Page 290 - ShowSight - November 2019
P. 290

                Breeder Owner Handler Q & A
 “You need to be able to trust your dog to do the right thing and your dog needs to trust you to keep them safe. IF THAT IS OUT OF BALANCE, IT SHOWS.”
 Sandra Bethea continued
for some reason they jumped over each other all around the ring. I remember the judges tummy jiggling and wiggling with laughter!
I live in Wilmington, Dela- ware and have been Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse for 27+ years. Passion outside of dogs would be my work. I have tre- mendous passion for the babies we take care. As bedside nurses we are the front line to advocate for these very sick, tiny babies.
I have been in the sport for ten plus years. I started and remain in Chihuahuas.
The toughest part of being a breeder for me is that I have a profession which does not allow any forgiveness for calling ‘Out sick’ from work to work from home if I have a puppy or litter that is not doing well. Its frightening when I breed to litter knowing I may run into a situation like I did last year where I had a puppy that required around the clock care for weeks on end. The best part is breeding is having the gift of raising, train-
ing showing a beautiful and correct representation of the breed.
I can’t say either an All Breed win or Specialty win is more important. It depends on the Judge and the competition. My most meaningful wins have been under a Judge I admire and with
fantastic competition.
As a breeder/owner handler my wins are extremely special to
me but I can’t say they are more special than if I were a professional because I have never been one. There have been wins that were very special to me in a highly steep ring filled with top professionals. It affirms the Judge found my dog to be worthy of recognition and awarded for its quality. I work hard at presenting my dog the best I can as I know I will be competing against very talented profession- als who have worked hard to fine tune their craft.
As a shift working nurse I have the ability to juggle my shifts around so I can fit in my show schedule. I work every other weekend which allows me 50% less opportunity to attend dog shows unless I pick up some weekday shows the weeks I’m scheduled to work the weekend. I make a lot of weekend ‘trades’ to make sure I can attend the shows which are best for my dog. It’s a difficult ‘Balanc- ing act’ for sure that has felt quite out of balance to be successful. Its definitely a choice I made and a lot of sacrifices have been made to chase dreams.
I truly enjoy participating in the NOHS. I began participating a few years ago to enable my young Special to have more Group ring experience. I enjoy competing in both the All Breed and Owner Handled Group rings. I generally only choose to go to shows which offer NOHS.
My advice to newcomers is to ‘Hold the vision and trust the pro- cess.’ This Sport offers to much. There will be many discouraging lows and incredibly inspiring highs. Experience gratitude for the gift your dog gives you.
I have a very ‘Spirited’ Chihuahua Special who has made a fool of me repeatedly over the years. She has made me laugh on the inside and die a thousands deaths on the outside at the same time. One of my *Favorite* episodes was at a Specialty in NYC last year. On the ‘Go around’ after a flawless ‘Down and back,’ she started off fantastic and suddenly I felt her stop. She stopped and sat butt down for a good ole butt ‘Scoot’! Initially I urged her to continue and I quickly realized she wasn’t having it. She not only ‘Scooted’ but she TWIRLED on her butt. I paused and laughed (What else can you do?) and she hopped up and charged forward on the ‘Go around’ like nothing happened. The audience got a laugh and, of course, a friend happened to catch it on video so I can relive the moment for life. Those moments are ones I will cherish along with the moments we received the nod from respected Judges over the years.
I live in Furlong, Pennsyl- vania. My passion outside of dogs is running marathons. When I’m not showing or training, I do work full time at a company providing oncology care access to patients through collaborations with cancer community networks. Helping patients is very rewarding.
I have been exhibiting Basenjis since 2004. Basenjis are my original breed.
The toughest part of being a breeder is assuring preservation of the breed and continuing to breed dogs that are structured to do what they were bred for. The best part is achieving the right balance of breed type, movement, and temperament.
Do I feel that owner/handlers have an advantage because of their bond with their dogs? The advantage is building a special bond with your dog from the beginning. Trust is a dual effort. You need to be able to trust your dog to do the right thing and your dog needs to trust you to keep them safe. If that is out of balance, it shows. Nur- turing the relationship takes a lot of time and is worth every effort.
What’s more important to me, an all-breed win or a specialty win? To me a specialty win is more important. The competition level at Basenji specialties is tough! We all love our dogs and we all get to go home with the best one.
If you’re a breeder/owner/handler, are your wins that much more special? The best thing about being an owner-handler is being able to share the moments, win or lose, with your four-legged best friend.
Is fitting the show schedule into my “regular” life a constant balancing act? I saw a quote once that said “I am not an early bird or a night owl. I am some form of permanently exhausted pigeon.” Managing a full-time job, marathon training, and campaigning a dog could make me for a very exhausted pigeon. It is amazing to experience the endless energy that is fueled by passion. I am a driven by my passions and that makes me very happy. Over the years, I have learned to create more balance in my life. Balancing work,
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