Sunday, November 10, 2013

Dogs and Small Boys

My nephew and niece, Jon and Laura, are moving soon, from Chicago to Virginia. This means that our two to two-and-a-half hour trip to visit them will become a ten to eleven hour trip instead. We are thrilled that they have found gainful employment, but we are sad that they'll be so far away.

Much to our delight, they came for a visit on Friday. We ate some lunch (Jon was starving), and played in the park (I think the park is the highlight for the little guys). Then we all headed to the fairground, where there are dog shows all weekend. Friday's show was sponsored by the Grand Rapids Kennel Club.

When going to a dog show, I highly recommend taking along several small boys. It will shorten your stay - we only made it through a couple Best in Group judgings - but the handlers we met were delighted to talk with M and C, and help them pet the dogs. (Admittedly, you should try to find several small boys who are also exceedingly charming.)

When we watched the hound group (my favorite, because: Beagles!), we were positioned at the far end of the ring from the actual judging. So the handlers were pretty relaxed as they came our way, and they chatted with the boys, and showed off their dogs a bit.

Here are C and one of the dogs (unfortunately, I have no great pictures of M):

Mutual admiration: C and a Saluki
These photos (also from the hound group) were taken without flash, and therefore are a bit shaky.

Elkhound, adoring his handler
(and, I suspect, waiting
for a treat)

Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen (PBGV),
just being cute

Beagles! Large (15") and Small (13")
We saw dogs being groomed, and dogs that were just hanging out. I met my first Leonberger - a good looking (albeit very large) fellow. Lots of Corgis wandering around - it must have been near time for their judging. We saw some tiny little Chihuahuas heading out, and many other breeds, all of which M pointed out with glee. (It was delightful to have M take my hand and drag me off to see some dog or other.)

We headed back home, where - surprise! - we went to the park again. After dinner, we played Farkle, and had Laura and Jon show us (again - Joyce had taught us last summer) how to play Liar's Dice. I clearly was at a disadvantage - I could not remember the rules at all (I'm sure everyone was tired of my repeatedly asking for yet another explanation, although everyone was unfailingly polite). I definitely had no clue regarding strategy! Ah well.

Speaking of dogs... I recently read Mary Oliver's Dog Songs. I generally enjoy Mary Oliver's poetry, and (as any who have read my blog will know) I am somewhat fond of dogs. Accordingly, I thought this would be the perfect book - but not so. Shortly after starting this book, I heard the quote from Oscar Wilde, "All bad poetry springs from genuine feeling," and immediately thought of the Oliver book. It is clear she genuinely loves her dogs, but the poetry is, for the most part, below the quality I am used to seeing in her work.

Still, there were some that I liked. I first heard this one on The Writer's Almanac, back in September.
How It Is with Us, and How It Is with Them
by Mary Oliver

We become religious,
then we turn from it,
then we are in need and maybe we turn back.
We turn to making money,
then we turn to the moral life,
then we think about money again.
We meet wonderful people, but lose them
     in our busyness.
We're, as the saying goes, all over the place.
Steadfastness, it seems,
is more about dogs than about us.
One of the reasons we love them so much.
I did like the pencil drawings in the book; my favorite is the cover photo of Ben, who reminds me of our Bonnie.

Bonnie, for whom life is
all about the smells


  1. Ok so the Beagles are sooooo cute!!

    1. I'm sure there were cute boxers too, but alas, we were there at the wrong time to see any...