Tonight I leave for my first show as Valerie’s assistant. This is the true test of the job! I already know that I like Valerie and Peter (and I’m certain I’ll like Lauren too!), so this weekend will be about whether or not I like being an assistant. It will also give me an idea of what it’s like to be a pro handler so that I can start forming some ideas on whether or not the work is what I want. After all, I’m only being an assistant as a stepping stone to becoming a pro!
The best part: Wally gets to go even though he’s not entered. I’ll start entering him in July shows, which will give me two show weekends of learning the ropes and three weeks to find show clothes (wool blazers might be awesome in WA for 90% of the year but they suck in CA for 100% of the year).
Right now both Wally and I have ouchy feet. My feet ache from being on concrete all day, I’ll have to do some research and possibly buy shoes. Or maybe just cushy insoles since expensive sneakers would quickly become crappy sneakers in a kennel job. Wally’s feet hurt from the new terrain he’s walking and playing on. In WA we were always on lush grass or city sidewalks but here in Southern California we’re on dry dirt and gravel. The change has made his feet sore to walk on and tender between the pads.
The good news is that gravel is the best surfacing for developing foot strength in dogs, so the more we walk on it the better Wally’s feet will get. Peter told me about this yesterday when I mentioned to him that Wally seemed to be limping (don’t worry, it’s just the ouchy feet and not an injury). Apparently gravel footing helps to toughen up the pads and tighten up the foot, with a tight foot being especially desirable for show dogs. I guess some university did a study with Greyhounds running on different types of footing, although I can’t seem to find the study online. Not surprising really, maybe I’ll hit up PubMed!