The Rip Van Wrinkler, XXIV, Issue 2, May 2020

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©2020, Culver, Science Will Win.

I’m not sick...I just had some work done Bonnie Grace Callahan

Mark your calendars!

The Annual Rip Van Wrinkle Basenji Club

Spring/Summer Specialty Fun Match & Annual Meeting HAS BEEN CANCELLED.

Our Fundraiser for 2020 will be to benefit tri-state FOODBANKS. FMI

The Wrinkler is published quarterly:  February, May, August & November. 
Deadline for receiving material for publication is the 1st day of the previous month.

The contents of The Rip Van Wrinkler do not necessarily represent the opinions of the editors, or the membership.  
All rights to reproduce any part of The Rip Van Wrinkler® shall be done solely with the permission of the editors.

The RVW Club is affiliated with the BCOA

The Rip Van Wrinkle Basenji Club & Wrinkler ONLINE:

As the Tail Turns:

Should the Show Go On?

by Denise Flaim

Spend just a few minutes flipping through the cable news channels, and it becomes painfully obvious that there is a chasm of opinion about when and how the nation should reopen during the COVID-10 pandemic.

That same dichotomy is reflected in our dog world – and just as contentiously.

The most recent flashpoint is a nine-day dog-show circuit planned for mid-June in Georgia. After their Peach Blossom Cluster in April and Crossroads of Georgia Cluster in May were cancelled, the Atlanta and Valdosta kennel clubs, and the Macon and Southeast Alabama kennel clubs, respectively, rescheduled their events. The nine days of shows will take place at the Georgia National Fairgrounds in Perry from June 11 through 21, with a two-day break on June 15 and 16.

Clubs in the two clusters say that their planned policies to mitigate the spread of the highly infectious coronavirus have been reviewed by both the American Kennel Club and the show superintendent, Jack Onofrio Dog Shows. Among the rules expected to be in effect: Anyone entering the show buildings will be required to wear a mask, as will judges and stewards. While not mandated, gloves will be recommended. Hand sanitizer will be available to judges in between examining exhibits. Ringside seats will not be provided, and exhibitors will be required to maintain social distancing. While “household units” can sit together, no group gatherings or congregating in the buildings will be permitted.

“One of the reasons that we wanted to try to reschedule rather than just cancel is the impact all the cancellations have on our vendors, handlers and employees at sites that have real financial impact from this pandemic,” says Mary Ellen Macke, show chair for the Peach Blossom cluster. “We really have been blessed with good entries throughout the years, as well as with great vendors and a wonderful site. We all wanted to say, ‘We are thinking of you as well as our club.’”

A statue of Hachiko in Shibuya wears a face mask in a social commentary of Japanese life in the age of COVID-19. A popular meeting spot, the bronze statue commemorates the famously loyal Akita who waited at the Shibuya train station for his master for nearly a decade after his death in 1925.

Critics of the rescheduled shows do not see them as expressions of magnanimity, arguing instead that they will only exacerbate infection rates and prolong the current containment crisis.

“I would be fine it you want to go infect yourselves, but the sad truth is that this is going to kill people in other states, and reseed the virus to states that hopefully have reduced their infection rates through great personal sacrifice,” wrote Whippet fancier Jill Hopfenbeck on a recent Facebook thread about the cluster's safety guidelines. “This is the height of selfishness.”

Among the other concerns expressed on social media: In order to properly examine dogs, judges cannot maintain social distance. Forced-air dryers in an indoor venue have the potential to circulate the virus. And clubs face potential liability for everything from exhibitors who might later become infected to dogs that could become bite risks after being unnerved by the unfamiliar sight of so many masked humans.

Fanciers who plan to enter the shows counter that they are quite simply tired of being immobilized by the many “what ifs” posed by the virus.

“So why should our entire state suffer financially with businesses closing and people out of work?” Alaskan Malamute fancier Vicky Jones asked rhetorically in a post on the Facebook page of Atlanta Kennel Club board member Sandra Weaver. “They shouldn’t. If you have a health issue (as several of my dear friends do), then continue to stay home for as long as you’re comfortable. But the rest of the nation needs to get back to work and prosperity.”

Given the polarized opinions about whether the dog fancy should return to the show rings, turnout will be hard to predict, says Weaver, who is scheduled to judge at the Peach Blossom cluster. “We're hearing from many in the professional handling community that they'll be there with lots of client dogs. We're also hearing from people who aren't ready to be in crowds and aren't planning on attending,” she says. “We're pretty sure it'll be somewhere between the very worst entries ever and the very best entries ever, and we're focused on preparing for the entries we actually get.”

One predictable thing about the COVID-19 pandemic has been its unpredictability, something that could in the end make the uproar over the upcoming Georgia clusters a moot point: Currently, the state’s plans to reopen non-essential businesses such as hair salons and tattoo parlors do not meet the White House-issued recommendation of waiting for a downward trajectory of cases for two weeks before reopening, in turn earning Georgia governor Brian Kemp sharp rebukes from President Trump. If such early openings result in increased infection rates, the state could again limit social gatherings.

As with much to do this pandemic, it’s a matter of wait and see.

What do you think about rescheduling the clusters in Perry, Georgia? Too soon, or about time? Send your opinions to

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