Oscar and the Chocodiva

Online home for Oscar and the ChocoDiva or, to be precise, the online home for Morrigan's Cu mac Shimidh and Morrigan's Godiva.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Going for Breed

As if my poor heart hadn't had enough emotional upheaval, Oscar had to go and win Best of Breed on Saturday. What's he trying to do, kill me?

Ha! Yes! Oscar won Best of Breed on Saturday under Judge Don Jones. This was a funny thing. I'm sure Dad was laughing his head off as he watched me watch Os and Gary.

Here's the gist:

First it was weird not having a dog in the classes. I kept feeling like I needed to be somewhere, but there was nowhere for me to be until I took the ChocoDIva in. So in we went in Open Bitches (where we both SO belong), which we won. I'm happy and hopeful, for there seem to be a lot of girls there. My thought processes on show days, however, are never ever reliable as I'm a mass of nerves. I don't want to spend too mcuh time of Choco's wins as she deserves her own posts when I get done with the OsMan. She won Winner's Bitch, though and so in we went for Breed.

Except Mr. Jones had an observer in the ring this day and seemed determined to do things in a certain way that had everyone very confused. He held WD and WB out, then kicked the females competing for breed out of the ring too, which included Os and Choc's neice Roxie. He only wanted the males in at first. Then I think he completly dismissed a few of them. Then he brought the females back in and then the WD and WB. The Winner's dog, by the way, was Beowulf's something something Balou Moon who is a beautiful dog who also finished his championship this weekend.

Anyway, I'm at the end of the line in the ring where it sort of wraps around a corner watching as the judge lines up Os and another dog and seems to judge them head to head. He's whispering back and forth with his observer and seems to be giving it a lot of thought and then makes them each go down to the corner and back again and line up at the opposite side. The other dog had been in front of Oscar, but when they came back from the little trot, he had Oscar go ahead of this other dog. Meanwhile, I'm over in this corner making ridiculous noises and wondering if I'm really seeing what I'm seeing. Ann Skyler-Cobbett was handling Balou and being very kind to me and I think it was her presence that kept me from being insane. Then the judge pointed to Oscar. Mind you, I'm still in the ring with Chocolate! I started jumping up and down in place and then covered my mouth, 'cause I just knew I was going to scream. Poor Chocolate was sorely neglected for those few moments. But my boy, the day old champion, had just won BEST OF BREED!

In future, I'll handle it better, I'm sure, but Saturday I cried. Then we called Jim and I screamed. My boy, my baby boy.

He entered the Working Class Group ring Saturday about 4:30pm, representing the Mastiff with style at the hands of CJ Harve. I had to hide, along with Dad, Mom and Jim who had dropped everything to come and watch. We all watched from behind the crowd. I cried some more.

We didn't make the cut this time, but we'd made it to group and I couldn't have been happier. As everyone knows, I have no children and never will. Os and Choc are my children and watching him strut his stuff in the Group Ring must have felt like what a parent feels when a child graduates or some similar accomplishment. We'd worked so hard, put in so much effort and there was the reward. And I think Os knew he was getting some attention. In a couple of the pictures, CJ's talking to the crowd around the ring and Os looks like he's grinning, I swear.

And then when he did his down and back for the judge, people in the crowd, strangers, cheered for him. That was mind-numbingly amazing. Of course I think he's beautiful. Of course his breeder thinks he's beautiful. But these were strangers, and yet dog people, who thought my baby boy was worthy of their claps and cheers. Wow.

A Family Affair

So for Oscar's championship weekend, he had an entire cheering section that included BOTH his Grandpa and his Grandma. What a treat for him. What a treat for me:)

These two pictures, and most from the previous post, were taken by my mother, Suzi Metz. The first one is of my dad calling Tamela and a rather satisified looking Os. I'm posting the second simply because my baby boy looks so adorable!

A Champion is Made

Dog shows are fun.

Simple sentence. Simple fact. Simple bit of nonsense that is oh so easily forgotten when one is stepping into the ring. Lest we fool ourselves, this is a competition. And who in their right mind wants to lose?

Certainly not me.

Hence my somewhat sadly drawn conclusion to retire him unfinished some weeks ago when Oscar and I started the August Atlanta weekend shows. I’d taken it into my head to show Oscar myself, and I think I did a reasonable job of it, with one troubling exception. While he would move fine for me, he had no expression on his face. After all, what was there to be interested in? Trotting around in a circle? Please. Trotting around in a circle next to Mom? Whatever, he sees me everyday. Nothing interesting there. How was I supposed to finish him when he was barely tolerating the silly circling of the ring, and would obviously rather be somewhere else? Besides that, Os is big and when he shifts around being bored, he practically tosses me around the ring. Like most mastiffs, Os doesn't stand, he leans.

Coming out of the ring that August Saturday with a lousy YELLOW ribbon, I was beyond disappointed. As I was waiting to go in with Chocolate, I struck up a conversation with a lovely woman with Bernese Mountain Dogs. My frustration was like a foul aftertaste in my mouth and she commiserated with me like only another dog show person can. Yes, she said, it is frustrating. Yes, he is beautiful, what a heartbreak it must be. You should meet my handler, she said.

I was wary, but truthfully, willing to grasp any rope thrown our way. So I met Gary Sheetz, her handler, Saturday and resolved to introduce Oscar to him and see what Oscar thought. I arrived at the Sunday show early and promptly hauled Oscar over to meet Gary. Immediate connection. Really, Os took to Gary like Gary was his long lost best friend. I was delighted and not a little surprised. See, Oscar has been described as a Mastiff Ambassador, a Used Car Salesman and a million other things that basically mean he’s never met a stranger. But while he has never met a stranger and wants to meet every single living being on the planet, the second he turns away, he’s forgotten them. Not so with Gary.

Os and Gary entered the ring on Sunday and stole the show. They were perfect and went on to win Winner’s Dog and a 3 point major. Needless to say, I am completely and utterly sold on the handling expertise of Gary Sheetz. As this rather companionable pat between pals illustrates, Os thinks he's pretty great, too.

So entering the September Atlanta shows, Oscar had 14 points and two majors. A pretty comfortable place to be, but something easily forgotten when I saw all the beautiful dogs competing on Friday. While I’m getting a tiny bit—a very tiny bit—of experience, I am still absurdly nervous both for watching my boy and then for knowing I’m going to be taking the ChocoDiva in. So I’m standing at ringside gripping Choc’s leash for all I’m worth, praying my boy doesn’t misstep, that the judge sees the beautiful boy that I see and awards him accordingly. But remembering the times he’s been overlooked or snubbed.

Sometimes, things just fall into place. Ribbons fell smack dab on my boy Friday. Judge Carmen Battaglia pointed to Oscar for the blue ribbon in open dog. Yes! We’d made it out of the class. At this point, my heart is pounding and it’s suddenly very hot in the Exposition Center. So close...

And then the time came for Winner’s Dog and a truly magical moment came to pass--the sort that burn into your brain and you know you'll remember them for all time. Judge Battaglia pointed to Oscar!

I didn’t scream. I sort of squeaked. My eyes watered and I kept blinking away the tears and clenched my teeth—I had to keep it together, just a little longer. A single refrain repeated over and over in my head: he did it, he did it, he did it! And I still had to take my girl in and I thought, if I made a cake of myself, that wouldn’t look good for Chocolate.

But I met Gary and Oscar at the gate and you better believe that I hugged Gary for all I was worth. He’s a dream of a handler and put Oscar in the spotlight with an ease that boggles the mind. At one point when the dogs had been getting ready to go around as a group, when they’d taken possibly 5-6 steps out, Os had started to pace. Gary stopped the entire group and started him over. I was shocked and immediately scared about what sort of repercussions that would have. But not only did the judge allow it, he warned the rest of the group to give Os room. And then Os strutted his big ol’ self around the ring like nobody’s business.

People have commented about Os and his pacing and I’ve been embarrassed about it for long enough. This last weekend, Os proved that not only can he walk, he can trot, run, sing and dance like a champion.

He's my pet that turned into a competetive show dog, my baby boy who now ansers to Champ. He's my Oscar, thank you very much, Champion Morrigan’s Cu Mac Shimidh.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Oscar's Second Major!

Yes, it finally came! His picture from the last show in August. Gary Sheetz is handling and the judge is Mr Roger R. Hartinger. Os won his class, then Winner's Dog and then Best of Winners over his little niece Miss Roxie. This was Gary's first time handling Oscar and the pair really did well. I was beyond pleased. Contrary to the deer-in-the-headlights look I have on my face, I was jumping up 'n down for joy. I had just about given up on my baby boy! But he just needs one measly little point to earn the title 'Champion' in front of his name and Gary's handling again this weekend. My hopes are high!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Dang, can you tell I'm still new at this, or what??

Whoo-hooo! Chocolate's show picture came in the mail today. Hopefully, Oscar's will arrive on Monday. Regardless, here it is. She's so much prettier than this picture shows-I simply get so very nervous when the camera's turned our way. Ha, who am I kidding? I'm so nervous on show days, I can hardly remember my name.

The judge is Mrs. Terry L Berrios who was ever so very kind to me, even when she had to remind me of what I was supposed to be doing. She also remarked on how pretty Choco's rear was, though you can't tell in this wretched picture. (on a side note, it feels very odd to remark upon a "rear" ) Chocolate's ungainly presentation here is completely my fault.

My goal for the next show? Achieve a perfect Show Picture. I know the Chocodiva is up to. The question is, am I?

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Baby Diva

Papa Jim sent this picture saying that no Chocobaby collection could be complete without this image. I have to agree. What a precious girl.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Chocolate's Show Pictures

Everyone has to promise to remember that this is my very first show and prior to this Chocolate had only been out once as a baby. So we were both newbies and her stack reflects that. However, doesn't she look beautiful?

In the first picture, she'd won reserve. The judge was a very nice woman by the name of Nikki Riggsbee who gave me a lot of pointers afterwards.

In the second picture, Chocolate had just won Opposite. Again, she overcame her handling to succeed.

I know these are already up at Jim's site, but I think I'm getting impatient for the pics from her win in Atlanta. I'm posting these to tide me over until then!

The ChocoDiva

This picture is from May of this year, and while perhaps not her most flattering, shows Chocolate's alternate personality, the Princess Goober, at the forefront. See, Choc pretends to be a Diva, but at heart, she's a bit of a clown.