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First Dog Show!

Melian's Great Success

By Kimberly J EganPublished 3 months ago 5 min read
Melian in a "natural stack" in the Puppy Best in Show ring. She's remarkably balanced for her age.

If you've followed me at all, you know that I breed my dogs and compete with them at AKC and UKC events. The Teddy Roosevelt Terriers are my own project, but I have a co-breeder for the Toy Fox Terriers. Kathleen and I meet monthly in person to discuss our plans for our dogs and for the occasional conformation show. We also talk on the phone daily (mostly about dogs), so we're always informed about what is happening at each other's place. She keeps most of the females, while I keep most of the males. It's a system that works for us.

Last year was what I call a "building year." We bred no litters and only entered two shows, spending most of our time on bringing in dogs with qualities that we need to introduce to our line. We brought in two nice female TFT puppies and one nice TRT male--all of whom settled right in. We thought we were done in November and were looking forward to a quiet rest of the winter. Imagine my surprise in mid-December when Kathleen said, "I'm going to pick up a black tricolor female puppy from a breeder about an hour away from me." I think that my response was similar to "we discussed it, and we don't need any additional black tricolor dogs, female or not." Well . . . we got the puppy.

Well, it turns out that Kathleen was right! We DID need that puppy. BELLEAMI MELIAN @ CONRI (Melian) is actually a show dog!

Melian Goes to Longview, TX!

Saturday, February 3

Like any typical puppy going to a dog show for the first time, Melian was not a big fan of the bath or of the Dremel. She'd had her toenails cut before but had never had them ground. Like most of our puppies, Melian was starting early in the 3-6 month "non-licensed puppy class," so anything she did was simply for learning and not for championship points. We were a little concerned that she would not like to walk on the mats that circled and bisected the ring. We knew that the event center had concrete floors and, oh yes, there would be mats.

However, like most TFT puppies, Melian was born without an ounce of fear in her tiny body. Starting with when she was wheeled into the show hall on the crate dolly, that tiny four-pound puppy was telling the world that she had arrived and was planning to take over. Even though Kathleen and I were both stewarding, Kathleen had plenty of time to get her out to walk over the concrete floors and to listen to the sound of other dogs walking over the mats. She watched the entire procedure from the crating area. Finally, it was her turn to go into the ring! She stepped confidently onto the mats as if she had been doing so all her life and strutted around the perimeter of the ring like she owned it. Her tail was wagging furiously when she went onto the table.

The judge (Teresa Kocher) was excellent with her, speaking softly and using gentle hands to examine her. The only time Melian balked at all was when Kathleen showed the puppy's bite to the judge--it's a scary thing for a tiny puppy because the handler's hand can cover their eyes for a couple of seconds. But the rest of the exam went fine, as did her "down and back" and the second trot around the ring. She got her best of breed puppy ribbon and went back to the crates to rest until [non-licensed] Puppy Best in Show.

Unlike the regular Best in Show ring, where Group 1 winners from all the breeds compete for the main prize, all of the "3-6 month" class puppies are in the ring together. In this case, there were 12 puppies ranging in size from a barely-there Yorkshire Terrier puppy to an amazing Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog that must have made about 20 of the Yorkie. Melian was getting tired--it had been a LONG day for her--but she still strutted and sparkled with the best of them. Kathleen was leaning over her puppy to reassure her that they were nearly done when the judge walked up to her with a HUGE ribbon! Melian had won Reserve Best Puppy in Show! The expression on her face was one for the ages when she heard the judge clear her throat. I was so glad to witness it, even though I didn't capture it on camera. Naturally, we had a picture made. How on earth can you beat that at a puppy's first show?

Sunday, February 4

Apparently, Melian took "how can you beat that?" as a personal challenge. She sparkled around the ring like lights from a disco ball. She strutted and flirted her way around the ring as if to tell THIS judge (Kathryn Baxter) that she was the only dog in existence. Dr. Baxter loved Melian, laughing at her and talking to her during the table exam. And, once she had strutted and sparkled enough, Melian received her ribbon and went back to her crate to sleep.

The show weekend was almost over when Melian strutted into the ring again. We were all tired and ready to go home, but Melian still looked pretty good for a puppy her age. The little Yorkie was putting on the brakes at the end of the go-around, so her owner had to carry her for the final few feet to her place behind Melian. Dr. Baxter took her time going over the puppies for the final time, watching them carefully as the trotted the ring perimeter together before making her selection. Unlike Ms. Kocher, Dr. Baxter created a "short list," moving four puppies into the middle of the ring. Melian was at one end, with a really handsome American Pit Bull Terrier at the other. The APBT was closer to the ring entrance, so I figured that it had gotten Best. "Oh well," I thought. "At least she made the cut." Then Dr. Baxter pointed to her selections, "One, two, three, four," she said, counting from the center of the ring toward the entrance.

Melian had won BEST PUPPY IN SHOW!

Puppy Best in Show lineup on Sunday. Dr. Baxter is addressing the people watching from outside the ring. The LCLD handler is setting her dog--sorry about the bad angle! I think the fourth dog in the ring was a pug, although my memory isn't a certain one.

Even as I type this, the pride in both that puppy and Kathleen just washes over me. It's been a week, but the joy still hasn't gone away. We're not the kind of breeders who have dozens of dogs and hundreds of thousands of dollars to campaign them. We're two working-class women who scrape together entry money and help defray costs by stewarding. A Best in Show win, even in a non-licensed ring, is a huge deal for us. We can't be any prouder of this little puppy and are extremely grateful for the judges who made it possible. Our extreme gratitude goes out to her breeder, Jeanette Wright, who put this lovely little show puppy into our hands. Like any other dog, we know that Melian will have her wins and her losses, but she proved that sometimes it's okay to be wrong and to buy the puppy anyway.



About the Creator

Kimberly J Egan

Welcome to LoupGarou/Conri Terriers and Not 1040 Farm! I try to write about what I know best: my dogs and my homestead. I'm currently working on a series of articles introducing my readers to some of my animals, as well as to my daily life!

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  • olymoolla3 months ago

    Your stories are very beautiful and your story is admirable. Kindly open my vocal ID and read a story and comment about the story. This is my request to you.

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