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Author Liz O'Connor (UK Renza Afghans)

Sunday 9th Oct. saw a very early start for David and MaryAnn as it was the Afghan Hound Club of Northern New Jersey's show and this is their club. MaryAnn worked so hard making silver Afghan pins for all class winners, plus mounted prints for 2nd, 3rd, 4th placings. She and David were also donatjng some of her original artwork for major winners at the show. Held at the same venue as the National, judges were Walter Green for Sweeps, Betsy LaHam judged the Dog Classes and Jay Hafford the Bitches and BOB.

It was obvious by this show that mostly the same dogs were entered (and still moving), although some of the exhibitors were beginning to look a bit jaded! By this time we were becoming familiar with dogs and handlers. Some of the names of dogs were really quite amusing; for example, there was a dog whose colour would be difficult to describe, a sort of brown/blue/shaded/brindle, his name was Am. Ch. Triplicity's Muddy Waters - with pet name MURKY!! That sort of humour appeals to me!!

BOB went to Am. Ch. Xandali Isabeau of Boanne. BOW was won by Mahali Witch of the Glen, who became a champion on the day, and this must have been a boost for owners Bob and Anita Dickie (originally from Coventry!) following Anita's recent major surgery.

Monday saw the last show of the circuit, that of the Southern New Jersey speciality. Held at Fischers Park, Kulpsville in Pennsylvania, the whole show was held outdoors - there were no indoor facilities - heaven only knows what they would have done if it had rained. Despite the club's limited budget, they still had some beautiful prizes on offer, including MaryAnn's 14 ct. gold jewellery! The venue was lovely and the organisation was excellent. As with all the shows held around the National, Southern New Jersey had also drawn a high 5 point major entry.

I'd seen a lady seated around the rings at every show and it was only at this one (the last of the circuit) that I discovered she was none other than Frances Jantos of Province fame. She invited me to sit with her and we chatted for some time, Mrs. Jantos recalling (with obvious fondness) dogs from many years ago, including the well known Am. Ch. Artemus of Province. I wish we'd met earlier!

Thoma Bastin judged Sweeps and Rudy was in the prize money yet again ! Her husband, Bill Bastin judged the bitches and he awarded Winners to Mona (Kymbalons Goin' MyWay!!). She looked lovely, and what a thrilling result - this is what they call winning a Major in style at the National week! Now we could crack open that bottle of champagne we'd brought from England for just such a win!

We could have all gone home after Mona's win, but of course we had to wait for BOB (as I explained earlier, both Winners Dog and Winners Bitch have to stay in for BOB, up to the end).Karen Armistead judged Dogs and BOB and she took ages. The AKC have regulations regarding the amount of time you can take to judge dogs, and although individual judging of each dog didn't take that long, it was the final placings which seemed to take so long. I don't suppose it matters so much at Specialities, but it took longer than 5 hours to judge 68 dogs. It was amusing though that Ms Armistead had all exhibitors dancing to her tune!. Everyone had to move their dog on a loose lead, slowly in all sorts of weird and wonderful directions around the ring, and to see how some exhibitors and exhibits coped with this different style was amusing! Although I have to say the professionals coped admirably and hung on her every word for instructions!

The eventual BOB was a dog I admire very much, Am. Ch. Regency Ms. Armistead awarded her own Awards of Merit (I'm still not sure whether this was AKC permitted or not, but after all this time, who was going to argue?, and anyway it was a nice thought), and these went to Am. Ch. Tryst of Grandeur, Am. Ch. Ararat's And The Beat Goes On. Ch. Summerwind-Renwick Mass Appeal, Ch. Syranno Alibaba Young Star and Am. Ch. Pahlavi Blame It On the Rain.

I nearly forgot BOS went to Am. Ch. Paladin Fancy Pants Trinity, owned by an Irishman by the name of James Dalton. I have not heard of him before, but apparently he has done some winning, presumably on the Irish circuit, which I am not familiar with.

We said our farewells to everyone and promised to meet again, hopefully in San Diego 1995 for the next World Congress, and wended our way home, By the time we got back we were all shattered and when the dogs were eventually fed and put to bed, we were too tired to go out and celebrate, so David ordered pizzas. I have never in my life seen pizzas so big! They must have been 30 inches across and lot so different flavours,and all washed down with champagne.We all felt really good about the day's result, but eventually we had to crash out after an exhausting but exciting few days....


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