Saturday, March 11, 2006
A very cute pug who was afraid of us. His handler said she should have started showing him earlier to get him over his apprehension. Hey, I'd be apprehensive too. There are a lot of intense people at dog shows.
It's the weekend that the Blennerhassett Kennel Club hosts a regional dog show at the Washington County Fairgrounds in Marietta, Ohio. I'm told that dog people like coming to Marietta and enjoy the warm reception they get here. I dug it for the photo-ops; nobody's paying any attention to the crowd that flows in and around the handlers, and I got some interesting pictures. I love taking pictures of people and their animals.
We enjoyed meeting a few selected dogs. We always asked if it was OK to touch them, because we didn't want to mess up their show 'do's or their mojo.
This silky terrier's handler told us not to touch him. No worries.
This Doberman's handler was much more relaxed, and so was the dog. He dug Liam and Phoebe, went right over to them as if they had a secret together.
I've always liked Dobermans, ever since I saw one with nice floppy ears and an undocked tail, sharing an ice cream cone with two kids.
Of course we were hunting for show Bostons, because we'd never seen one in the flesh. We were amazed to find them about half Chet's size, tipping the scales around 15 lbs. to his 22. They looked like toys. Equally amazing were their almost perfectly round heads; little tennis balls, with muzzles that barely broke the round outline. What's with that? The male of this pair of dogs (left) is only a puppy, but I could hear every breath he drew. That just doesn't seem fair, to push a dog's nose in so far through selective breeding that his breathing is compromised. Seems to me he could use a little more muzzle. I make these vulgar and unenlightened comments on Boston terriers as a complete neophyte and avowed show-ring outsider. Please take them for what they're worth.
Little Bud took Best of Breed earlier today. He was a piece of work. Tiny, like the first two, but very, very cute and friendly. He gave the classic Boston greeting--boing! boing! Slurp! Slurp! to Phoebe and Liam.
He's only 7 months old, but clearly on his way. His handler complained that she had a female who weighed only 15 pounds, but judges kept telling her the dog was oversized!! Which sounds like a judge problem to me... What a pretty little animal Bud was. I could definitely see the appeal of small Bostons. But then I tried to imagine him rounding up cattle, or scrambling along rock ledges, or chasing deer out of my gardens, and failed.
By comparison, Chet looks tough, muscular and rangy. By current show fashions, he's a hulk; he'd never make it to the ring. But he is sooo beautiful to us.
Baker, waiting outside for me to come out for our afternoon hike.He's a lucky boy, got enough nose and room to run.
Thank you, Jane, for breeding sound, sturdy Bostons who work right and look like dogs, not tiny toy space monkeys. No offense, beautiful Buddy!
Here's a gray guy walking his gray Weimeraner. I can't really define dog show fashion, but I can say that it is weird. Everybody tries to dress up a little, but there's a wide spectrum of what constitutes dressed up. I think the thing that impressed me most was the handlers' hair. I was taking a picture of this woman's piles upon piles of hair, and totally by accident managed to capture another man I'd been stalking. I squealed when I saw him in the pictures. I'd been trying to shoot him without his noticing but he was too alert.
He had a mullet, but it was the weirdest mullet I've ever seen--parted down the middle, with long soft Beatle bangs in a complete bowl around his head, and then a curly ponytail out behind. Dang. The smoking area was the place to be for shooting hairdos. It seems to me that people's impulses to groom their dogs kind of spill over and they wind up doing the same thing to their own hair. They've got all the tools there, why not?
I definitely go to dog shows for all the wrong reasons. I couldn't care less who wins what--it's the people scene I dig. If you enjoyed this little taste of a regional dog show, and haven't seen Christopher Guests' masterpiece mockumentary, Best in Show, you owe it to yourself to get ahold of it. We own it, and our kids can quote lines from it. Christopher Guest ROKKS.
Overall, I was most impressed with the patience and forbearance of the dogs, who submit to indignities that no ordinary dog would suffer. Standing still and waiting for hours in small crates is their job. 1,200 dogs on the fairgrounds, and there was barely a bark voiced. People should behave so well.
Posted by Julie Zickefoose at 1:12 PM