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2006-02-22 / Columnists

Pets, Pets, Pets...

by Joanne Anderson

Estelle, the Dobie mix Estelle, the Dobie mix A few behind the scene snippets from Westminster ’06, a woofing, winter wonderland:

The Blizzard stressed dog show participants. Some champions were absent. Luckily I got to the city early, camping out at a friend’s West Side apartment during the thunder snow and using the trusty subway to shuttle to the Garden. Other members of Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA) were stranded in airports and train stations. The DWAA secretary got a call from the PA police that her elderly mother was stuck in drifts between the house and barn. The officers had rescued Mom but couldn’t coax the dogs back into her house until she gave them training tips over the phone.

Show dogs and handlers chill out in their hotel rooms by Sunday night. The DWAA Banquet is in one of these hotels, so this year we got to see the pooch parade frolic in the snow, carefully covered so not to spoil their coifs. I met lovely “Emma” in the lobby. She sloshed out in a royal blue hooded raincoat with matching boots. The next day during the Junior Handler competition, this Old English sheepdog (Ch Rolling Gait’s Emma Blu) gaited beautifully, helping a young lady take 4th place.

Rocky the Jack Russell Terrier Rocky the Jack Russell Terrier The PocketbookA tiny, beaded evening purse doesn’t mesh with awful weather or the subway, so I stuck with my spoofy Wizard of Oz dog bag. The fashionable would go with basic black. Not me. A girl pointed to my silly pocketbook at the AKC cocktail hour and told her father to look. Dad happened to be William Wegman. He seemed displeased to see imposter Weimaraners on my purse. I’m sure this rip-off breaks some copyright law. Monday morning in the benching area, a free lance photographer ignored the dogs, and shot my bag. My paranoia whispers that I’ll be hearing from Mr. Wegman’s attorney soon.

The Holistic Hounds“What do you feed your dogs?” Don’t ask breeders this simple question unless you can spare an hour for their dissertation on natural additives, the raw diet, and the horrors lurking in commercial pet foods. Every dog fancier swears by a personalized, canine nutrition protocolpour on chicken backs; no, chicken livers; no, the best cuts from the butcher. They make you feel guilty if you are not adding expensive powders like “Urban Wolf” to your dog’s bowl; or if you are afraid to try the raw diet because you are more afraid of E .coli and other bacterial banditos. One lady told me how she cooked her raw diet. Isn’t that a contradiction?

The HairdosIt takes pains (and lots of time) to be beautiful. The judging schedule makes no allowance for lengthy locks. The crew cut breeds do not go in the ring first. A Cavalier

King Charles exhibitor

said she was up at 4 AM to be

ready for their 8:30 curtain call. The Collie crew must pull all nighters. Mousse, powder, spritz bottles, teasing

combsmany

groomers are secretive

about their

tricks of the trade,

although an Afghan

handler was telling

me how to thin my

girl’s neck as he was

about to prance

around the ring. (I had to promise to clap for his dog.) Win or loseall dogs must stay on display until 8 PM. Yorkies are still wrapped after judging. Gordon setter ears resemble Hassidic rabbis. Hounds in snoods could pass for Garbo.

The ChocolateBad for dogs, yet great for the media. Over 700 writers and photographers from all over the world were at Westminster. Maybe it was the Valentine theme, but chocolate seemed to be everywhere. A vendor sold breed-shaped candies. One DWAA vet rewarded members who braved the elements with homemade fudge. Dark chocolate bars labeled “owner treats” sat next to the press kits. Yummy brownies and chocolate chip cookies were available to journalists all the time. I bumped into Andy Rooney on one of my brownie runs into the Press Roomseemed odd that his camera men have top knots of white hair just like him. No Yorkie wraps, no Afghan snoods. Did you ever wonder why?

The hometown strays waiting at Babylon Town Shelter (643-9270) Lamar St. W. Babylon may not have as many beauticians fussing over them, but quite a few of our shelter dogs had baths this week like “Estelle”a sweet, senior Dobie mix in Cage 91. She just wants someone to cuddle with for the rest of her days. She won’t be any bother. Handsome “Rocky”, the neut. Jack Russell Terrier in Cage 71, is a friendly and active rep of his breed. See more photos on the shelter’s Petfinder site: zip code11704.

Males: a gorgeous, pure white declawed cat in C-2; a Great Dane mix in Cage 45; “Max”a white Poodle/Lhasa and a mini Keeshondboth in the Puppy Room.

Females: a purebred Boxer in Cage 59; “Brandy”the Hound mix in Cage 93; “Winnie”the Boxer mix in Cage 53. ¥ Pets of the Week

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