Things Have Changed

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It is the prerogative of "old timers" to lament that things were better in the "good old days".

Well, they were. At least when it comes to most dog shows. 

This past weekend was a case in point. Toni and I returned to our home turf of Ottawa, Ontario to attend the Kars Dog Shows. We first attended these shows, held at a country fairgrounds, in 1976. I remember it well because I was handling Benbaron's Lord Belvedere, a big smooth son of Am Ch Echo's Citation Von Bonus and was surprised to find myself going toe-to-toe with a dog from Florida. Indeed, Tom and Charlotte Miller had come North for a show holiday with their big smooth dog, Winterset's Cullunda John. It was a summer circuit about eight days long and they were making a holiday of it. It was normal in those days to have an entry of 15 to 20 Saints. By the end of the week a friendship had formed and we both finished our dogs by beating up each other in good fun. Flash forward by decades and both couples are now 30-plus-year members of the SBCA.

So why was that better than this past weekend? Well for starters, there were NO St Bernards entered this past weekend. Total show entries have declined from nearly a thousand in the past to a few hundred now. Toni showed Clancy, our cousin's Norfork Terrier, to Best of Breed; but of course, he was the only one entered. That is becoming the norm for many breeds. The CKC and the AKC keep approving more and more breeds but there is little in the way of breed competition. It's a race to the bottom, folks! Rinky dink shows and rinky dink competition leading to rinky dink championships.

On a related note, for 50 years there had also been a horse show attached to the dog shows at this venue, making it a true "dog and pony" weekend. Guess what? The horses are now gone. How long before the dogs disappear too?

This situation is sad but not entirely surprising. Our parents or grandparents were raised on a farm. Animals were an integral part of life. Most younger citizens now are many generations removed from the land. What they know of animals they learned from the Nature Channel and computer games. The anti-pet lobby is gaining strength everywhere. Most municipalities do not want any animal breeding going on within their borders. Soon pets will be banned from more and more cities.

So do I pine for the "good old days"? Ubetcha!