibitors lost entry money when the show was forced to cancel.


I surely sympathize. One of my own club members lost over $400 in entries and 7 days of volunteered work in order to do those shows. Multiply that by the thousands of kennel club members just like that... There is no win…there is "No joy in Mudville". We hear you, and we feel the pain.


Shutting down the dog show world was THE RIGHT thing to do, especially now knowing that America’s COVID 19 count is rising daily. Rebuilding our dog show club will take strength. So many dog clubs have elderly leadership. (you know, those vulnerable seniors that have given most of their lives to serving their club?)


So what can you as an exhibitor do to help their dog club survive this virus?


You can JOIN your local club...and add your dues to the treasury. You can offer your young bodies and minds to see to it that dog shows as we knew them can continue for the next generation. And for the dogs, purebred or not, dog clubs provide Obedience, Agility, Barn Hunt and more for all dogs.



It will take sacrifice. In many cases you will have to give up a show weekend to be a working member of your club. You may be asked to serve on committees, to attend kennel club meetings regularly. You may be asked to stand in the rain and collect parking dollars or sit at the club table and sell catalogs. You may be asked to transport judges or serve them in their ring as they stand on their feet all day. Your club may have a code of ethics to agree to.


But I can tell you that joining my first dog club in the early 80's and then being a founding member of my regional specialty club have brought much joy watching my clubs grow and thrive. It is not without angst...and anxiety. Putting on a show is like throwing a huge party and praying the invitees will come.


The dog show community has never experienced anything close to this coronavirus pandemic and I pray we never will again. The closest dog owners have come to this was the big parvo outbreak in the 70's.


This time it is the humans at risk. It is our way of life and our traditions at risk. Will you step up??? EST 2002 © 2004





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