At the Specialty, I personally observed an incident of cheating. The same person I observed cheating was observed by others doing unfortunate things that one could interpret as cheating.
Before I firmly established the behavior I observed as cheating, I contacted the AKC for an opinion and was given the actual section the violation falls under; therefore it was, in fact, cheating and not just my opinion.
I considered whether it was unintentional -- for about three seconds. The "unintentional defense" is not credible in this situation. I try hard to assume good intentions -- but a commitment to assuming good intentions does not mean one has to bury one's head in the sand. Sometimes intentions are not good, which is really sad and disappointing. And sometimes intentions simply do not matter -- "I intended to stop at the stop sign" does not make my back better or change the traffic violation committed by the nice woman who caused the car accident.
Three things about this cheating situation are problematic for me. First, I REALLY hate it when people try and gain an advantage over others. What is so hard about just following the rules? They are, after all, designed to create a level playing field.
I have been told that this kind of behavior is common in this type of competition -- can I just say that hearing that makes me want to quit showing my dogs?! But I do not believe it because I am aware that I am not alone in being upset about what happened. There are still ethical people who show dogs.
The second thing that upsets me is some of the reaction to me noting the violation -- "sour grapes" is what I got from some! Sour Grapes?! What are you smoking out there?!!! This is not about me -- this is about someone gaining an advantage by violating a rule!!!!! That is called C-H-E-A-T-I-N-G and there is no fruit involved in that.
My Blog friends are well aware that I went to this Specialty ill-prepared because of the injury I received in the January car accident. I had not trained much and therefore went with minimal expectations. Yes, this cheating violation may well have cost my dog -- so what? What may have been lost wasn't a goal of mine in the first place.
Further, years of Catholic school is probably to blame for my strong commitment to doing the right thing; it is insulting that anyone would think that my outrage about cheating is losing outrage rather than moral outrage.
But that is what we call a "red herring" -- something tossed in a conflict to detract from the main point, and remember -- I hate seafood. So whatever to the stupid red herring -- the central issue is that someone cheated.
The third thing that is problematic about this situation is how disillusioned it makes me feel. Yuck. What is wrong with people?!
Add all that to the gossip/backstabbing -- well, sometimes I am not sure that dog shows are good for one's soul.
Are there more important things in life than a dog show? Of course -- but a dog show gives the excellent opportunity to practice those more important things -- integrity, for example, and that is shown by being honest and fair, and treating others with respect -- all things that we can do in the most ordinary of places, including dog shows.
And you know what else matters? Taking a stand -- being willing to say that some things are just not okay. So here is mine: Cheating is never okay, and if you do it around me -- well, don't expect me to keep your little secret...
Oh -- and just a reminder: out of sight stays are done with the handler out of sight.
But in the dark cloud of disillusionment, yesterday I went to work and got something that brightened my whole outlook and reminded me that there is so much that is good -- I will tell you about that tomorrow...
In the meantime, here are the Rules for Today:
1. No cheating.
2. No lying.
3. Be Nice.