You know I wasn't even going to write about this. It was so traumatic for me as a mother. I am sure you can relate. Many of you have probably sent your kids off to camp for the first time.
Well, you see, it wasn't my idea. Dad had the bright idea of using some new handlers to show Angus and Roxie at the International Kennel Club show at McCormick Place in Chicago and to send Roxie and Angus off to live with the handlers for the week prior so that they could bond and practice. The handlers called it Puppy Camp and dad seemed to buy into that. I don't know why. He hated the swim camps his parents sent him off to every summer when he was but a wee child. He told me one of them wasn't really a camp at all. He just stayed with a host family in Florida and they dropped him off at the pool every morning for a horrible day of intense training under the watch of some supposedly brilliant coach. He HATED it.
I, on the other hand, wasn't so sure about this whole camp thing. You might know that Roxie and Angus and I have never been apart, really, since the day they were born. I tried to tell myself it would be a growth experience for everyone involved. It wasn't so bad for me because I was visiting Iowa and had my little Rufus to keep my mind off my other pups, but I did miss them horribly.
So, after a week, dad and I traveled to Chicago to the International Kennel Club show at McCormick Place in Chicago. The show was a regional specialty for Tibetan Terriers so there were beaucoup TTs. We had to watch all the pups in the sweepstakes competition before the Best of Breed competition. There were lots of cute pups there. A sweepstakes is a competition that is typically held for puppies and veterans (over 7-years old) that doesn't count toward a championship, but it is prestigious to do well at a regional specialty or national specialty show sweepstakes. At least in our narrow little world it is. The sweepstakes winners typically take home a small cash prize and some sort of tchotchke. Like a wall plaque with a TT plastered to it or a tea set decoupaged with frolicking TTs. Angus and Roxie are too old for the puppy sweepstakes and they are champions. Roxie took Best of Opposite Sex at a regional specialty sweepstakes when she was a pup. Angus took Best of Winners and Best Puppy. Now that they are young champions, they were set to compete in the Best of Breed competition.
After what seemed like forever, the sweepstakes were concluded and it was time for the Best of Breed competition. While waiting. I smurfed around McCormick Place and met a cute TT named Tadpole.
Anyway, Roxie came around the ring first with the girls and she was looking pretty fine. Angus soon followed with the boys and after he rounded the first corner he put on the breaks and took a HUGE poop. His handler seemed quite surprised. As someone was bringing some tissue to pick up the mess, I noticed that Roxie was in position and was taking an equally LARGE POOP in the opposite corner. Well. This stopped the competition dead in its tracks as a clean up crew in what looked like HAZMAT suits entered the ring. I didn't know what to make of all of this. Soon order returned and the TTs began to move around the ring again, but as soon as they got started Angus took another BIG poop. The clean up crew returned and while they were still in the ring he took a third LARGE poop. It wasn't like he was sick. I mean these were nice well-formed specimens. You become an expert in these things when you're a mom. Well we might as well have left the ring after that. But, as I'm sure you know, the show must go on. Thank goodness that was the last of the poops from my kids. But as Angus took his last swing around the ring, he stopped dead in his tracks again and took the longest pee I have ever seen. He closed his eyes and looked like he was in some sort of trance and seemed genuinely relieved after he was finally done. Needless to say, we didn't receive any awards of merit.
The International Kennel Club is a benched show which means that all the entered dogs (and bitches) have to stay there all day in their crates. The idea is that people can come and see the different breeds and learn about them. I decided most of these dogs prance around the ring just cause they are so darn happy to be out of their crates for a minute. But what do I know? I do know that Roxie and Angus and I are used to lots of freedom and good, long walks and lots of fresh air. As Roxie and Angus and I were leaving McCormick Place, Angus took another large poop and Roxie took one soon after. I don't think they had pooped in 10 days. That's when I decided NO MORE PUPPY CAMP for my kids. Dad agreed. I think he felt like a dog.