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Lessons Learned 02

This is a follow up to my previous post Lessons Learned 01

I am going to title this lesson:

” You can’t have enough cr@#**^p in your accessories kit.”

If you go into the field on a video/photo shoot – take everything you can think of and add more.

Murphy’s Law states that “if it can go wrong – it will!”

Backup and redundancy are words every professional lives by. Once you are on location – you better have everything you need to get the job done.

That being said: “You don’t know what you don’t know.”

As I mentioned in a previous post, I had great fun and success showing my Miniature Schnauzer Maggie in obedience trials. We achieved #1 Miniature Schnauzer status in 1981 despite a miserable mistake on my part.

The National Obedience Trials were going to be held in Chicago. Only the top dogs from around the country are invited. Maggie and I were on the list. We just had to pass one final test.

I was a pro dog handler by this time and Maggie was in top form.

A group of us “top dogs” traveled to Omaha, Nebraska to the Cow Palace. Two Wire Hair Terriers, a HUGE Rottweiler, a Golden Retriever and Maggie (the little guy.)

I did my research – Cow Palace = smell, dirt, dung etc.

Maggie was groomed but not too short.

I brought our “kit” bag with everything I could think of.

We spoke about the trials while driving down to Omaha.

We were set – or so I thought.

The “Cow Palace” was NO PALACE! It smelled and the 200 dogs there were peeing and pooping everywhere. 7th heaven!

Maggie was, as always, a little lady. Well behaved and I think a little offended by the smells.

Two days of competition. Day one – almost perfect. Maggie was #2. A good start.

Day two – a fermentation smell had started in the big barn.

The flies were having an orgy.

We were down to ten dogs – 6 going to Chicago.

The final exercise was the sit-stay. All ten dogs are lined up and the handlers walk away.

I noticed that the woman next to me spent a little extra time with her dog. Rubbing its ears.

As soon as we walked away, a swarm of flies descended on the dogs. A couple of dogs bolted right away. Maggie tried not to move but I could see she was in distress. The flies were around her ears ( which are cropped and open to the air on Miniature Schnauzers.) In the last few seconds of the sit-stay she moved. She just couldn’t take it anymore. It was enough to eliminate us from going to the Nationals in Chicago.

I was terribly disappointed but I was very proud of Maggie and our showing.

Afterwards, the lady next to me – who did go to Chicago – came up to me and offered a bit of advice.

Lesson Learned – You don’t know what you don’t know.

I thought I knew it all. But this lady knew more than I did. She had more experience. She knew about the effects that flies have on dogs – especially ones that have open ears. What she did in the last few seconds of placing her dog for the sit-stay was rub “OFF ” fly repellent on the tips of her dog’s ears. The flies did not go near her dog!

So – if you think you know it all. If you you think you can get everything from the internet or books. YOU DON’T and YOU CAN’T!

There is always someone with more experience than you.

Join a group. Learn from others.

Share your experience and help others grow and build their skills so they in turn can help others. Pay it forward.

Allan Block video producer,

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