Post No 1 – What I Did on My Vacation
Photo Credit: Gaye Janzen
Vacation! Who wants more than a few days off at a time to go to some exotic location and just soak in the sunshine? Not I. My vacations consist of weekends at agricultural fairgrounds, community centres, and arenas. No sunshine here (well sometimes when we’re outside); as we travel between Ontario and Quebec. My Bernese Mountain Dogs are the reason. Would you travel for hours to have fun with your dog?
We show my dogs in Canadian Canine Conformation. Conformation showing is all about whether or not your breed specific dog conforms to what the breed standards state is correct. Is the colour of their fur the right colour, do they fall within the height limits as set out in the standards, is their tail too long, are their ears too short, is their body the right shape . . . All of this is judged by judges who have worked for years to become a conformation judge. They must take classes on breed standards, they must be mentored by other judges, or breed specific breeders, pass tests and then they must judge a specific number of dogs within a breed before they can be qualified to judge that breed.
Enough of all the technical stuff, we have a blast every summer taking our Berners on adventures throughout Ontario and Quebec. This summer was no exception! We traveled to Knowlton, Quebec for the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Canada’s Canadian National Conformation Show. All the best of the best Berners were there from across Canada, the United States and I believe there was a couple there who traveled from Europe.
We left early Thursday morning, got stuck in rush hour traffic for about an hour and a half. Wasn’t that a great start to this “vacation” (can you just see the air quotes happening?). I’m not one who loves to drive on the 400 series highways so the delay was a little more aggravating than normal. We got through the traffic jam and started our eight-hour drive down the boring (and I mean boring) 401. Kilometer after kilometer ticked away and we finally arrived at our destination. Nine and half hours later – the reason is another story.
Upon arrival, we ran into so many friends and people we knew. It’s always a great time when you can vacay with friends; it makes the parties so much more fun. We needed to get settled in and set up – a friend rented an RV for us but it was a little small – I need to tell you that my husband is a bigger man and our dogs aren’t small – I’m not huge but I’m certainly not small and we could hardly fit us all in – just made for a cozier four days. The dogs didn’t like it at all – that was for sure!
For the next two and half days we competed in all the classes we were eligible to compete in – although my one guy won his class – he needed to move up the ladder and there was no more love after his class wins. All the dogs competing were the best and beautiful representations of this great breed. The judges came from all over the world (Austria, Australia, US, and Canada) had nothing but great comments about all of the competing dogs. We were happy for our friends and for our new friends who were honoured with some of the great wins. Sunday afternoon, we packed up and with a heavy heart said goodbye to friends we wouldn’t see for a while and some new friends we might not see again then headed back down the highway towards home.
Friends, dogs, ribbons, great weather and a mini vacation – could you ask for anything more??