I promised. And Russ heard me promise, so there is no going back on my word. The 2014 IWSCA Specialty was Cooper’s last conformation show.
I had him entered in the Gun Dog class, where we were up against Harry and Mowgli. When I heard we were up against Harry, I both thought and didn’t think that Cooper had a chance at taking the class. I thought maybe he’d take it because he took Best of Opposite Sex at the Rose City Classic in January and because he got a Judge’s Award of Merit at the last IWSCOPS Specialty show in August. But I also thought not because he was up against Harry, and Harry is a very handsome dog.
(I love the following photo of Cooper. It really shows off his reach and lovely topline. And see? All four feet are off the ground. He just flowed around that ring like the beautiful boy I’ve always known him to be.)
So, when we took 2nd to Harry, I wasn’t surprised, and I was both disappointed and pleased. Disappointed because we didn’t take 1st for Cooper’s swan song, and pleased because he showed beautifully and strong, and plus we won some great prizes.
On the other hand, I also had Tooey entered in the Gun Bitch class. I was so pleased just to be able to enter her in this class, her having earned her retriever Junior Hunter title in 2013. I was pretty sure she wouldn’t win the Gun Bitch class, being up against a smaller, darker, curlier girl, handled by a very nice woman who has taken home the Gun Bitch trophy twice.
Even so, we worked for it. I’d taken Tooey to several conformation handling classes, where she did well. And I had lots and lot of grooming help at the Specialty, primarily by Rebecca B., who did most of it, with some adjustments by Colleen McD and Jim R.
And Tooey had been doing so well on the trip to Utah, so friendly and outgoing with everyone, and having a good time at the Specialty. That translated into being easy with the judge and happy to show herself off, enjoying the applause that went with her as she gaited around the show ring. That in itself was a win.
So when the judge pointed to Tooey, I was thrilled. 1st in the Gun Bitch class! That’s all I had wanted for her, and I didn’t care a bit that the show dogs later took the various Bests and Selects in the Best of Breed competition. My hunting girl is this year’s Gun Bitch, with a challenge trophy to prove it.
Tooey also entered the Brood Bitch class with two of her first-litter pups, Pax and Bold. We came in dead last, but that’s no matter. Pax got a 3-point major toward his championship by getting Reserve Winner’s Dog at the Specialty, and a couple of days later, Bold finished his championship with a 5-point major. So there! I was thrilled for them both.