Monday, February 20, 2012

It Looks Better On TV

GCH Goarrhein Chateau Palos Shiraz RN TD PT (Raz)
©Nancy Banks
     We went to New York to watch two Standard Schnauzers compete at the Westminster Kennel Club show. Raz (at left) is our boy Pooka's brother, and his owner is our girl Casey's breeder. Zorro (below) is owned by one of our mentors in the breed. Aren't they gorgeous guys?
      I don't know why I wasn't expecting a dog show at the most prestigious dog show in the U.S. Perhaps the cameras and the evening attire for Best in Show judging and the fact that it is a benched* show beguiled me into thinking that there would be some quiet area where the dogs not being groomed or shown would hang out with their handlers and do the old meet and greet with adoring fans and miscellaneous members of the public. Alas, because of construction at Madison Square Garden, the benching area was also the grooming area, which at a dog show looks like a tent city minus the tents. And minus the charm.
      It was extremely tight quarters, especially after crates, grooming tables, tack kits, dogs, and handlers were shoehorned in. Everybody who came to the show wanted to see dogs and talk to handlers, of course, and the walkways were so tightly packed that in places you could almost rely on the crowd to support and carry you along.  It was the worst show venue for grooming space I've ever seen.
GCH Pepper Tree Zorro V Morgenwald (Zorro)
©Nancy Banks

      They say it will be better next year, when they move the breed competitions to another, larger venue. I'm disappointed, of course, that I wasn't able to see other breeds and talk to handlers, but it was quite exciting to watch some of the top dogs in the country compete.
      And I did get a big slobbery Valentine's Day kiss from a Mastiff. Which renders the day a success, in my book.

*A benched show, now very rare in this country, is one where entered dogs are required to be in assigned areas at all times when not being judged in the ring. This lets people meet the dogs and handlers, rather than just see them for a few minutes in the show ring.

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