About this blog...

Here you will find information, musings, and pictures about zoos, the natural world, and writing. Welcome to the erratic thoughts of a zoo mystery author! See ZooMysteries.com for more photos and information about my books. Click here for cool sites about elephants and conservation organizations.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Littlewood 1: Facebook 0

I went mano a mano with Facebook and won, sort of. Here's the link to my new Author Page HERE.

Take a look. Leave a comment letting me know what you think. Click the "Like" button please, so I don't feel I've blown an entire evening for nothing.

And why did I bother? So that I could keep you up to date on Endangered, which is garnering some nice reviews and is set to come out about July 10.

More on that soon! Right now, I need an adult beverage.

Not yet an adult, but still....

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Judging the American Cuddle Dog: Clarifications

Dear Readers of This Blog: The following came to my attention recently and should be of interest to many of you.  A. Littlewood

Dear ACD Judges,

The ACD board is hearing way too many complaints about judging at the American Cuddle Dog trials. If we are ever to get the same respect as the agility and herding events, we absolutely have to have consistency in our judging. I know you all do your best to be fair and impartial, but it’s time we upped our game.

The American Cuddle Dog is judged on performance. [This cannot be repeated too often.] Here are the standards with my comments (the ACD board’s comments) in brackets. Read them carefully and follow them to the letter!

1. The show ring is prepared with one sofa per contestant. Dogs enter with their handlers and stand by their assigned sofa. Handlers sit down and wait for the judge’s command “Lap your dog”. [This part is working fine—no problems.]

2. The Cuddle Dog is to wait quietly for the handler’s signal. Eagerness is desirable, but jumping before the command, pawing the sofa, and loud whining are penalized. When the handler signals by voice or hand, the ACD should immediately jump up. [If the ACD needs handler help to get on the sofa, this is permitted, but the handler can’t just haul the ACD up there—the dog has to be trying. Most of you judges understand this.]

On the lap, the Cuddle Dog is judged as follows:

3. The dog’s speed in assuming the “boneless” posture is crucial. The Cuddle Dog may be on its belly or its back—relaxation is the primary criterion. Circling and pawing to improve the lap are penalized.
[Judges, this is a performance competition. One of you recently disqualified a St. Bernard on grounds “he was just too damn big” and another disqualified a greyhound (“all bones and joints”). This is not a conformation class! Any dog can enter!]

4. The Cuddle Dog is judged by its degree of immobility, although gentle nudging of the handler to elicit stroking is permitted.
5. Thermal transfer is evaluated by thermometer inserted at the handler’s thigh. Thermally neutral dogs are disqualified. Warmth is essential to Cuddle Dog performance. [Judges, wait four minutes before the thermometer test.]
6. Flatulence (by the ACD) is cause for immediate disqualification. [Handlers often try to hide this defect. Watch closely for grimacing, blowing, or breathing to the side.]

7. The Cuddle Dog’s coat should be tactically pleasing. [Judges are allowed leeway in this necessarily subjective evaluation, but do not abuse this. An older Golden Retriever, otherwise very well qualified, was rejected for “shedding like Aunt Maggie’s raccoon jacket.” The ACD board will consider whether to declare excessive shedding as a defect, but it is not one now so don’t use it!]

8. Steadiness in the face of distractions is tested by waving ordinary dog kibble 12” from the dog’s nose. The Cuddle Dog should respond by no more than one briefly opened eye. [Judges, You may not use dried liver bits, venison jerky, or decaying chicken bones for this test. There is only so much you can expect of any dog, even a Champion ACD.]

I’m sure we can avoid future brouhahas by consistent judging. Owners of ACD’s are by nature sedentary, peaceful people. As long as they think their dogs are being evaluated fairly, we should see no more acrimonious charges that “only King Charles Spaniels and miniature poodles have a chance,” and so on.

Thank you for your careful attention.
Fannie Sitwell, President, Board of ACD Society

 Champion Littlewood’s Scourge O’Squirrels ‘Murphy’ showing excellent form.