So let me narrow down the audience for this one.  First, you are someone that trains and shows dogs in AKC obedience or rally.  Second, you care about my experiences and opinions.  Now that there are 2 of you left, here I go!

I promised myself to always be honest in my blogs and honesty is NOT always pretty.  Be warned.  Plus, I believe that if people want you to write nice things about them then they should behave nicely.  And if you only write what is true then it’s not libel or slander. 

Other than dog training, writing makes me feel better.  It helps me process events and information and make sense of them.  I think this is true for many introverts like myself.  We don’t always know what we think and feel until we’ve had time to reflect on it.  Since this bothers me so much I need to write about it.  I’m sharing it because I know so many of my friends train and show dogs in a variety of venues. 

First, the good part.  My dogs are freakin’ awesome!  Zen and Star went to Columbus for the weekend and did a fabulous job in Rally.  I love to train and lately, dog training has been my therapy.  It has been the major thing that makes me feel somewhat normal since Chris got sick and passed away.  At first, it was very hard, harder than it’s ever been. Dog training has always been somewhat natural to me.  But after everything that happened I couldn’t remember how to do simple things.  I made really dumb mistakes on courses.  My brain was not functioning normally.  Stress can truly have cognitive as well as emotional manifestations.  But I kept going because it’s what I do.  If dog training didn’t make me feel better then nothing ever would.  I got better and so did my dogs.  I worked on problems and saw success, which made me feel even better.  Zen’s heeling, in particular, has improved greatly.  And Star’s reactivity is being managed very well indeed.  So I was happy with my dogs and with myself. 

Clearly, I am a dog person and not a people person.  Anyone that knows me knows that.  But I try to be “normal” and polite.  Try is the operative term here.  I know I’m not always the most sociable or easygoing person in the room. So I do admit and accept my part in what happened. 

Anyway, yesterday Zen finished his RAE2 title and I was really happy.  I worked hard for that title.  It means something to me.  It’s about dedication, teamwork, and conquering challenges.  Maybe it means nothing to some people, but it means a lot to me.  I was excited to go in the ring for ribbons.  Zen was also second with 99s in both classes, so it was very nice.  There was some confusion during and after awards, but the club members told all of us that earned titles to wait and get our ribbons and prizes.  We waited and when we got to the head of the line the club members were out of ribbons and prizes and asked me “are you sure you earned a title?”  So my response was a thoughtless “do you think I’m lying?”  That set the tone for a very bad experience.  I should have been more patient, sure, but they then made it much, much worse.  One said to the other “if she wants a ribbon she needs to go to the other building and get it”.  I love being talked about 1) like I don’t exist and 2) like I’m a major inconvenience.  I’m sure my face reflected that because the club member then said “never mind!  I’ll go do it!” in a very unpleasant manner and flounced off.  So my pleasure and excitement over getting great scores and a nice title with my dog were totally shattered.  I left the ring and went to pack up.  The club member did find me and practically tossed the ribbon at me saying “here” then walked away.   The other “prize” given to all other title earners was not offered.  A friend insisted on getting it for me, but at that point I certainly didn’t want anything else from this club, ever.

I have shown in AKC events for 20 years and this was, by far, the worst I have ever been treated by anyone.  I just wanted to pack up and get the heck out of there as fast as possible.  I was made to feel like I was causing trouble and doing something unacceptable by expecting what the club offered. 

You might think this would be the end of the story, but no, it actually got much much worse.  I left not only never wanting to deal with those particular people or that particular club again, but feeling like this venue is definitely not for me in the future.  You’ll have to wait for part 2 to hear the rest of the story.