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AKC Dog Shows - "Once more, into the fray..."

Updated on January 27, 2014
Our Baby Duckie September 2011
Our Baby Duckie September 2011
Ooh, how good do I look!
Ooh, how good do I look!
Does it look as bad as it hurts?
Does it look as bad as it hurts?
I'm a winner!
I'm a winner!
I am the do-it-all Lab; at ease in field, home, and show ring.
I am the do-it-all Lab; at ease in field, home, and show ring.

This weekend, we begin. Again. Our AKC Registered English Labrador Retriever, Misty Woods Ducks on the Pond (we just call him Duckie), is entered into the Tri-States Kennel Club AKC Dog Show this weekend. We purchased Duckie just over a year ago with high hopes of entering and competing in these types of shows as our children grow and find their own way, and as a way for my wife Tina and I to have a hobby to enjoy together. She loves dogs; I love Labs, and we both enjoy the shows on TV, so it was a natural progression to entering and competing.

If you've read any of my hubs, you might have stumbled across the one regarding English Labs. Well, my wife did a lot of research on the subject before we pulled the trigger and laid out the money for Duckie. He did a great job in the puppy classes, and learned very well the good behavior and stylish looks we needed to compete. Then, it happened. We got a trophy! No, not a show trophy; one of those back end of a cat that you hang on the wall trophies: a cat-ass-trophe. Duckie, in his youthful exuberance, ran into my ladder. It was lying on the ground at the time, and he mistook it for clear air, I guess. Head first, smack between the eyes. He came back to me, wagging his tail, and a slightly dazed look in his eyes, as a large strip of hide between his eyes was peeled back, exposing his skull. A panicked drive to the vet, and 10 to 12 stitches later, and the skin was shaved and in place. Tina kept it smothered in anti-bacterial ointment, and a lot of prayers later, and we took the stitches out. To say I was concerned would be an understatement. We took him to the final class with stitches in, and the doggie professor was all concerns and ouchies. But he passed, and we received our diploma.

Plans were laid for the upcoming year. You know what they say about the best laid plans. Well, we made it to Harrison, Arkansas in January 2012. It was an unofficial show, just a tuneup to get ready for the season. We went through the pre-show class to know what we needed to do during the show. I spoke with the trainer and had her examine Duckie's head. She felt confident that he would be just fine, and as the incident happened in training, so to speak, it would not be held against him.

Whew!!!

He did well that day. He won Best of Breed Male, and then Best of Breed Overall over the lady that owned the kennel we bought him from. Special win there; she kept the best looking puppy in the litter, and we beat her! But, because Duckie was from her kennel, she still got kudos for the win. Glad to help!

Then, like that Dolly Parton song, here we go again! In March, Duckie was playing and running during my training with him. He ran into the woods and came back limping a bit one day. A couple of days later, a pouch of something appeared behind his foreleg. It didn't seem to hurt him, but it sure hurt me to look at! It reached tennis ball size, and a trip to the vet confirmed he had created an abscess. He probably ran into a stob or stick and jammed it into his armpit. Over five or six weeks, we drained it three times at the vet, but it came back each time. So, surgery!!!!

The vet opened up the area under his armpit, and repaired the tissue, placing a couple of stitches internally, then some externally. We kept him kenneled for several days before taking him out for sedate walks. After a couple of weeks, we had the stitches removed, and waited. Waited for the fur to re-grow; waited for the skin to heal; waited to see how bad this was going to be. Would he have a limp? Would he have a spot that would be a point against him in the shows? All of our plans for showing fell by the wayside. Now it was play and train and wait.

Early this fall, we went hunting. I had not been bird hunting in years, and so he and I went to the fields. I shot a bit over him, and he displayed the drive and fervor his breed is known for. Tirelessly, he charged over the fields with me, back and forth. He retrieved from the water and fields alike, with no residual issues I could see. So, we signed him up for a show.

Last week, we returned to the puppy class in order to go over some finer points for the ring. When we walked in, everybody turned their heads and looked at us. Silence ruled the room until an "Oooh! Look at him!", followed by, "What a beautiful dog!" We both felt better. He was rusty, as would be expected; but more work over the weekend and this week will see us on our way to the weekend.

We took a trip up to see the vet Friday, and as we walked in there, we were greeted by the same words. My, but that feels good! The vet loves him so much they use a puppy picture of him as their screen saver! One woman asked if he was a Chesapeake Retriever, as he was so burly and with a beautiful block head, but the vet turned to her and said "No, he is pure Lab! That's what a Lab is supposed to look like!" Head, don't get so big you can't make it back out the door! She gave Duckie his booster shots, and we walked back out to the car for the ride home. But I had to love on him, and rub his head and say "Thanks, buddy. You are a good looking Lab, and I love you." I received a welcome slobbery lick and kiss, and away we went.

Well, the wait is almost over. The first show he is ready to participate in is this weekend. Then, depending on how he does, we will go from there. More shows are coming down the pipe in 2013, and hopefully, we will do well. But at this point, all I care about is how much we love him. And how much he loves us. We do want to show him, and we will, but just playing and tossing his dummy around, running with him and our walks provide a tremendous amount of pleasure for the family. As we find out more, and as more happens, we will forward the information to you.

Hello, I'm Duckie. nice to meet you!
Hello, I'm Duckie. nice to meet you!

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    • Mr Archer profile image
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      Mr Archer 4 years ago from Missouri

      Thank you for your comment on our boy. So far (knock on wood) he has been accident free for some months now and has gotten into the swing of the show ring. One thing I can say for certain: Lab pups are clumsy!!! Glad he has finally outgrown the worst of it. Although, the other night he did run head on into my knee and almost knocked both of us down! Ah well...

    • Faith A Mullen profile image

      Faith A Mullen 4 years ago

      Your Duckie is gorgeous. Wishing you both great success and less accidents from here on (poor thing!).

    • Mr Archer profile image
      Author

      Mr Archer 4 years ago from Missouri

      Thanks Avain. He is a lovable clutz, but he is getting better all the time.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      He is a beautiful dog. I did hear that labs are accident prone.

    • Mr Archer profile image
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      Mr Archer 4 years ago from Missouri

      Last night went well for Duckie and I. We worked hard before we went to class, and he performed extremely well. The teacher asked if I was showing him this weekend, and when I said yes, she offered to be there at ringside for support. While strolling around the ring, he looked better than any other dogs there, and he kept his head high all the way. Thanks for the support, guys; I really appreciate it. I will let you know how he does this weekend!

    • Mr Archer profile image
      Author

      Mr Archer 4 years ago from Missouri

      You comment as much as you want!!! Loved the story on Bella; isn't it wonderful how some things are just meant to be? Glad you have such a wonderful family member there. Take care!

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Mr. Archer - I apologize for continued commenting. I promise I will try my hardest to make this the last comment!

      Just thought you would like to know the way I found her. I had already lost my dog, cat and guinea pig - one after the other. The pig and dog were rescue's I had adopted. As you can imagine it was hard to take losing them one after the other. Last December I walked down into the kitchen and there stood my sister with a black ball of fur in her arms, complete with a little flannel jacket and hood. It was love at first site. I had already told my family if I were to get another dog I would like to name her Bella (after my favorite hair salon). My sister found the puppy and when she went to pick her up the owner stated "Her name is Bella." My Dad had passed the year before. The owner followed the name statement with "Bella's birthday is October 7th". This is my fathers birthday as well. It was meant to be!

      OK friend - I've taken up enough of your time. Again - good luck tonight and this weekend as well!

      Stay safe and happy!

    • Mr Archer profile image
      Author

      Mr Archer 4 years ago from Missouri

      Why, thank you, Irish! Bella - no doubt named for that famous femme fatale of the Twilight series, hmmm? Great name, by the way.

      Glad you are relatively unscathed there. Many, many are still in the maw of this monster. I looked back at the 1991 Super Storm that the book and movie "The Perfect Storm" was based on, and it coincides almost exactly with this one to the day! We here in Missouri are currently blessed with fair skies and good temperatures. Nothing currently on the horizon in the weather department.

      Thanks for the good luck; we will need it. I will let everybody know how we do, good or not so good. If we don't win, it will be on me, not him. He's gorgeous, but I move like a pregnant turtle. As for the name Duckie, well I am a HUGE NCIS fan, and I wanted to name him Jethro, or Gibbs, but my wife would have none of it. So, Duckie it is!

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Mr. Archer - My companion Bella just turned one year old on October 7th. She is very special to me and I completely understand the wiggly emotion-filled tail wagging enjoyment they display! I do hope as she matures and manages to walk on all fours without an injury or fall. She does bring me hours of rambunctious energy. I am a HUGE klutz myself so many times we go through it together!

      We were without power for less than 24 hours and received minor wind and rain damage. We are very fortunate and blessed. Many members of the community were ravaged by monster Sandy. I hope you made out well.

      Good luck with the Show Ring session tonight and even more blessings for the big show on Saturday and Sunday. Please be sure and write a hub letting us know how the weekend went. I look forward to reading about it.

      Love and hugs to Duckie! (Such an adorable name)

    • Mr Archer profile image
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      Mr Archer 4 years ago from Missouri

      Thank you Irish! I am glad to know you have a Lab as well. To me (and I may be just a bit prejudiced) but aren't they the best dog! How old is your Lab? If she is still fairly young, that could be the reason for the clumsiness; I think it takes a couple of years or so for them to grow into themselves. I absolutely love him, and love how he leans against my legs and wiggles in pure joy at having his back rubbed. We go tonight for our last session of Show Ring training before our show on Saturday and Sunday. Game On!!!

      Have you been hit by either the hurricane or the remnants of it? Being in upstate New York, I worry about you and yours. I have a friend who works for Woods Hole in Mass, and have yet to hear from him that all is ok. I am unsure if he is at home, or out on one of their scientific cruises elsewhere in the world.

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

      What a beautiful wonderful companion your Duckie is. I find my lab is accident prone as well but I thought she just took after me.

      Duckie is stunning and those wonderful eyes as he looks into the camera displaying his latest badge of courage is priceless.

      Thanks for sharing your wonderful friend with me and I wish you nothing but the best for Duckie's upcoming shows!

    • Mr Archer profile image
      Author

      Mr Archer 4 years ago from Missouri

      Thanks, Billy. Yeah, we've paid some dues, and are ready for the good times! Take care, my Friend.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well best of luck to you and your pal! Let's just hope he can stay healthy for a little while.....that dog has paid his dues and needs a smooth run now. :)