Yes folks...you read the headline correctly. Sherilyn actually ventured into the ring, and not just the "Reserve Ring" as she is so proud of mentioning. She claims to be the "Reserve Queen", and only goes in for the Reserves. Not this weekend.
We got into a little bit of a bind this weekend at the St. Joseph, MO shows. My normal handler backups, Cindy, Alec, and Meredith,all decided to stay home and conserve money for Nationals later this spring. My other backups, Linda and M'Kayla were busy in other rings showing their client dogs. So, what happens? Bear decides that he LIKES to show with Dad (good thing, right?), and goes out and wins Winner's Dog two out of the three days. Friday, Linda ekes out just enough time to help us out, but Bear isn't liking this turn of events, and becomes a little butt (bad thing). Saturday, everyone is busy. So...we have a Winner's Dog and no handler, as I am showing Phantom in Best of Breed.
Sherilyn takes Bear in the ring, trying not to puke due to her nervousness, and tries to get Bear to listen. Yeah, right. Dad and Doggy Dad are in the ring having a good time and he VERY MUCH wants to be a part of it. Bear is hearing me give Boo commands and Boo's counter-barking talking back at me and bouncing all over the ring. He kept turning around and paying attention to me instead of her.
I then hear something along the lines of, "Rus, what do I do? He won't listen to me and he keeps turning around." I tell her to wave the food under his nose (He's 7 months old and lives to eat), cinch up the collar, and the other usual handler stuff. Our friend Paul is standing right in front of her with his special, and so helpfully chimes in, "Just kick him...he'll pay attention then!" LOL We all start laughing, and Bear promptly parks his rear end right on Sherilyn's shoe.
By this time, as anyone who handles a dog on a regular basis but can remember those terrifying first few trips to the ring, time has seemingly stood positively still for the last month, but you're moving like you're late for work. Thoughts are slow in coming and reactions are very quick. Sherilyn realizes that if she turns Bear around so that he can comfortably see Dad and Boo, that maybe he'll behave. So she executes a gorgeous spin and places Bear facing us at an angle, which beautifully showed off his front. Bear plants his feet perfectly....ears up, neck arched, and all focus is on Dad. She says, "Where's dad?" Yup..it's a winner!! Bear gets picked for Best of Winners, and another handler is born.