So, I was in Norman, Oklahoma this past weekend for three days of collie specialty shows—six of them to be exact. It was exhausting but fun. I got to spend time with people that I usually only see at the Nationals, met a new collie person who bought a smooth tri girl from an outstanding breeder in Tennessee, made two new friends, and even had time to work a little bit on the contemporary WIP in the evenings in the quiet of my hotel room (until the exhaustion overtook the brain).
As a writer, I try to be careful with the words that I put onto a “page”—whether an actual physical page as the end product or a page that exists only in cyberspace—so I was careful with what I said about the wins I and my client dogs had this past weekend, and especially with the words I used to describe the non-winning events this past weekend.
In this world of nearly instant response time because of the Internet, Facebook, Twitter, and the like, we can post something that we feel is completely non-offensive, and still manage to offend people. There’s no help for that. However, I would like to caution that we think for a moment before we hit “send” or “enter” on some things.
An exhibitor posted about the collie this person owns and how wonderful this dog is. I am not arguing that this collie is a very nice example of the breed, but the exhibitor’s comment under the picture left me grinding my teeth and questioning some things. I am certain that the post was not meant to slight any other collie being shown, but I rather felt that my dog was viewed as little more than chopped liver as were so many of the other collies actively campaigned into the top ten for their variety.
|GCh. Bandor’s The Wyching Hour–Vander|
Loyal readers of my blog know that my smooth boy, Vander, was campaigned last year to a top ten placement in the breed. According to the Canine Chronicle, he finished at # 6. He did this by winning at both specialty shows and all breed shows, including multiple group placements. He’s not perfect—there hasn’t been a perfect dog born yet—but he’s a damn good representative of the breed.
|Final Results for 2013|
So, what should have been a moment to remember the fun and the laughter involved with the shows in Norman instead became of moment of defensiveness and even anger that so many of our beloved collies were slighted and insulted. I’m not defending the person who posted that picture and made that comment, because I honestly believe the comment was not made to insult or belittle any other collie. Unfortunately, that’s what the comment ultimately did—insulted the other animals competing that weekend and who compete weekend after weekend after weekend. Insulted their accomplishments, insulted their ability to conform to the standard, insulted the efforts of their owners and handlers, insulted the sacrifices so many owners make to get their dogs out and campaigned.
So, in closing—PLEASE think before you hit the “send” or “enter” button.