Covid Dog Shows


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Covid Dog Shows

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I have shown dogs for thirty-five years, which is my hobby and passion. Before Covid going to a dog show was a social event for all humans and canines involved. Exhibitors would greet each other with high fives and hugs. Ring stewards handed armbands to exhibitors, and judges would give placement ribbons to exhibitors and shake their hands when leaving the show ring. Both winners and losers were hugged in congratulations and condolences. Dogs could cue off of their exhibitor's facial expressions and were not leary of strangers who approached them. Dog shows were a laid back and social environment.
When the pandemic created shutdowns in every aspect of life, dog shows all but disappeared in Arizona from the middle of March until early November. A few kennel clubs have opted to offer hosting dog shows with "Covid Rules" in place. Starting in November, showing a dog became "different." An exhibitor had to sign a "Covid survey and waiver form," have a scan temperature taken when entering the show grounds, wear a mask at all times, pick up armbands set out on tables and verbally declare the armband was received. When entering the show ring, a specific entry point and exit point was utilized, and exhibitors had to be six feet apart while in the show ring. After a judge examined each dog and determined placements, the exhibitors would stand six feet apart by placement placards and then exit the ring taking their placement ribbons off a table by the exit. There was not any physical human contact made between exhibitors, ring stewards, and judges. The physical challenge of running with a dog while wearing a mask restricted breathing, making showing a dog difficult. If a dog won at the show and a picture was taken, the photographer would offer to "photoshop" the judge into the photo with the dog and exhibitor or everyone socially distanced. In addition to no human interaction, dogs were unsettled by people wearing masks. Showing a dog in a Covid environment has become tiring and stressful, and going to a Covid dog show is not fun even when you win.

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This item was submitted on January 21, 2021 by Teresa Hodge using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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