Here again at the MPWCC Specialty Show, tension is building.  Best of Breed judging is happening as I type.  Judge Gayle Garvin (Garvin Corgis) has narrowed her choices to just 9 out of 22 Champions plus Winners Dog and Winners Bitch.

Hopes are high for one favorite or another.  Every dog in this ring is a seasoned performer, except for the class winners on the day.  I am rooting for either the Veteran Bitch or the Winners Bitch this year.

For the past two years in a row at MPWCC, Best of Breed has been awarded to one of the veterans.  But that’s unusual.  Sometimes it goes to Winners Dog or Winners Bitch, other times to a dog or bitch that has been winning a lot during the year.  I can’t tell for sure which way this judge will go today.  Suspense builds.

Oh my.  Now the judge is calling back to the ring several dogs and bitches that were previously dismissed.  That is highly unusual.  Let’s see where this goes.  This is getting interesting!

Little confession here:

I’m on a sugar high because during the break they served lemonade and red velvet cupcakes that were outrageous.  (Yes, I only ate one — but it was loaded with sugar!)

The crowd is hushed.  Everyone is focused on what’s happening in the ring.  Ah.  She’s made some more cuts and released another group from the ring again.  We are left with 5 dogs and bitches and the Winners Dogs, Bitches, and Veterans.

One additional feature of this show is that AKC has a new status:  Grand Champion.  I’ve read the new rules several times and can’t say that I really understand it yet; I have no idea whether some of what’s happening in the ring has to do with the new Grand Champion rules or not.  I suppose we will find out in due course.

Waiting.  The judge is about to make her choice.  You can hear the puppies breathing behind me; Bizzy just woke up and her piercing bark echoes through the room but no one pays attention.  Annnnd. . . the winner is:

Veteran Bitch Ch. Heronsway March Madness CD NA NAJ OAP OJP (Connie)

Annnnd . . . Connie was also just awarded the club’s first Grand Champion award.

This is a super sweet win for her owner, Joanne Baker (the outgoing and hard-working club President, who put all those titles after her name for performance events.  This is a bitch who has titles at both ends, a champion in multiple events.

Connie was shown to perfection by her breeder, Anne Bowes.  The happy winners carried an armful of ribbons and trophies out of the ring, practically floating on air.

To other dogs, Awards of Merit and additional Grand Champion awards were given.  I didn’t get them all down, but I congratulate them all too.  Best Puppy will be awarded soon.

Betony is resting at my feet.  Bizzy is bouncing around in someone’s arms.  The crowd is thrilled for the nice wins.  It’s sweet for the owner, breeder, and the club.

There are still a couple more events to come, but the main event is over.  I will soon take down my booth and get ready for the banquet in a few hours.   When all is said and done, we will go home happy but tired, good sports who know how to celebrate a good win even if it isn’t our own.

We will go home to our own dogs, kids, cats, and families, remembering why it is we love our Pembrokes so much.  We will be glad to have visited with friends old and new, and to have seen some of the promising new generations of Pembrokes, young handlers, and those greats of the breed who one day will be only a memory.

Today’s memories will be captured on film, in blog posts like this one, and live in our hearts — where they belong most of all.

Thanks for sharing this part of the journey with me; I hope you enjoyed a rare glimpse into a piece of my life that I don’t often get a chance to share with you.  I hope you’ve enjoyed it too 🙂

I will update all these blog posts with pictures as soon as we can get them processed.

Meanwhile, wishing all of you a great weekend — and a happy Fathers’ Day for all the Dads out there.