Working as a team and keeping it fun are part of showing dogs

Monique Chiasson
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BIBLE HILL - Kim Pennie knows that just about anything can happen at a professional dog show.
She was one of hundreds of participants at the Cobequid Dog Club's 40th anniversary show at the Agridome in Bible Hill on the weekend.
Her day began at 4 a.m. and bedtime wasn't expected until at least midnight. Upon arriving at the Agridome early Saturday, she again bathed and groomed Sinner, her six-year-old Akita, a chore that took about two hours. That's in addition to the multiple hours of grooming done earlier in the week.
"There's more work to it than people realize," and you just never know what surprises await you during competition, said Pennie.
"I've had the dog go to (the bathroom) during competition and I've lost my shoes during a class. It's embarrassing but you keep going and get your shoes later," she said as people stopped to watch Pennie brushing six-year-old Sinner.
The Agridome was a busy spot as breeders and dog owners prepared to go into the ring, children squealed in delight upon seeing a poodle with hair clips and people cheered when their dog claimed first place in its class.
"My advice is keep it fun. When dogs don't enjoy it, people don't," said Pennie. "Yes, we're competing but we are all in it for the same thing and that's bettering our breeds."
Debert's Tracy Snyder has been showing for 17 years. She's participated in shows throughout Canada and the United States. Early Saturday morning she showed her six-month-old Golden Retriever, Roots, in a conformation class and placed second of two entrants.
"The most difficult part is obedience in the ring because there are so many challenges like other dogs, sounds, off-leash training and smells" to distract the dogs, Snyder said.
She said working as a team makes it a more successful day.
"Dogs feed off owners' nervousness ... if you want your dog to do good work you need too as well. The owner needs to know the foot work - fast, slow, figure eights, turns - and sometimes it takes years to be ready" for professional shows Snyder said.
Despite the hard work and long hours, it's worth it.
"It starts with the love of your dog and wanting to do something with them," said Snyder.
Truro Height's Jim Joy attended the event as a bystander.
"I love all types of dogs ... there's a variety here that you don't see every day," said Joy.
The dog show featured some of the finest dogs from the Maritimes, Maine, Quebec and other areas. It was considered one of the largest shows east of Montreal, with at least 259 dogs, representing 88 different breeds, participating.

mchiasson@trurodaily.com

Organizations: Agridome, Cobequid Dog Club, Roots

Geographic location: Bible Hill, Canada, United States Maine Quebec Montreal

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