Show-Dog Love…A Mystery (of sorts)

Welcome, everyone, to Pens, Paws and Claws! I’m so pleased to be a part of this group – Thank you ladies, for inviting me to play!

Among the many things I’ve done for fun in my life, one of the most fun and most enduring was showing my dogs. I’ve raised, trained and shown dogs for a looooong time (not tellin’ how long ’cause it’ll show my age! Ha!) I was privileged to get to show my Dalmatians as well as to take other breeds in the ring for friends.  I think that’s why almost every book I write has a dog in it. Oh, there are cats too, I love cats as well, but dogs hold my heart.

I started out with a Dal who was always the bridesmaid and never the bride – we got so many second place ribbons, and Best of Opposite Sex ribbons, I could have wallpapered a room with them. Her name was Ch. Ivy Lea’s Russet Herald, call name Talia. That’s her going best of breed under a fabulous judge who loved her because she was exactly what he thought we should have in the breed – drive and movement, shoulder, and great temperament. (For those of you who don’t know, Dalmatians went through a period when the movies came out, where they were NOT known for good behavior or temperament! Then they were overbred and got to where they couldn’t do what they were bred for – running!)

Once she “went breed,” as they say, she was set. She then went Best in Show, garnering that ribbon pictured up above. What a night that was! Wow! I’ll never forget it because those were Talia’s very first points toward her championship.

There was, however a lot of controversy about her because she went Best in Show over some very, very highly ranked dogs. People were NOT happy.

There was tension, angst, and oh-so-much-gossip! Was I  sleeping with the judge? (Ugh, no!) Was there a payoff? (Hardly, I was NOT in the money!) What on earth could have made the BIS judge pick THAT dog!?!?!

It makes me laugh now, to think about it, but as with any kind of pageant or beauty contest, there comes drama.  As I writer, I totally appreciate drama…

Now, every breed–and every dog show!– has it’s idiosyncrasies, and that’s part of the fun of raising and showing purebred dogs. Even if you know nothing else, you probably know that Goldens and Labs are popular and easy going, great with kids, and with a  nearly insatiable desire to fetch.  German Shepherds are watch dogs, as are Rottweilers, and an Old English Sheepdog is about as fluffy and furry as a shag rug.

Another part of the fun of dogs, both at home and in the show ring, is the people who own them. Comedian Steven Wright quips, “If people look like their dogs, who changes?” Snork! I love that. I sincerely hope I DON’T look like my dogs since one of them looks like a mop, and the other has a grey muzzle. Ha!

Recently, I began to consider doing a mystery series set around dog shows.  I’m getting back into that world after a considerable hiatus. (Having kids who play sports kinda puts the kibosh on other expensive hobbies!) About ten years ago now, we adopted an Irish Water Spaniel from a rescue. His name was Diver (He’s the brown one in the multi-dog picture up above!) and he was absolutely fabulous.  When we lost him, too young, at 12, we did our grieving and began to discuss that maybe an Irisher puppy would be just the thing.

Last January, in a snowstorm, we welcomed Tucker, O’Morns Trouble on the Line at Ivy Lea. (That’s him with me in the chair) He’s not hit the show ring yet, but he has everything he needs to be a success. I’m excited to jump back into showing, not only to show, but to immerse myself in the show dog world and see if it’s a place I want to set some stories.

What do you think? Would you read mysteries set in the dog show world? 

Do you watch the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show every February?

If so, do you root for your breed, or just enjoy?

That’s Tucker to the right. Our Lab, Mia, is from Lab Rescue here in the DC area, so if you’re missing having a dog, and are in the DC Metro, look into Lab Rescue and find a friend!

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12 thoughts on “Show-Dog Love…A Mystery (of sorts)”

  1. Jeanne, how lovely to see you here! You’ll feel right at home here (I hesitate to say in your kennel!). I have such fond memories of your lovely dogs from my visits. Hope I get to meet the new arrivals before too long too.

    Wonderful that you’re getting back into showing. Here’s to a room full of cups and blue ribbons!

    As far as the mysteries set around dog shows, I think they’d be fabulous. You need a hook for a cozy mystery series and everybody just loves dogs. Well, nearly everybody! Well, I love dogs! So there.

    Good luck to the new blog!

    1. Hey Anna!

      Thanks so much for your kind words! Yes, you’re right, I fit right in with pens, paws and claws. Ha!
      I know you’re a mystery lover too, so I’m excited that you think its a good direction. Grins.

      Happy writing!

  2. Hi Jeanne!

    A good mystery set in the environs of a dog show sounds great! Can’t say that I’m a big fan of Westminster, but I love both cats and dogs. Glad to hear that you’re possibly back in the show dog world. I know you missed it. Take care

  3. I would love to read a mystery about show dogs. I grew up with the following: Samoyed (2), Newfoundland (2), Standard Poodle, British Bull Dog, and a Dalmatian. As an adult, I had a Yellow Lab, and now I have a Wheaten Terrier. All great dogs. I write mysteries and love dogs, so this blog is wonderful!

    1. Hi Kristina! Oh, I’ll have to look for your books. Do you write under your own name?

      Oh, what a lovely parade of breeds you’ve gotten to love! Did you have a liver or black Dal? Wheaten’s are lovely dogs. Do you do the coat yourself or have a groomer? The Irish Water Spaniel is the first time I’ve had a coated breed – oh, so much hair! Grins.

      Thanks for visiting us…and yes, we’re the place for you if you love pets and mysteries! grins.

  4. I, too, would enjoy reading a mystery series set in the dog-show world. There have been some mysteries in that world already, I think, but there’s always room for more, especially if the dogs are patterned after the beautiful ones in your photos. LOVE the yellow one showing his teeth. So scary! 😉

    And I love Westminster. Watch nearly every year. Always root loudest for the labs, shepherds, golden retrievers, beagles, and bassets. I’m still waiting for the golden retriever to win best in show. It’s way overdue.

    1. Hey Barb! Yes, there have been some set in at dog shows. My friend, the late Judi McCoy, did a series of dog-walker mysteries that were just charming, and I know I’ve seen another dog-centric series. Grins. But, as you say, always room for more!
      The yellow Lab “grinning” in that photo was trying to catch a piece of popcorn. Silly girl. I miss her terribly. We lost her just two months ago. *Sniffle* She was 12 1/2. We adopted her, Bella, and her 1/2 sister, Mia (the black Lab) from Lab Rescue as a bonded pair. One of the best things we ever did.
      Isn’t Westminster a blast to watch? I do wish a Golden or an Irisher would win! Grins. Beagle’s won a right good many times, but not for a while now. It’s really fun for me too because I frequently know the judges and some of the competitors. :>

    1. Hey Susan! Lovely to “see” you! Grins. Thanks for the good wishes. He’s a fabulous dog and so much fun to have around. As to showing I hope he’ll just keep four feet on the floor as we go around, rather than bouncing and flying around the ring. Snork!
      Glad to know the mystery idea isn’t too far fetched – har, har, har!

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