New Year’s Wishes for Dog People

Pup Culture

By Bud Bocconemansfield new year

With just one tick of the clock, the old year’s cares are history and a fresh 12 months stretch out before us. Here are a few things worth hoping for in 2015.

May Great Dane owners get through the year without anyone asking, “How much does that thing eat?”

Let this be the year female handlers everywhere finally realize the impossible dream: ring shoes that are both sensible and stylish.

May an unsung, underpaid researcher squinting into a microscope at a veterinary college know a “Eureka!” moment. May a sensitive boy bullied by his peers gain a measure of grace by handling a dog in Juniors. And may a lost dog shivering in an alley once again know the warmth of a bed and the touch of a loving hand.

Let’s make this the year that no show superintendent has to explain to rain-soaked fanciers that he doesn’t control the weather.

May your win shots go unspoiled by a bad hair day or a wayward bra strap.

And wouldn’t it be nice if this year every ring steward got a hearty pat on the back?

Here’s hoping a dog of a maligned breed performs a spontaneous act of valor that challenges ignorant assumptions, and that more families take their unruly dog to a trainer instead of a shelter.

Somewhere there’s a weekend warrior loading her dog crates and driving through the lonely night to the next show, sustained by brown-bag sandwiches and tepid coffee. May she get an appreciative nod from a tough old judge as she exits the ring. And may the judge stop to consider that even the smallest kindness can mean a lot.

The dearest hope for military K-9s and handlers around the world is contained in a single powerful word: peace.

Let a guide dog for the blind help her owner achieve the dignity of independence. May the antics of a nursing-home therapy dog coax a smile from a troubled old soul who’s been written off as “unreachable.” To the police dogs, shepherd dogs, and guard dogs who work hard for their feed, here’s a year’s worth of belly-rubs for a job well done.

Let AKC staffers speak fondly of colleagues taken from us too soon, like Walt Bebout and Tom Glassford, who made us look good by simply showing up for work.

And may staff live by the words of an AKC president named William Buckley, who once assembled the troops to say, “Remember, the dogs are not here for us; we are here for the dogs.”

In the new year let’s remember that virtues we admire in our dogs–courage, trust, loyalty–are qualities worth cultivating in ourselves, and also that sportsmanship means winning gracefully as much as losing gracefully.

Wishing you a year sweeter than puppy breath, and may all your wins be 3-point majors.

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