Behind the Scenes at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show 2012
Some people look forward to the Superbowl with such ardent fervor and zest that they plan for weeks on end. They plan a menu, unplug the phone, lock the door and tell the kids “shhhh.” Though a football fan am I, as far back as I can remember, the Westminster Kennel Club show has been the Dog Superbowl for me.
I’d always wondered what it took to make it to the famous “Garden Green,” where the top dogs are in the same place at the same time vying for the highly coveted Best in Show. What is it really like to attend a Garden Party and celebrate elbow to elbow with other groupies, ascending upon Madison Square Garden with the same oomph and enthusiasm since 1877? Second only to the Kentucky Derby as America’s continuously held sporting event, the Garden’s been selling out since 2005 when the dogs take a bite out of the Big Apple. This year, FIDO Friendly put me at the core of it all for my second visit to the Garden Green.
As an armchair aficionado, the safety net of my filled popcorn bowl and beloved cocker spaniel gone, instead equipped with a notepad, Blackberry and armful of purple and gold embossed official Westminster Kennel Club media paraphernalia, I walked bewildered through the Garden. Me, the newly planted acorn amidst the great oaks. An electric charge ruminated from the ground level upwards. Like any rookie, I headed for the dugout, the benching area where the magic maintains itself.
The dog mom in me wanted to smooch the dogs in the benching area. What you see on tv, those dogs on the tables being groomed and primped for the ring, well you get to see them first hand and paw at the Garden as a visitor. Having followed dog breeds and their qualities for years, I enjoyed being able to ask questions about the breed, get honest answers from handlers, and see a genuine love of dogs in their eyes. That means a lot because on television the owners and handlers who truly are in it for the betterment and love of the breed often gets overshadowed with liver bait treats, stacking dogs, and traipsing the green.
Vendors and favors abound, more than a few novelties stuffed the sack of this new kid on the block. Re-“tail” therapy takes on a whole new meaning, as there is an entire floor of vendor shopping at one’s fingertips. Breed jewelry, posters, shirts, books, and treats abound, there is truly something for every dog lover.
Fans of the televised event, rest assured it feels even larger than life watching the spectacle as a spectator in person. The marquis reaches into your seat and invites you to behold the more than 2,500 purebred dogs competing to win their breed competitions. I walked away a more electrified fan, recalling my two days through photos and re-tweets. Correctly guessing the Peke would take the covered top prize was a fun bonus.
Would I attend again? You bet. Would it be the same? No two experiences ever are. Dusting off my popcorn bowl and gazing down at the heartbeat at my feet, it’s okay to be an armchair aficionado. When my canine cocker met 2009 Best in Show champ Sussex Spaniel Stump, he kissed him right on the snout. He’s more of a smoocher than a feeler anyway. The Garden is indeed green and there’s no place like home.
Here are some of the photos taken backstage and through the Westminster experience. All photos are the property of Carol Bryant for FIDO Friendly and may not be copied or shared without prior written consent.
Meeting Schmitty the Weather Dog and the pawtastic Ron Trotta in the Press Room at Madison Square Garden:
Backstage Pass to the fun and excitement of benching:
One final note: Regardless of one's feelings about dog shows, there is one common thread on which we can agree: Dogs make our lives have more meaning. They allow us to laugh, smile, get out in the world, take solace in a bad day by the mere wag of a tail, and these sentiments are all included in a commercial that aired this year during the 2-day event. This song is so very moving, one can picture their own dog's images set to the words. Double dog dare you to listen and not smile. We sure did. (scroll down for video)
Join the FIDO Friendly magazine pack and never a single issue of the one magazine your dog will thank you for.
Inside Every Good Dog is A Great Dog - Purina® Pro Plan® Commercial
Purina® Pro Plan® Dog Food http://www.proplan.com -- Official Sponsor of the Westminster Dog Show Purina® Pro Plan® knows that inside every good dog is a great dog. Every dog breed, big or small, purebred or mutt, has something amazing within them.
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