|The first in a series of articles by Hannah Thompson about the difficulties encountered by young people making their way in the world of dogs. Hannah is in her early twenties and is a Briard and Beardie enthusiast she works at a kennel, trains regularly for large ring craft club and designs web sites - good ones too! She has not had the advantages of parental support or experience in junior handling from which many of our successful young people have benefited but she is ...|
Young, gifted and ...
helping out a show secretary!
I start please let me warn you if anybody interrupts me with yet another phone
call about aunties, uncles, wives or nephews dying and that being the reason
your show entry is late I will commit a murder!
Being asked to assist with entry sorting at Southern Counties was, I thought a great honour, although little did I realise it would be one of the most tiring weeks of my working life. I was greeted on the day before closing with a sack full of envelopes the size of a 20kg bag of dog food. I knew I could cope with the weight but nine hours later, with the bag still a quarter full, I was not so sure that I could cope with the work it generated. And the fax machine was not even touched, apart from the ink being refilled twice and paper restocked at least four times. After the fifth phone call from im indoors I admitted defeat and called it a night, feeling I was on track and full of enthusiasm to return next morning and get finished.
Imagine my horror when presented with a sack twice as large as yesterdays, and a six-inch pile of faxes as well. Thank goodness I had disturbed im indoors day off to assist, showing him how to operate the credit card machine, giving him a huge kiss and finally seeing him six hours later.
With an excellent routine struck between Angela and myself, we were slowly getting there - in-between the various phone calls asking, Have you received my entry? If that was You I must explain that when opening and sorting approx 8000 entries I have no idea if I have seen your entry and if I did it is probably at the point of no return eg: the box taped up and ready to go to the printers.
In-between correlating payments to entries you obviously check for any obvious mistakes - this year the trend appeared to be omitting the dogs names. In fact, said trend took up four hours of phone time, and a lot of this time was rather stressful especially as it involved me, a cockney, trying to understand a Northern Ireland accent.
Another huge problem was duplicate entries, and this was something I found very difficult to comprehend. The idea of faxing entries is fantastic but I was very bemused by people who not only faxed but also sent by post just to be sure. Perhaps just sending by post in first place would have been easier but I half (oops I mean whole (honest)) heartedly apologise now if I charged you twice. If you speak to Angela nicely I am sure she will rectify it for you.
Dinner (with champagne of course) came as a welcome release, with all intentions of continuing entry sorting, weakening with each mouthful of food, or maybe it was with each glass of wine. Bed finally arrived, followed by a morning of arising a little (an hour or two) late.
Thankfully the post was considerably less than the previous two days and finally gave me a chance to catch up.
For a change of scenery I decided to attack the credit card machine and, believe me it is one of the most boring, monotonous jobs ever. A sadist must have thought it up!
Thank goodness for the telephone calls, which lifted my spirits and often made me laugh. It is amazing how nice people can be whilst grovelling!
Finally after catching up with all mail and fax entries - only problem solving remained. I must say I was relieved to discover that I am not the only mathematically challenged person that shows dogs. Nor does im indoors have the worst handwriting, which were amongst some of the main problems encountered. Everyone was wonderful, with the first question upon hearing where I was calling from being Oh God, what have I done wrong? followed by lots of hysterical cackling when told they had forgotten to add the dogs name. In fact whilst at it, I would like to thank everybody who helped play sleuth in the hunt for entries received missing not only owners names, but also addresses and telephone numbers which were a huge problem.
My favourite (and probably most unusual) part was the telephone call to the lady who had not only forgotten her dogs name but also its breed and what classes it should be in. After huge apologies and much blame upon pregnancy she managed to interrupt being in labour and give us the relevant details! Perhaps it will be a little girl who can be called Hannah!
I have since been asked to do it again next year. My answer?? Of course - just providing I can take a weeks holiday at the end!