The conclusion that I have a great face for radio is something I came to determine on my own after having worked with a phone app named, “Periscope.” What can you do. Aging comes to us all, and in the dog game, a weathered face should be regarded as evidence that the wearer has earned his or her chops from countless road trips to specialties and dog shows, disappointments, elation, failed breedings, betrayals of friendship, politics, the placements we should have gotten, and didn’t, and the placements we got, but didn’t deserve. I’ll stop here. I’m at a dog show, why on earth am I waxing on about appearances?
The explanation is two-fold, really, and it was inspired by Periscope, an exceedingly long travel day, and a Lhasa Apso.
Tonight, I write from Orlando, Florida, where I’ve been invited by the folks behind the AKC Eukanuba National Championship Dog Show to write, tweet, blog and Periscope about the show. Ten days ago, the word, “periscope” conjured up images of Sean Connery playing a Russian submarine captain in the fabulous movie, “The Hunt for Red October.” It means something very different to me now. Periscope is live video streaming app available on Android and iOS that is the latest in social media platforms, and I see tremendous potential in it for dog fanciers. Periscope was purchased by Twitter for $100 million in January 2015 – and that was before it even launched in March. Periscope founders wanted to create something that would enable people to discover events and places through live video, and that’s happening, of course, but from the perspective of a dog fancier, I see people being able to evaluate puppies in real time, watch class judging at a dog show, or see a dog’s last time in a ring. What makes Periscope unique isn’t just the “real time streaming video” aspect, it’s that viewers at the other end can text questions to the person taking the video who can then answer them in real time.
I downloaded Periscope a few days ago, and while it’s not a complicated app, there is a learning curve, and I’ve been learning how not to make a “scope” (the noun for a Periscope video). The thing is, once I hit the “broadcast” button on the phone screen, I’m “live,” and, well, I’m live. My blunders, my sagging face, my bad hair and tired face, it’s all been there to see, and today might not have been the best day to document my journey from Denver to Orlando. A five car pile up on the highway caused delays on the road to the airport. A detour sign caused me to take an exit I didn’t want to take. I finally got to the airport, parked the trusty Volvo, took a shuttle bus, got checked in, got on the plane with an aircraft full of passengers strapped into their seats, and finally exhaled only to be told that the plane we were on was broken, and we would have to get off.
Enter the Lhasa Apso.
As we all straggled off the plane, one of my fellow passengers had a Lhasa Apso on a leash, and I happen to recognize the dog. I was ringside when the dog won the Group out of the classes last year. The reaction of his handler/owner at the time was wonderful for the fancy, and provided a teachable moment as to why so many of us love this sport. During what was one of the sport’s finer moments, the handler was, to put it mildly, shocked beyond comprehension. I seem to recall people standing up to give her an ovation, and her reaction as she received a group rosette marginally bigger than the dog put a smile on the face of even the most jaded of fanciers. Winning a group out of the classes is good stuff. It’a evidence that integrity can still prevail, and that a good dog can come out of nowhere to do great things. As nice as it is for the owner, judges like this, too. They love being able to find the next great dog in the classes, and this was such a dog. Good judges tend to find good dogs, and since that win last year, this little guy has is now ranked in the Top Five of his breed in the country.
As he came of the plane, however, he wasn’t ready for prime time. He was as tired as we were; his hair was separated by rubber bands and trussed up into sections much the same way I keep my Pulik at home. Passengers crowded around the dog to pet him, and as the owner explained to them that she was on her way to a dog show, I could see the looks on their faces. This was a show dog??? When she brought out her cell phone to show pictures of the dog at a dog show, their faces transformed from skepticism into awe. Now that looked like a show dog.
And that brings me full circle to how it feels to broadcast on Periscope. I routinely review the “scope” I’ve just broadcast, and invariably, I’m horrified. I can’t hit the delete button fast enough. Surely that face doesn’t belong to me, I think, but it does, and I have to own it. So as I “scope” this weekend at the dog show, I’ll understand if you send me a text that reads, “Huh. From your writing, I thought you were younger.” I’ll probably laugh.
So, now for the fine print and why I’m here. #Eukanuba is the largest dog show in North America and one of my absolute shows at one of my favorites venues. It’s Candyland for dog people, and this year is the biggest show to date with 185 breeds competing for a $50,000 Best in Show prize. You can livestream the finals at live.eukanuba.com from 6 pm to 10 pm EST on Saturday, December 12th, and Sunday, December 13th. Also for the first time, viewers can watch the show on FidoTV which is channel 245 on the Dish Network.
Meanwhile, don’t wait to download Periscope on your phone. Trust me on this, you will come to really like this app for all the things you can do with it. Once you download the app, you can follow me at @KnobNots and witness me coming to terms with a new phone app while trying really hard to look cool and collected as I wander throughout the dog show. I’m keen to visit lots of Meet the Breeds, as well as take in some dock diving, agility and obedience. I’ll also be tweeting and posting on Facebook using the hashtag “EukanubaChamps.” If you’re at the show, holler at me!
Until the next time……