Greyt Inspirations Life

A little about our life, our business and our pets. www.greytinspirations.com

Westminster KC dog show

This is a great time of year for most dog lovers. Monday and Tuesday the Westminster Kennel Club dog show will be held in New York City. Approximately 2500 canine champions of all breeds will meet to determine the top dog. The annual event is the second oldest continuous sporting event in America, right behind the Kentucky Derby. The first Westminster show was held in 1877 and this is the 133rd year of the event.

 

Uno the Beagle was Best in Show at Westminster last year.

Uno the Beagle was Best in Show at Westminster last year.

If you like dogs this is the show for you. You will see the best of the best. Watching Westminster is also an educational experience as announcer David Frei discusses the history of each breed and talks about breed characteristics. You can find out which breeds make good family dogs, which ones require lots of grooming, which dogs may be too much for a beginning dog owner, and so on.

 

The Westminster coverage is usually good about going “backstage,” into the grooming area. Westminster is one of the few remaining “benched” shows in the country, which means that dogs and their owners are required to stay in the “benching” area in back during the show to allow the public to mingle and meet the dogs. At most shows these days people come, groom their dogs, show and leave. But at Westminster people and dogs are required to stay until the show releases them. Benched shows are great for the public to be able to meet the dogs and talk to owners, handlers and breeders about the dogs. The TV coverage usually gets back to the benching and grooming areas to see the dogs up close and meet the owners, handlers and breeders. That’s good for everyone.

I think too often people have the idea that showdogs are showdogs 24/7 and that’s certainly not the case. My dogs are either current showdogs or retired from showing. I try to keep them bathed and groomed but you often can’t tell from the way they play in the mud and snow. They sleep on my bed. They chase each other through the house. They knock things over and chew on things just like everyone else’s dogs. I don’t think they’re very pampered except when it comes to the extra grooming. I make sure they get very good food, but so do many other dog owners.

Once in a while I load a couple of them up in my old car and we head to a weekend of dog shows where we spend the day at the show and the night at the motel. The dogs love the trips because they get to see new things, meet new dogs, get a lot of extra petting from strangers, and get LOTS of treats. Plus, they like riding in cars and sleeping in motel rooms. So, it’s hard to understand why some people think that dog shows are cruel. My dogs are never out of my sight. I wouldn’t do it if they weren’t having fun. You can tell if a dog isn’t happy. Unhappy dogs don’t show well. You can’t win with an unhappy dog. Believe me: if the dogs you see on TV were unhappy they wouldn’t be out there wagging their tails and looking so happy. Those dogs are enjoying what they do. Dogs don’t lie.

Of course, some people like to cause controversy. The animal rights group PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) tried to get the USA Network to drop its coverage of Westminster this year, claiming that Westminster and dog shows in general promote genetic health problems in dogs. The Los Angeles Times covered the story in one of their blogs. When they opened the site up for reader comments fully 96 percent of people responding blasted PETA and supported the USA Network for airing the dog show. Such a strong show of support must have pleased USA.

Nevertheless, PETA will make its usual appearance outside the show. This year they’re planning to have someone outside Madison Square Garden costumed in KKK white robes. The idea, they say, is to let people know that the AKC (and I suppose Westminster) support the idea of breed purity and creating a “master race,” so that makes them like the Ku Klux Klan. Pretty asinine, isn’t it? I think it illustrates the problem with a lot of animal rights thinking. First, it’s idiotic. And, second, it confuses animals with people. People have been practicing animal husbandry for thousands of years. You could say that one of the hallmarks of civilization is when humans began keeping and breeding animals. For a group of fanatics to confuse animal breeding practices with human life is a little disturbing, not to mention insulting to people who may have suffered at the hands of the KKK or with genuine ethnic cleansing. There is no way to equate animal breeding practices with something like the holocaust. For a group like PETA to make these comparisons is sad and sickening.

You can judge the dogs for yourself when USA Network airs the Westminster Kennel Club dog show on Monday and Tuesday evenings. Live Opening Night Coverage begins Monday, February 9th at 8/7C on USA before switching to CNBC at 9/8C. USA will broadcast the complete Closing Night competition at 8/7C on Tuesday, February 10th. USA has some cool dog-related links such as finding the right dog for you, dog trivia and other things on their site, so you should check it out. There’s also lots of great dog stuff about the show itself on the Westminster Kennel Club web site.

And, if you’re going to be in New York next week, for the dog show or for any other reason, be sure to read Dog NewsBite of the Apple:  It’s the best guide around to places to go and things to see in NYC.

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February 6, 2009 - Posted by | dogs, General, Pets | , , , ,

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