2009-02-25 / Columnists
Pets, Pets, Pets
The second annual Metropolitan Dog Club (MDC) "Best In Show Brunch" on Feb.11th revolved around the 133rd Westminster Kennel Club (WKC) Dog Show and around "Stump"- America's new top dog. Similar to an after Oscar party, the winner, thus Brunch guest of honor, is a mystery until the last moment.
Climbing the Grand Central steps to the festivities, I felt I entered dog heaven, and only hope Stump had as great a time. Admirers showered the newly crowned K-9 king with praise. Some came bearing gifts. As MDC president and party planner extraordinaire, Charlotte Reed remarked: "Members also gathered to have fun, to honor distinguished contributors to the dog fancy, and to celebrate the Metropolitan Dog Club's new "Blue Book" magazine, named for the club colors." Over 30,000 copies were distributed at venues surrounding Westminster.
Best of the Best: The morning after the dog show, a sell-out crowd of more than 160 serious dog enthusiasts toasted Stump, the 10 year old Best In Show Sussex Spaniel, as his handler Scott Sommer and USA Network Westminster commentator David Frei introduced the senior superstar to TV across the US. We all gathered at Charlie Palmers Metrazur on the east balcony of Grand Central to cheer the new champion and watch his satellite media interviews set up right in the center of this restaurant. Later each guest posed for a photo with Stump.
Deck the Halls with Hounds: Exquisite dog mannequins of purebred quality shipped from San Francisco set the party stage. These sculptural representations of breed variety created a sophisticated atmosphere. A pair of life size black Great Dane mannequins gazed over the famed terminal and greeted guests at the top of the staircase, more breeds posed on tables named for the 7 Groups- including a Labrador on the Sporting table; a powder blue Lhasa atop Non-Sporting; a red velvet Chihuahua on the Toy table. Blue ribbons and MDC pennants graced each place setting. (Get a glimpse at Dr. Best's BIS Brunch video on thedoctorschannel. com.)
Best In Show Table: A cotton candy pink Afghan Hound loomed over this table. Mr. Bill Stifel, Westminster's esteemed historian arrived as my special (and surprise) guest. Honorees and experts- Best In Show judge Sari B.Tietjen; author, Hound authority and 50 year dog show veteran, Bo Bengston; and 20 year Westminster TV spokesman David Frei-took turns in jest judging the faux Afghan's conformation. Pretty in pink, but not the sighthound standard. Mrs. Tietjen and several Group judges spoke to the crowd about their real WKC picks. Then Charlotte presented Tiffany boxes containing crystal stars, the symbol of the MDC, to each honoree.
To the Victor Belongs the Flank Steak: Besides his coveted sterling WKC BIS trophy, Stump received a custom red plaid coat courtesy of Thaye r Ridge and an Andy Warhol-style pop art portrait from Feron Productions. Chances are the special Spaniel found his gourmet treats most appealing. He had a choice of juicy beef or chicken. Somehow he opted for tidbits of flank steak with tartare served to him by Charlotte. The MDC also donated $1000 to Take the Lead, an organization that assists people active in the sport of purebred dogs who are suffering from life threatening illnesses.
More about the Mannequins: I have to admit I'm obsessed with the "dogaquins". Rod Rodrigues lent (and accompanied) his statuesque pack of 17 to the NYC event because as he says, "such high profile exposure was magic for his canine line, Bad SF Inc.", which expanded from manufacturing child mannequins for Gap Kids about 6 years ago when they designed 400 Dalmatian models displayed at Disneyland. At that time Rod realized the marketing need for dog forms to showcase pet products.
The Brunch bunch moved onto the bar while patrons dined. Some of Rod's mannequins like the Scotty and Dachshund are posable, but others such as the Doberman and Greyhound are locked in free stacks. After a spot on CNN, his mannequins have been invited back to Manhattan for Pet Fashion Week and an auction for Bide-A-Wee at Tavern on the Green.
Soon his company (www/badsfinc. com) will be making mannequins more AKC structurally correct plus adding breeds including a French Bulldog and Pug to the kennel inventory. Although I resisted dognapping the pink Afghan as a jumbo souvenir, the 2 Great Danes won't be flying back to California. They were officially "adopted" by the Metropolitan Dog Club.
…I'd like to thank the Academy: As a closing comparison of Westminster as the Oscar ceremony for dogs- highly ranked canine contenders and their entourage, like nominated movie stars, remain hopeful throughout their respective award shows. Thankfully though, no Westminster winner has ever lulled audiences to sleep with an acceptance filibuster. A joyous bark or wag suffices. Dogs, unlike selfabsorbed cinema celebs, understand that less is more.
For Adoption: The Sharpei at Babylon Town Shelter (643-9270) Lamar St. W. Babylon is not looking for a place in canine history, just a spot in someone's heart and home. He's a mature stray found in Copiague. This Sharpei in Cage 16 is most likely deaf and has some skin issues typical of his breed.
Males: "Sarge"- the Pit mix who loves to play ball Cage 1; an older Chow/ Terrier Cage 5; "Mikey"- tabby & white in C-4; "Bailey"- young light orange cat in the lobby.
Females: 2 small gals need TLCscruffy Terrier Cage 46 and Spaniel mix in the Puppy Room- frightened by their situation; "Tyra"- Rottie mix Cage 42; "Yum Yum"- senior cat now in the cat colony.
• Microchip Clinic on Sun. Mar. 15 from 2 to 5 in E. Northport. $30 includes chip registration. Clinic benefits Yorkie Rescue. Call 631-905-7860 for location.