Epicenter of the Dog Loving Universe
Everyone attending the show are true dog lovers. These canine fanatics descend on Madison Square Garden (MSG) to view the unique spectacle that is the Westminster Kennel Club (WKC) Dog Show.
Seeing pooch partial people from all walks of life put on their best sweatshirt embroidered with the bedazzled visage of their favorite breed is quite the sight. The inspiration for the characters in the movie Best In Show truly appears to be influenced by the fabulous eccentrics who seemingly put themselves on display to win some universal grand prize vicariously through their dog.
Regardless of where you are from or if you prefer mixed to pure bred in your canine companion, the WKC is one big dog love fest. WKC show participants and fans cheer on their favorite haute hound and familiarize themselves with breeds not ordinarily seen in their geographic area (i.e. I don’t see a lot of Newfoundland traipsing the streets of West Hollywood). It’s canine eye candy sensory overload!
Public Accessibility to Dogs and Handlers
WKC is a public, benched show where human fans of a variety of dog breeds are able to easily access their favorite breed for Q & A with the handlers or breeders. In the time around a particular dog’s performance on the fabulous MSG astroturf, the canine competitors and handlers are required to be present in the “benching” area.
This is a bit of a double edged sword, as the close contact between humans and pets can potentially transmit diseases among dogs, people, or other species. Additionally, the confinement and occasionally less than ideal thermoregulation can have negative health consequences. This and more in my next article: Flaws From Westminster 2011 (sign up email delivery of my blog via this link).
Separation of Benching Area and Vendors
As Madison Square Garden is undergoing renovation, the vendor and benching areas were kept separate this year. As a result, there was an overall reduction of WKC show attendees and participants competing for common space in the benching area. There was noticeably improved human and canine traffic flow this year as compared to 2010. Good job MSG and WKC!
Representation of Organizations Furthering Canine Health
The American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation (AKCCHF) works to further the cause of good breeding practices producing healthy dogs. AKCCHF does so by maintaining a database of diseases that affect a particular breed. This disease database correlates genetic tests and the laboratories from which the tests are offered.
The AKCCHF”s goal is to reduce the likelihood a particular inherited disease will manifest in subsequent generations of dogs. Your dog can do his or her part to further the quality of life of a particular dog breed by donating DNA to a greater cause. See the Participation Needed section on the AKCCHF website.
Additionally, I learned of Mars Veterinary Optimal Selection Genetic Breed Analysis, which evaluates breeding dogs for genetic compatibility to their mates. The Dandie Dinmont Terrier, a very unique and amiable breed, is the first breed used in the studies, which will expand into other breeds in the 2011.
Meeting Celebrity Dogs
I met many dogs that were competing in the show, but none that ultimately won best of breed, group, or show. Fortunately, hanging out in the press room gave me the opportunity to meet Schmitty The Weather Dog in the press room at WKC 2011.
I met Schmitty’s handlers, meteorologist Ron Trotta and Elly McGuire, while Schmitty was urinating and defecating with the utmost of dignity on a fresh New York Times (although she really likes to crap on the New York Daily News). Schmitty, a Yorkshire Terrier, has remarkable story chronicling her adventures in life as a working dog (co-meteorologist with Trotta and “pawcasts” the weather for New York City), philanthropist, and politician.
My interview with Schmitty and Ron Trotta will soon be available on CelebrityPetNews.
Now a Word from Our Sponsors
Thank you USA Network, Purina, and Empire State Building Lighting Partner as the headlining corporate sponsors.
I was disappointed that I didn’t meet Mary Carillo (WKC show co-host) and David Frei (WKC Director of Communications and show co-host), but I hope for the chance next year! At least I was able to feel as though I achieved a degree of proximity to Carillo and Frei’s via this press room TV photo I took of them breaking down the logistics of the competition.
Scottish Deerhound Wins Best in Show at Westminster 2011
Copyright of this article (2011) is owned by Dr. Patrick Mahaney, Veterinarian and Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist. Republishing any portion of this article must first be authorized by Dr. Patrick Mahaney. Requests for republishing must be approved by Dr. Patrick Mahaney and received in written format.