BISS, CAN and AM CH. Polana Doman, Norm, to his close friends…

Doman, alias Norm...  was born March 11, 1999, one day before his best friend, Misha the PON.  His mother is Scarlett, his dad, ET.  He has 2 brothers, Willie and Chewie, and 2 sisters, Joie de Vivre and Trellum.  Why did I keep him???  Well, he was the best male in the litter and being so very close to me, he stole my heart!  I also wanted to keep Misha, and he being best friend, gave me another very good reason to keep him. 

And what about all those trips and memories!  I decided to show Misha and Norm as soon as possible.  Their first show, Woodstock, July 1999.  First memories :  I forgot Norm’s shampoo and I remember waking up in the middle of the night, trying to remember if I had brought it along.  I decided to use my own shampoo.  Lesson number one; don’t use human shampoo on your dogs.  The results are not great.  It was also during this first show that Misha escaped from her crate! Looking to find me and Norm., I remember seeing this white and black ball of fur and legs running after us… 

So, we started to travel a lot, Norm, Misha and me.  It was now a routine, to prepare the luggage.  Norm really likes his Sherpa Bag.  He can stay in it for hours.  I will tell you more about that later.  Fly to the town, city, rent  a car, find the hotel, last grooming, play in the room, the little boots to keep his feet clean and dry …… and the camaraderie between us!

 And more memories.  Early on , Norm didn’t want to stray to far from me during a show.  As soon as I was out of sight, he would bark and bark and bark …  so much so that he earned his nickname “Noisy Norm”. But, after few shows, he was better.  He would stay on his table, rolled up in a ball, snoozing, waiting for show time.  People often asked me which end of the dog was his head.

 December 1999 saw Norm, Misha, my daughter Sophie and me at the Skydome  in Toronto.  I was probably tired because I lost my way in Toronto,   lost my way in the Skydome,  got lost  in the Skydome parking  lot! Not a great start ……..  I didn’t loose my way any more during this weekend and Norm decided to be very nice for me. He won his first championship Sunday afternoon!  I was very proud of him!  So much so , that   I decided to seriously show him. … and also really do something about that coat of his! 

Before speaking about grooming, I definitively want to thank my groomer, Barbara, who has taught me a lot.  She is the one who groomed Misha and Norm before we left for the shows.  She is the one who taught me to be very thorough, consistent and persistent.   As a result, kudos to her, I am able to groom do everything myself (except the paws…)  Thanks Barb!.  I started to groom Norm everyday.  Very often, it was the first thing I would do in the morning, at 7:00 with my coffee.  He was always looking top notch. But, I was so afraid to take too much hair with the brush, and I was afraid to see him dirty … life as a show dog is not always easy for the dog or his Master.  I had nightmares about fur.  One night, during a weekend show, I  dreamed I was looking for Norm  just as I was   ready to go to the ring.  No Norm.  After a long search, I found him, in the water, hairless and  a big smile on his face ….  yes Cotons can smile!.  I will not describe my feelings at this moment.   But, I think, I learned something from this dream.  A show dog has the right to have a happy and active life.  It is more important than a perfect coat.  So, I decided to walk him and Misha more often. Even if his paws would become a little dirty; he was more happy and I was happy!

 We had a very busy showtime, him and me.  He participated in least 16 weekends, more than 70 different shows, here in Canada and in USA.  He had a lot of success.  Oh, I forgot to mention this memory.  Because he was doing so well in USA, I decided  to go to an important ARBA championship show, in December 2000. It was in Indianapolis.  To get there, 3 planes; Halifax-Toronto, Toronto-Detroit, Detroit-Indianapolis. I missed the plane in Toronto and  had to stay overnight.  The next day   in Detroit, I discovered the second plane had technical problems. With all these problems, I was going to miss this important show.   Norm was in his Sherpa-Bag at 5:00 in the morning and  it was 1:00 in the afternoon!  I was totally desperate. I decided to go home!  I think I made the right decision. Norm stayed in his Sherpa-Bag for another 8 hours without a sound …   I remembered feeding him with chicken at Toronto, his nose coming out from the bag, very happy to have something to eat. Another important lesson I learned at this time.  If you go to a very important show far away, take at least 2 days to travel.

 During all these trips, he was always with me.  I never left him by himself in a room or in a car.  (He would not let me do it, anyway…).  Hop, in the bag and here we go to the restaurant , order some food…  he never complained and nobody knew I had a dog with me.  It was our little secret escapade between travelling companions…

So, we did well, him and I. I was very proud of our efforts:  Norm was number one Top Dog, all breeds, for 2000 with the Rare Breed Club of South Western Ontario!!!!!!!   

After this big award, I continued to show him.  I don’t know if it was me or him or both, but the sparkle was not there anymore.   I decided it was time to think about retirement.  Last July, he went for his last show at Woodstock.  He received his big award and finished his last show with a Reserve Best in Show.   I have to tell you, it was hard, very hard.   We were really a team,  we enjoyed going together, him in his bag, on my knees when I was driving, on the bed at the hotel, waiting to play with me, him….  A lot of memories.  But, I think, it was the right decision.  Now, I don’t worry about his coat and  I still groom him regularly, every two days.  I think, he enjoys retirement.  He plays more, he walks more, he has a real doggy life. Have a happy life, my dog, you really deserve it!!!  We are all very proud of you!!!!!  From me, Lary my husband and my children who helped us when we were away, from Misha your best friend ever, from all your 4 pawed furry friends… Happy Retirement, CHAMP!

Polana Cotons & Pons

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