AKC / Eukanuba National Championship – December 14 & 15, 2013: Czechoslovakian Vlčák Meet The Breed Booth
While the AKC / Eukanuba National Championship show has always had meet the breed booths, two years ago (2011) was the first time they allowed “Foundation Stock Services” (FSS) breeds to participate in meet the breeds. The first year it seems like AKC didn’t anticipate the amount of support from the FSS breeds they’d get because they only assigned 4- 8 feet long tables for all the breeds. I do not know if it was AKC realizing the amount of support from us or the FSS breeds’ appreciation for the opportunity and requests for an actual booth. In 2012 the AKC allowed us to have our own meet the breed booths in line with other breeds in alphabetical order and again we were very thankful. This is the second year we were able to have our own booth and it’s great to see the club’s booth grow each year. This year was Luna’s (Galomy Oak’s Aurora del Mango) third consecutive year being the “meet the breed” dog.
We arrived at the show grounds on the morning of December 13th, 2013 to attend some of the events, set up the booth, and meet up with some friends. The show we wanted to watch was over early so I was able to get the booth set up early (by noon) and surprisingly we had quite a few visitors during the day. It was great to have this “dress rehearsal” the day before the big event so we could talk to some people in a relaxed environment and give Luna a lot of time to try to meet people. A friend convinced us (in a peer pressure kind of way) to try out dock diving with her. Of course, Luna didn’t want any part of it and wouldn’t even go down the ramp to get her toy. I guess I’ll need to find a better motivation for her if I want to try it again in the future.
I don’t know how late we were at the show but we had a slow, but steady, flow of people wanting to learn about the breed. If I am able to go back to the show next year I will be sure to have the booth set up much earlier and spend the entire day (Friday) there. If the booths are set up earlier, I may go earlier. I was also able to walk her around the grounds a lot meeting people, all the distractions, the splashing from the dock diving, and all the loud noises from speakers and people. Never once did she break any commands or act scared.
Saturday (Dec 14th we were at the show by 8am and were manning the booth. I don’t know why other breeds aren’t there all day but I do feel it is important to educate the public about the breed, especially a rare breed like our vlčáks. The day got busy quickly and Luna was quite social in the morning to early afternoon, coming out of her crate often (I let her decide if she wanted to come out or stay in). She even kissed some people including one person in a wheel chair. I was pleasantly surprised that she was more social than she was last year but I could tell it was stressful for her but being the vlčák she is, she trucked on. She never acted inappropriately and always clearly communicated with me what she wanted. I gave her as much “time off” that she wanted so it would not stress her too much but also make sure it was a positive experience for her.
Sunday (Dec 15th) was a less busy day (as it usually is) and died down quickly throughout the day. Again, though, Luna was a champ. Acting social from time to time and letting me know when she wanted to go in her come out of her crate. We started to break down the booth around 3PM but someone was at the booth until 4:30 (when we left). We had a few people stop by, most notably one of the directors of AKC who was extremely nice and loved meeting Luna. We left about 10 brochures at the table when we left for anyone who stopped by later, I don’t know how many were left when the cleanup crew stopped by. I really have no measure of success with the booth other than Luna acted appropriately the entire time and out of 250 brochures I requested I have about 20 left – meaning about 220 were handed out (plus the 10 left at the booth). I would like to think it was a success again.
On behalf of the Czechoslovakian Vlcak Club of America I would like to give the AKC a heart filled thank you for allowing us, and other FSS breeds, meet the breed booths again this year. I do enjoy doing these booths and educating the public about our beloved breed.