Bo Bengtson At Large: Give Thanks

Sometimes it's a good idea to sit back and reflect on the fact that we are, in fact, incredibly lucky.

By Bo Bengtson | December 27, 2012

We dog people complain a lot — have you noticed? Not that there's a shortage of things for us to be unhappy about, but sometimes it's a good idea to sit back and reflect on the fact that we are, in fact, incredibly lucky, too. This is as good a time as any — as of this writing, just a few weeks are left until the end of the year, the holidays are coming up and a new show season is just around the corner.

Here's a list of a few things I think we should all be grateful for. Let me count the ways...

  • We're lucky to live in a country where everyone loves dogs. Well, perhaps not quite everyone, but the overwhelming majority. Our newly re-elected president even referred to the family dog in his inaugural speech last month, even if it was to the effect that one dog was enough, at least for now. The fact that the First Family has a purebred Portuguese Water Dog sends a powerful, positive message to everyone. Yes, we have problems with authorities and rabid anti-breeding groups, but think how hard it would be to fight the antis if most people didn't actually like dogs! 
  • We're lucky to have a national kennel organization that does an awful lot of good. Sure, I'll go AKC-bashing as much as anyone, but in spite of less than ideal swiftness when it comes to necessary changes within various "special interest" areas, we should be grateful for AKC's ability to function on a larger scale. This was amply evidenced during the recent Hurricane Sandy disaster and is regularly proven by AKC's commitment to such programs as the Humane Fund, the Canine Health Foundation, Companion Animal Rescue and others. Most of us take these for granted, but they were unheard of just a couple of decades ago. And say what you like, I think it's lucky that AKC is making an effort to embrace all dogs, not just purebreds. (That's a controversial issue, I know.) So by all means let's try to improve what needs to be changed within AKC (and that's a lot), but let us also be grateful that AKC by and large functions as well as it does. Would you exchange it for any foreign kennel club? I don't think so. And they register your puppies quickly and efficiently, too, don't they?
  • We're lucky to have some of the best dog shows in the world right here in the US. No, they aren't the biggest, but the best ones are simply great. The rest of the world has nothing like Westminster, to take an obvious example, and although the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship is a very different type of show, it has become a truly exciting world event in just a little more than a decade. Let's not forget those of our national specialties that have developed into celebrations of every aspect of a breed — there's nothing like them anywhere else in the world.
  • We're all, by definition, luckier than most simply because we are involved in dogs. That's worth thinking about for a second: that we can keep dogs and go to shows (however much scrimping and saving is involved) immediately puts us in a small, privileged group ahead of the untold millions who are not so fortunate. Yes, there's always someone who can afford to campaign dogs on a different level than you do ... but the fact that you are able to show dogs at all means you're automatically privileged in a way many aren't.
  • Most of all, of course, we're lucky to have the greatest creature on earth as the center of our interest. It doesn't matter which aspects we choose to focus on — breeding, showing, judging or just keeping dogs. It's an interest that helps us get up in the morning and puts color on an otherwise gray day. If you're lucky you're able to appreciate the variety that the whole spectrum of purebred dogs offers, but regardless of what you do in dogs or what kind of dogs you have, you know you're dealing with nature's (and mankind's) most fascinating, loving and faithful creation.

And that really is something to be grateful for. I hope you had a great holiday and will have a happy new year!


From the December 2012 (2013 Annual) issue of Dogs In Review magazine. Purchase the December 2012 digital back issue or subscribe to receive 12 months of Dogs In Review magazine.


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