Tuesday, January 10, 2012

First time at a dog show...

Yep.  That's right.  This IS my blog, although you could be excused for thinking it had somehow morphed or mutated into something else, given the fact that IT HAS BEEN AN ENTIRE MONTH SINCE I LAST WROTE...

But what can I say?  The holidays, tons of portraits to paint, and lots of travel to do.  The blog just kind of fell away to the very backmost burner.

Anyhow, yes, the photo is of a POODLE, getting its hair sprayed.  And teased.  And back-combed.

It looks about as happy about the process as I would be.  Which is why my hair is so low-maintenance and gray and non-glamorous.  But the poodle is MUCH MORE TOLERANT of the process.  (And I used to think I would LIKE to show collies, back when I was a naive twelve-year-old who had read way too many in the "Lad, a Dog" series and didn't realize that the hairspray used on ONE single show collie could open up a hole in the ozone the size of Kansas.  And that I would spend ALL my spare time brushing the dog).

So, in case you're wondering, I spent last weekend in Palm Springs, at the big AKC dog show there.  It was IMMENSE.  There were over 3,500 dogs entered.


Given that many dogs, I was totally amazed at the lack of dogfights and UTTER lack of POO around. Then again, the show was held at a polo club encompassing many, many acres of land and employing many many people whose primary job was shovelling up unsightly piles of poo from animals much larger than dogs.

You see, it was my FIRST dog show.  And (you have the news first here) I figured that I'd better figure out what I'm in for, SINCE I HAVE BEEN TAPPED TO BE A VENDOR FOR THE BIG FEBRUARY DOG SHOW IN DENVER IN FEBRUARY.

I found out SO MANY THINGS...

I found out that there were WHOLE beauty salon stations--JUST FOR WESTIES...

This totally FREAKS ME OUT, because I have cats and can't imagine them putting up with any type of beauty treatment whatsoever.  They are, after all, PERFECT JUST AS THEY ARE.

I found out that, while dog handlers wear nice-looking suits all the time, the key aspect of those suits is that they have POCKETS.  So the handlers can keep their squeaky toys and brushes and combs and nice chewy chicken treats handily out of sight.

I found out the ONE piece of key equipment if you show a jowly dog like this champion Great Dane, or a Newfoundland, or a Mastiff...

...is a TOWEL.  To wipe all the spit off their jowls and chest and everywhere else, of course.  Including YOU.  Those dogs slobber like Pavlov's in the next room ringing his bell constantly.

I found out most dog show people talk to their dogs just like I talk to my cats:

"It's okay, honey, you did GREAT!  Who's mommy's little snookums? Who IS?  Who wants a treatie now?"

I think I've heard stories about overbearing, neurotic, evil people who push their dogs unreasonably in competition.  I THINK...but maybe I'm thinking of the Christopher Guest movie "Best in Show."

Or maybe I'm confusing dog shows with child beauty pageants.  Or cheerleader moms.  Or...Lemony Snicket, I don't know.  I can be kind of loose in my associations, that way.

All I can say is, if you get a chance, check out a dog show in your area!  Do it even if you are a CAT PERSON, because it's just an amazing experience!