Thursday, October 19, 2006

Why I belong to ASCA

(ASCA is the Australian Shepherd Club of America)

I joined ASCA to get the reduced LEP [Limited Exhibition Privilege] registration rate and to see what the organization was like, since AKC was the only thing I knew. I wanted to get the Aussie Times magazine. I think that was back around 1998, when the dog was old enough to compete in agility. I figured she might as well get credit for her breed since I’d be trialing her in NADAC/ASCA trials. I live in the Pacific Northwest, so there is a LOT of ASCA stuff around.

Why did I stay? I stayed because ASCA welcomed me and my little LEP with a tail. Her registration certificate IS a certificate, whereas AKC sent a laser-printed piece of low-grade paper with her number on it and a note that indicated there would be no charge if I wanted to change the ownership on the dog, which I inferred to mean they considered her value-less (they certainly charged when I got my Malinois and wanted her registration put in my name). They (AKC) very much gave me the feeling that my money was okay, but that was about it – the dog and I were essentially throw-away items. I took Fluffy to watch many ASCA confo shows and to watch/participate in obedience. Always, we were welcomed. People asked about her tail sometimes, but no one overtly sneered at us. They petted her and told her what a good little dog she was. I took her to the 1999 Nationals and we were welcomed there, too. A few more people seemed to sneer at her tail there, but many more people just asked about it out of curiosity or to comment on how nicely she carries it. No one made any snide comments about her (lack of known) breeding when she won 24” Open Jumpers and Novice A obedience at that Nationals. I stayed because my dog was treated as an AUSSIE, not a maybe-pretend-sort-of-hold-your-nose-because-those-unknown-parents-dogs-stink-but-they-bring-in-money aussie. I stayed because I was treated well. I stayed because of the ASCA opportunities in my area. I stayed because I wanted to keep getting the Aussie Times. I stayed because I thought (and still think) that ASCA has a chance to save at least a portion of the breed. I know the registry can’t really save the breed, but they can give me a place to look for my next dog.

Why ASCA-l? To help me stay informed on what people in the breed are thinking about. I love, love, love the absence of most show/performance brags. Sometimes the list gets tiresome, when people start dissecting posts below the level of meaning or simply repeat their opinions on issues over and over again, often in the same words. Staying on ASCA-l is part of my way of supporting ASCA. I’m also on OpenForum, Aussie-l, and AussieHerders. All of them have their times of great value and their times of “what is the point of this list’s existence?” (Frankly, for useful information on the breed and almost anything related to health and training, none of them can touch Belg-l which has active moderators who want a peaceful, Belgian shepherd-related list. It’s a fantastic list, IMO.) I want to vote intelligently in ASCA elections.

That’s what comes to mind first off when I think about why I support ASCA.

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