Wear the tie.
Updated: Jan 24
It's become a tradition, somewhat of a signature, but every time I present a dog for a NAVHDA test, I dress up for the part.
By the time we show up in the field for the handlers' briefing, we've put countless hours in training our dogs and although, we are often nervous, not much can be done at this point and we should really only enjoy the ride. We should celebrate the hard work we and our dogs have put into preparing for this day.
Furthermore, I find that especially here in Quebec, our reputation as hunters has suffered over the years and if there is one way we can help take better care of our image as hunters, is to care for our image as handlers... show some pride. Bring back some of that noble feeling and history to it.
It is with that in mind that I make it a point to dress up for the part and I wear a tie and white shirt. I've even gotten a vest especially made since they are mandatory for UT tests and I couldn't find one I liked. Obviously the eyes should be on the dogs not the handlers, but since I'm gonna be in the picture, might as well pay tribute to their beauty and try to match up their beautiful style.
It's gotten me plenty of comments and even strange looks trust me, but I'll keep doing it since I know what it means to me, to us. I like what it sends as a message to my kids, work hard, show up ready and dress for the part. I'll admit, it's not always the most confortable attire when it's scorching hot, but it reminds me why I'm there and that no matter what happens, I am proud of the work we as a team, have done. If we're gonna win, we'll look good doing it, if we're going to fail, might as well look good doing it.