You Can’t Win ‘Em All

We Was Robbed 4We took our puppy to her first dog show recently (just for a bit of fun and ‘socialisation’, I hasten to add – I don’t have my eyes on Crufts..!)

Here I am in ‘the ring’ with her (you can’t see but there were about 20 entries in the ‘Cutest Puppy’ category and I am fraternising with the eventual winner!).

I had high hopes – and we were, I think the ‘People’s Choice’ – as several people (including the whole of the Pony Club, bless ’em), came up to us afterwards and said we were their favourite – so there!! But, dear reader, brace yourself.. we didn’t even come in the ‘shortlist’ of 5 puppies called forward by the judge. 😦

We had to retreat from the ring, with our respective tails between our legs. Children around us, who’d also been ‘rejected’ were crying. It was hard not to do the same.

OK, so we weren’t ‘rejected’ but, for a few seconds at least, that’s what it felt like.

It occurred to me that entering a dog show is a bit like entering a writing competition (bear with me on this one!). You can look at the other entries and think ‘Hmm, well that one’s not going to win’ (actually, I did think the little one next to me would win and I’d have been happy with second place…) and you can think that perhaps you’ve got a good chance but at the end of the day, it’s all very subjective and down to what that particular judge likes – or doesn’t like.

I have my own theory as to why we didn’t get placed actually but I will leave that for your over-active writerly imaginations to work out! Suffice to say, next time I will take a crisp £20 note into the ring with me! No, I’m only joking! I think, to be honest, because our puppy looks very young for her age, the judges didn’t believe that she was 4 months old. That’s the thought I’m sticking with, anyway).

Competitions, of any kind, are tough. But I still think writing competitions are worth entering for all kinds of reasons, which I’m sure I’ve talked about on here before.

Just remember that if you don’t win, it doesn’t mean there’s necessarily anything ‘wrong’ with your story (or your puppy!) it just didn’t appeal to that judge. Polish it up a bit (the story), get a second opinion, try it somewhere else.

I am not deterred! We are going to another dog show on 11th August and this time we’re entering every category, from ‘fastest sausage eater’ to ‘waggiest tail’ and ‘best trick’. And if we don’t win this time I’m just going to buy a red rosette and pin it on her collar, regardless!

Oh, and if you’re shortlisted or ‘highly commended’ as a couple of my stories have been recently, don’t be downhearted. Celebrate! That’s a success – and next time, you could be the winner!

Free Poetry Workshop – Tamworth, Saturday 8th June

On a different note, if you live in or around the West Midlands, you might be interested in a FREE poetry workshop, which is being run by Staffordshire Poet Laureate, Malcolm Dewhirst, from 10am – 2pm at the Library in Tamworth.

Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Library moving into its current building, Malcolm is running a workshop using a series of items that the library staff have selected as being unique to Tamworth Library.

To sign up contact Tamworth Library at:
Telephone: 01827 475646

We Was Robbed 2

This entry was posted in Bonnie, Competitions, Events, Poetry, Successes, West Midlands. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to You Can’t Win ‘Em All

  1. My granddaughter sings and entered a local talent contest. The first year, she didn’t make final rounds..she was pushed out by a “Pageant” girl. She went back this year and came in 3rd place. I am so proud of her and her willingness to keep trying…great lesson for all of us.

    Great post! I have a 5 months old Golden Retriever who was born huge! He probably wouldn’t have made the cut either…no way anyone’s going to believe he’s only 5 months old!

  2. Christine Steenfeldt says:

    How could she not win? She’s gorgeous! And you’re right about comps- it’s very subjective. I have a story on a shortlist at the moment (waiting to hear if it’s been placed) that didn’t make it in another couple of competitions. But I had faith in it and tried it again, and, bingo, someone likes it. You just can’t tell what will appeal and what won’t. I know it also depends on what you’re up against in terms of other entries, but I would think that, generally, standards are usually pretty high. Good luck with the next dog show!

    • Christine
      good luck in the competition. It’s great to be ‘even’ shortlisted, isn’t it? shows you’re on the right track..! Keep us posted on the results..!

    • And yes, I agree – never underestimate the competition! It’s always pretty high so you really have to strive to give it your absolute best shot, I think, regardless of the size of the competition or the prizes. There’s a lot of talent out there!

  3. Tracy Fells says:

    Hmm me thinks you have a competitive streak Helen – need to keep an eye on that. Seeing your pet or child not get selected in any form of competition is pretty tough. My son used to enter piano competitions & recitals when younger. Firstly, I could hardly watch and sometimes couldn’t quite believe he hadn’t done as well as the kid with the funny hair (essential attribute for piano). The urge to rush the stage and thrash the judges with his music score was scary…
    Well done on Yellow Room – at least we both get to see our stories published in the mag!

    • Tracy, I think you’re right. I have discovered a previously untapped competitive streak since we’ve had our dog! I am turning into Monica from ‘Friends’ (always wanted to be Rachel – the cute, pretty one with the lovely hair but no, I have to face it, I am Monica, combined with a bit of mad Phoebe).

      Anyway, perhaps we’ve both found a good subject for a short story – you with your son at the piano competitions (I like your description about the urge to thrash the judges with the music score…!) and me with my dog at dog shows?!

      Yes, well done to you too on Yellow Room (meant to say that before but I’ve been away for a few days and it’s been mad)!

  4. Linda says:

    Bad luck, but it looks like you had a lovely day for it and I expect your puppy enjoyed making lots of new friends. It reminded me of the one and only time my sister showed her dog and won third prize. Afterwards the judge told her that the dog deserved to come first but he’d been let down by his handler!

    • Ooh, naughty judge! Makes me wonder what your sister did that was so terrible..?!

      • Wendy Clarke says:

        I am just trying to imagine my Bonnie at a show – she’d try and eat all the other dogs! Of course your lovely pup should have won.

      • Ah, bless her. If it’s any consolation, we met a toddler when we were out today (he was with his mum) and Bonnie almost ate him! She started off by licking him all over his face and I had to drag her away in the end…!


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