Friday, February 13, 2009

Westminster Fuzzy Fluffy Puppy Doggy Show

The ultimate contest. A sort of cross between pro wrestling, the Battle of Gettysburg, and the Miss Teen America pageant – except with dogs. The competition rages like a forest fire, commingled with the scent of musky Milk-Bones and the alkaline aroma of flea bath. The occasional solitary squeak of a rubber hotdog chew toy reverberates through the exhibition hall.

The Westminster Dog Show - the national championship of dogs. Appropriately named after Westminster Abbey - the seat of British royalty, and the former center of the civilized world – this dog show has it all. Bichons, German Shepherds, Pugs, Irish Deerhounds, and Mexican Big-Toothed Chicken Terriers.

They all compete on an even playing field for the grand prize: a lifetime supply of honor. And 5,000 pounds of Eukanuba – the breakfast, lunch, and dinner of dog champions.

The dogs themselves are amazing specimens of their respective breeds. But the showdog owners are just plain batshit-crazy. No doubt about it. They make Scientologists look like scientists. Despite this, these owners have somehow managed to instill a sense of pride and competitive sprit into their dogs – even though, presumably, the dogs have no fucking clue what’s going on.

“Ooh, other dogs!! And lots of humans!! I get a treat if I sit still while this human who smells like other dogs inspects my teeth and ears! What fun! Now we get to go for a little jog in a big circle. I love chasing squirrels!! I’d like to urinate now, but I know that for some reason this would make my owner very upset. So I’ll hold it in until we get into the car.”

As some of you already know, I love dogs, and in my eyes every dog’s a winner – showdog or no. Except for those strange dogs who snap at me when I try to pat their heads, or those who look at me like I’m crazy when I say “Hi dog!!” as I pass by. They’re probably thinking, “Do I know that guy?”

I can understand how that could be frustrating for them. The owners generally don’t seem to notice.

Anyway, congratulations to Stump, the Sussex Spaniel. This 10 year-old, floppy-eared, goofy-gaited furry pile of fun not only won the hearts of the crowd in attendance, but also of those who watched clips of the show before writing a blog post on the topic. The oldest dog to ever win best-in-show, Stump is an inspiration to older mammals everywhere.

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