Friday, June 4, 2010

WCA National Specialty - A Novice Perspective

Our own Meridith and Memphis are celebrities!

From the Just Weimaraners Website...

WCA National Specialty – A Novice Perspective

by JustWeims on June 4, 2010

by Meridith Voltaggio

Two weeks ago, I packed up and headed down to Gettysburg, PA to attend my first WCA National Specialty show. I will also add that in tow were my 4 month old puppy, 14 month old son and Mother.

I may have to back up a bit and explain how my one time pet-home family has welcomed into our lives a futurity nominated Weimaraner puppy, now 4 1/2 months old that has already started training for conformation, agility, obedience and field work. Yes, all these terms are part of my new daily vocabulary.

Memphis. Photo courtesy of Meridith Voltaggio.

We are so lucky to have welcomed Grayhart’s Million Dollar Listing aka Memphis into our family through the encouragement and guidance of our breeder, Linda & Walter Hartheimer of Grayhart Weimaraners whom we met while attending a Specialty Show last October. We had spent some time emailing with Linda, and she had invited us to meet her and her dogs at the show and by the time we hit the parkway to head home we were hooked!

Well, as fate had it, Memphis came home with us in March, and by May we were attending our first official outing in the show world during Nationals week. Memphis and I signed up to participate at the Novice Field Seminar presented by Elena Lamberson of Silversmith Farm and co-founder of the Dual Weimaraner Program/Dual Weimaraner discussion group. Linda had forwarded the news to her puppy people that WCA Nationals was going to be held in our area this Spring and it would be event that we wouldn’t want to miss (she was right). When passing on the information about Nationals, she mentioned the Novice Field Seminar and that for us, being the novices we are, it could be a great, informative experience for both Memphis and I, and yes, she was right again.

Upon arriving at the host hotel in Gettysburg, we were welcomed by so many people who wanted to meet Memphis and I. I even met a gentleman in the lobby that drove up with his family from Little Rock to spend their vacation at Nationals and was a newbie like me. So sure enough when I arrived at the seminar the next day, he was there with his wife taking the same novice seminar as I!

Believe me after re-reading the description of the seminar, I was wondering what had I gotten myself into? But from the moment I arrived I was welcomed, handed a fantastic binder full of information on hunt tests, field trials, trainings tips, pointers, rules & regulations, and a huge goodie bag full of collars, leashes, catalogs all from sponsors and supporters.

We spent our first moments at the seminar watching field demonstrations of a broke gun dog at a Master level and then a Junior level dog, both were fascinating to watch, since I had never seen such an event in my life. It is simply amazing what these dogs can do and how much they enjoy doing it! There were numerous speakers including WCA members and judges, NAVHDA representatives, all willing to answer as many questions that each novice had.

Weims at the Novice Field Day are introduced to a bird wing on a string. Photo courtesy of Meredith Wadsworth

Next we broke up into groups and brought out our dogs, Memphis being the youngest enrolled in the seminar, and they were introduced to a bird wing on a fishing line. We formed a circle, and the dogs fed off each other’s energy and excitement (me included) and when it was Memphis’ turn to jump and chase the wing, he didn’t let anyone down.

Throughout the day we were cheered on by everyone and it felt really comfortable being there, even the part when I was running though a field in my rain boots searching for a hidden quail at the same time trying to get Memphis interested in his birds.

All in all it was a great time, great company and a memorable experience.

Back at the hotel there was a party hosted by WCA to welcome everyone to the events, and there, I met up with some of the speakers from the seminar that I felt like I had known for much longer than eight hours. There are so many events that occurred during the week, we attended a couple before we headed home, where we met up and spent some time with the couple from Little Rock and a few other novices that camped out together to watch the agility trials. Throughout all this Linda was there guiding me and introducing me to new people ready to share their Weimaraner stories. I even met the owners of Memphis’ half-sisters that I immediately felt a connection too, like we are all part of the same family.

Growing up, my husband and I both had dogs as family pets including a Weimaraner and GSP. We even had a Weimaraner as our first family dog together, but being part of this new world has put having a Weimaraner on a new level of fun and excitement and opened our family up to some great new times ahead.

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