This weekend was a big day for my one-year-old Golden Retriever as she entered her first show. I’ve never shown in the conformation ring and neither has she, so I had a friend who handles help me out by handling her. I had been briefed by friends on how tough the Golden conformation ring was, so I wasn’t expecting much. All I hoped was that my baby would behave enough to be respectable and hopefully not come in last in her classes. She did just that and more. I give credit to an amazing handler for helping stack and gait her appropriately, so that I didn’t have to fumble through it, and to a wonderful dog for handling it with such focus. She placed 3rd in both of her classes (and yes there were more than 3 dogs in each). After each class, I emerged from the shadows where I had been hiding so she would focus on her handler, and she jumped into my arms to give me kisses. I hugged her close, enjoying getting to see my dog again after she had been gone the last few days. I noticed on both occasions I got a few weird looks when I was seemingly celebrating a 3rd-place win. My ultimate goal is to finish her championship one day, but before anything else comes my love for my dog. Many dog show people are incredibly serious and I understand their focus, but whenever I go to a show, no matter what my girls and I are competing in, my love for them comes first. The day that doesn’t happen is one I need to take a step back because my focus needs to be the love for my dogs.