There's no Business Like Show Business
I began my show training when I was very young. I attended Puppy Kindergarten at the tender age of 12 weeks. I did not wear a choke collar, or a gentle leader, like the other puppies, I wore a show lead. I was also not trained to sit when my master stopped, I had to remain standing. A show dog does not sit in the ring.

I graduated from puppy kindergarten and attended show handling classes. The treats were very special, only those that I liked best, but the portions were SMALL. I had to work very hard to get enough.

I attended my first show in Topsfield, Massachusetts when I was not quite 6 months old. I was groomed, until EVERY hair on my coat was perfect. Even my feet were clean! My moms and pop stopped breathing when we got to the show ring. The show was set up in a very nice building - for horses. It had a dirt floor that was like clay. My mom, Cathy, was holding me while pop and mom Katherine brought in all of my stuff. She wouldn’t put me down. The other Coton’s all laughed at me and my mom - and so did their moms and pops. This show thing wasn’t going to be easy on my humans.

She finally put me down to walk around in circles with her. My first mom, Sara, was behind us with a little fille (that’s girl in French, you know.) I really had to you know . . . go. . . . I tried to wait, but I couldn’t and, after all this was dirt - so . . . I squatted right there. Cathy kept trying to walk and Sara was saying to her in a loud whisper, “Cathy, Cathy, - look! look!” She was trying to tell Cathy to stop walking and let me finish my business. Sheesh.

We got through that - Sara’s little fille - won the ribbon. But hey - a guy’s gotta do what a guy’s gotta do, right? Then I was brushed some more, sitting on that little grooming table. I liked the attention, loved the treats, but it all made me very sleepy, the fresh air and the early morning start, so I snoozed between innings, or whatever you call it.

Sara was shocked that I was not talking to my family. She made me remember when I was little and still with my litter mates at her house. I had started to forget. She spoke to me in French and Coton. I found my voice that day, and have not stopped talking since.

For the next show, my family got really prepared and bought a big blue tent, in case of
rain, and fold-up chairs to sit on, and a small version of the grooming table we have at home, and a tackle box stuffed with treats (and combs and brushes of every description), and a tarp for me to stand on, and a puppy exercise pen, and even my baby Coton friend, Rory, so that she too could get used to all of the people and the other dogs (most of them huge!!!). I think she will one day be a show dog like me.

On the first day, it was cloudy and looked like it might rain. But it did not. We walked around in grass this time and I was big enough so I did not have to stop to pee in the ring. The judges kept looking at me. Sometimes I was the only guy going around in the ring. But at the end, I was in the ring with all kinds of, mostly big, dogs. Guess what?! I won twice that day against all the big dogs with other funny names like Dog de Bordeaux, Dogo Argentino, Fila Brasileiro and Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers. My family smiled and hugged me whenever I won a ribbon. I got some pretty big ones that day. “Best Puppy in Show” ribbons (ahem, two of them) were almost bigger than me.

The next day we should have stayed in the blue tent. It poured rain every time my mom and I walked around in the grass. Guess what? Big surprise - the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever won the big ribbon that day. Huh - that day was made for water dogs!

I have been to some other shows by now. It is almost old cat (or was that hat), by now. Sometimes I don’t win anything, but we always have fun. The Coton lovers seem to all get together at these times and hug all the dogs! I love dog shows.

When I am not in dog shows, you can find me home, helping Sasha and our mom, Katherine, with the garden chores; or playing ball. I do a little bit of head ball - when there is no one to play with, I take an especially bouncy ball and whip my head so it flies out of my mouth and bounces. Then I catch it and do it again. This is my own personal exercise to practice a quick snap of the head so the judge sees my grand Joie de vivre!

I hope you will come and see me someday. I’ll be the handsome chap with long white hair, melting brown eyes, and a million dollar smile.

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