MEET THE JUDGE: PATI MERRILL
Why did you become a judge?
The truth -- and I have told this before -- I went to a show
and the wife of a well known judge had just been "given"
a license -- what an awful job she did! A dog appeared that
we had never seen before. We thought he was a nice obedience
entry -- 'til they handed him to a handler -- W(inners) D(og)
- yea right! The worst part was giving a second in a class of
four to a very young girl with a truly foreign type collie.
I went for the AKC rep. I had nothing entered in the class (nor
an entry in that sex). The well known husband-judge glared at
me and the Rep. said, "Well, I, uh didn't see it."
So I invited her to come the next day so I could point the alien
type out to her. She was busy and never came over to the collie
It to me was another judge using lack of knowledge to judge.
This woman had been coming to the shows with her husband for
the last two or three years. She found the all-breed handler.
We never saw the WD again. . . A year or so later, a very well
known judge judged and put up a handler who had a dog crawling
the ground. . . I went for the Rep. . . only to be told, if you think
you can do better, then apply. I did.
First question was. . . Why do you want to be a judge? Well, I
answered it with the short version of the above -- maybe a little
stronger language -- as in "political" and "crooks."
I Didn't get a license and that made me mad, so, about a year
later I applied again and dern if they didn't give it to me.
I wasn't even sure I really wanted it.
What is the measure of a successful judge?
Nobody has threatened to kill you? Naw, success comes in two
packages. Some judges have a lot of assignments, and some do
good judging. Sometimes the package is combined, sometimes not.
I will say from a breeder point of view, I respect many judges
-- and at least half of those may only do one to two shows a
year. And they may never have put me up -- but I can follow
their judging and I know what they want. If I have a dog who
is in their realm -- I go. And I suggest to collie clubs --
use these specialty judges. Why use "all rounders"
when you can show under an "all rounder" the other
35 to 50 weekends of the year.
From a judge's point of view -- I guess it is the amount of
shows you do. . . and the size of the entry. From that perspective,
some years I have been successful and some years not. One time
I did a show and most of the winners were owned by one person
from out of state -- I didn't get asked back to that state for
eight years. And, if I had to do it again, I would do the same
and be locked out for maybe 16 years.
Clubs have habits of wanting to bring in judges that would
be good for the club member's dogs. Bring in the best judge
available -- if you can't win, maybe you will next time.
What dog have you seen that comes/came closest to embodying
your vision of the Standard?
Because I am still judging -- best (that) I answer (naming)
earlier dogs or not name the dog.
I loved Stormalong. He was a total feast. There was a sable
whose face I loved -- Vi-Lee Balladier. I thought Blue Jeans
was another feast. With some parental pride, I loved the head
planes on Stalwart. Silver Bullet was another love (with) that
head and face. Starry Starry Night and Storybook Romance were
bitches I wanted to steal! And I was definitely thinking I ought
to have kidnapped Farrah. Midnight Express was my type of guy
and Dancing in the Light is my kind of girl.
As for finding the closest to the standard -- I judge on the
day. Some of the younger dogs get better and better. Some don't.
Some of the older dogs are still so good I could cry over their
greatness. Sometimes I love a dog's qualities for 8, 10, 12
years. And that, to me, is the closest thing to the Standard.