Wednesday, 21 May 2008

The Injustice of Judges

God knows I hate to be judged, but the thing about being a writer is that you are essentially inviting the whole world to judge you, should they feel inclined to. In fact you are rather hoping that at least some of the world will want to judge you, and that a percentage of them will rule in your favour.

On the whole I'm fairly immune to the judgements of others. For example I wear what I like, which is usually party wear even if its a rainy Monday morning and I'm taking my daughter to school. Like the lead character in the book I am writing I'm 'a woman who enjoys a sequin on a weekday and has a rule that the the heels of my shoes should never dwindle below three inches.' Subsequently some peole look at me a little askance on the school run, but what do I care? The answer is I don't. Life is too short for sensible shoes and a raincoat.

So me, judge me all you like - I can take it. But please DO NOT JUDGE MY DOG.

Yes this blog is all about my dog not winning HAPPIEST DOG category at the local dog show last weekend. Its a travesty.

My dog, Polly is a standard poodle. She's not a poodlefied poodle, she doesn't have the poodle hair cut, she rolls about in mud and likes to steal food - just now she stole an entire packet of fresh Parmesan out of the fridge is even now sleeping it off on the sofa murmuring Italian in her dreams. She would never win crufts. She was the decided runt of the litter, a good deal smaller than she should be, with buck teeth and a wonky eye. And well....lets put it this way I used to take her to puppy training classes but she got expelled for leading the other puppies astray.

I have never planned a life of dog show glory for her. But when my little girl begged me to take her to the local dog show where there were categories like 'Prettiest eyes' and 'Best rescue dog' I had to relent.

'Polly will definitely win 'Happiest Dog, Mummy,' my daughter cried. 'Look at her!'

And at the time she was snacking on one of my best shoes and she did look pretty pleased with herself, so I thought why not?

I should have known that we weren't going to fit in when the man on the registration desk looked at me wrestling Polly to a standstill and asked me 'Does she behave?'
'Yes she does,' I informed him tartly. Because it was true, of course she 'behaves' as long as you are non-specific as to type of behaviour then you cannot deny that she 'behaves' only it is usually quite badly.

Also I didn't have the right uniform on. Yes it was a county dog show, but I thought it was more for fun and fundraising than anything. I didn't know that a wellington boot and a barber jacket were obligatory. I thought a gold sling back and a red summerfrock would be fine. Plus whilst we were waiting for our class to come on an ice cream was dropped and Polly rather smartly helped save the environment by polishing it off - leaving her with ice creamed smeared chops that only just surpassed that of my daughters.

So eventually it was our turn to line up to be judged. Me, my dog and daughter stood in line with spaniels and dobermans, collies and Labradors, mongrels and pure breeds and I'm thinking this is a cinch - we are defiantly going win - sure these dogs look happy but my dog is the only one jumping up and down and barking and you can't get happier than that.

The judge approached us, I wanted to ask her how she quantified happiness in a pet, was it a look in their eye, the cock of a tail or tilt of an ear or was it that they were literally jumping for joy - because that was what my dog was doing, edging her far ahead of the field I'd say.

Only I didn't get a chance to ask her because before I could Polly put her front paws on the judges shoulders and licked her face all over.

'She's happy to see you,' I said enthusiastically. The judge did not smile back.

We waited for a long time while she frowned and looked up and down the lines of dogs. There were six prizes. Polly didn't even get one.

And that my friends, is a travesty. I demand an enquiry.

18 comments:

Lane said...

No! That's a travesty indeed!
One of my dogs came fourth in 'Best Rescue Dog'. I won't tell you how many were in the class:-)

Caroline said...

That is so unfair!!!

Don't they know who you are :)

Poor Polly.

xxx

JaneyV said...

How indeed do they quantify happy? Polly sounds like the happiest pooch alive! I love a standard poodle (as long as they don't have the stupid haircut - that is doggie abuse!) they have the most delicious fur and they don't moult. When I'm next up in the old home town we must take our respective happy canines for a happy walk up the woods. Tess is a manic collie/lab/retriever cross and it sounds like they'd wear each other out.
There's nothing nicer than a worn out happy dog.

Rowan Coleman said...

lets definitely do that Janey! Thanks for you comments friends. My dog is over it now, I might need some more therapy.

sheepish said...

Now I suppose if I told you that one of my dogs actually got to Crufts you would probably have me drummed out of the Novel Racers!!!!! This post deserves to be in a novel it made me laugh, oh sorry I didn't realise you were being serious!!!!!

Rowan Coleman said...

Sheepih - yor dog ot to crufts! I am not worthy!!! I'd love to go to crufts but I don't think I'd gt in the door....

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

Or if not in a novel, it would make a terrific short story. Sorry about the travesty - but look on the bright side, it's wonderful material!

wordtryst said...

LOL! Demand a recount!

She sounds like a lovely pooch.

DK Leather said...

~laughs~ disgraceful!

However I thoroughly enjoyed the writing of this particular... tail.

Fiona said...

I am affronted for Polly. Stuffy old judge.
My three dogs have never won anything either and I've entered them in a few shows. They are wide eyed with indifference so don't worry too much.

CC Devine said...

Outrageous!

jh said...

Ridiculous! As the owner of a short-legged sheepdog with rescue dog issues, I can recommend a very good local 'Dog Listener' if Polly needs cheering up - but she sounds wag-happy to me!

J x

Rowan Coleman said...

Thank you guys, Polly is over it now I think, she consoled herself by eating a four pack of bagels....I Dog listener? could they cure a certain poodle of her passion for bread products?

ChrisH said...

I feel miffed on Polly's behalf.
Rowan, sorry not to get back to you about Hay - I've had broadband meltdown for nearly two weeks.

L-Plate Author said...

If I entered Mack in anything he would have to only be showed on a certain side. He's had dog bels palsy, if it is different for a dog. Half of his face sagged for six months before his muscles contracted too much leaving him with a white fang showing on one side. At least he still has his Staffie smile. But I bet he still wouldn't woo that judge! x

Lucy Diamond said...

Hi Rowan,
Just wanted to say I'm reading The Accidental Wife and LOVING it! I want a neighbour like Kirsty, she is hilarious - and I love Leila's Jesus-isms too - and oh, I really REALLY hope for a happy ending between J and C...
It's so well written, warm and funny. Can't wait to get back to it!
xx

Michele said...

Hello! I just finished reading the Accidental Mother and thoroughly enjoyed it! I posted about it on my blog. I look forward to the Accidental wife being released in the US.

Kate.Kingsley said...

Aw, poor Polly ~ I LOVE poodles ~ they are ALWAYS happy!


PS: I've added you to the coffee break rota for 22/8 & 29/8 ~ I hope those dates are suitable. Can you let me know if you'd rather change them?

Thanks
Kate