Welcome to one of the biggest dog shows in the United States. In recent years there have been as many as 5600 dogs entered in this show, but with the economy and the price of gas, this year there were only 3409 entries. There were 134 whippet entries because it's our Midwest Specialty Show.
Folks come from all over. There were around thirty-five rings like this one, and hundreds of motorhomes, campers, and even tents. All of the hotels for miles were full.
if you click to enlarge, you will see one tiny area of RV's
We were fortunate enough to be invited to stay with Crystal in her pop-up. (That's the Crystal who went to Sweden with us.) I took Swede William and Lindy Loo, and Crystal took her lovely champion, Lavender, and Sidney the girl puppy, and Mallory joined us with Luther, whom Crystal bred. The pop-up had tons of room, and Swede William and Lindy Loo felt right at home.
Lavender and Sydney in their crates on Crystal's king sized bed
click to see some of the cool stuff, use your back button to return
Every dog show has vendors. Cool stuff that you can't find anywhere else. My poor dogs. All I bought this year was two battery operated crate fans. I have twelve battery operated crate fans. At home. In the van. Also in the van were my dog show chairs, my spare emergency pantyhose, my Pepto-bismal, my x-pens (collapsible fencing for temporary yards), and my mind. I should not travel to a dog show without my Warburton Whippet Wagon. No, I should not.
At most dog shows, you can get your dog's health testing done,
including, heart, ears (for congenital deafness), and eyes, all by board certified specialists, and you can get a reduced fee for microchipping. You can also get your dog's Canine Good Citizen award, and even get certified as a Therapy Dog.
Being at a dog show is a little like being at a twelve step program meeting. No one questions your addiction. You don't have to apologize for having a baggy of dog poo in your hand, in fact, you can be proud of it for being a Human Good Citizen. Not a single soul will ask where your dogs sleep; it's a given. They sleep in the middle of the bed, sprawled out in luxury, as you cling for dear life to the very edge.
The only difference between a dog show crowd and a twelve step program meeting is that no one is looking for a cure.
The camper folks get together and share meals, and fun. The Labrador fancy had a slightly scary karaoke thing going one tent over. We whippet lovers had the annual POOP TOSSING CONTEST, and this year Crystal WON the whole thing, getting her name forever on the plaque. (It's fake poop.) Adult beverages are rumored to be involved.
Everyone entered in a dog show thinks their dog is the best. The three winners in every breed (Best of Breed, Winners Dog and Winners Bitch) think the judging was outstanding, the rest think the judge was a blind, senile, crooked, farting, stupid idiot. (That's a bit overstated. Maybe.)
Some of the whippet bitch champions line up for the judge
The winners get their pictures taken with the judge and flowers and fanciness, and get congratulated.
You see lots and lots of things at a dog show that you won't see anywhere else on earth. Every imaginable breed of dog. Looking at the smallest chihuahua and the giant Irish Wolfhounds side by side gives you a great smack of the power of selective breeding.
Oh and there are dog fashions
And human fashions!!! Where else could you win a beauty contest, wearing a gorgeous stylin' teal linen suit, accented with black sneakers and white athletic socks? And win they did! That's our roomie, Luther, with his super talented handler Lesley, who won the five point major on Sunday. Woo-HOO for Luther, Lesley, Mallory and Crystal!!!
This year was our year to congratulate others. The Midwest Specialty has been really lucky for us. Last year Swede William won the Sweepstakes one day and won his class in the Specialty. Lindy Loo's daddy won Winners Dog and an Award of Merit, and his daddy was Best of Breed and won the Hound Group. Very Old Dog won his obedience class there way back when, and well, we've just always come home with a pile o'ribbons.
But this year was our turn to say, "Good for you!!!" Lindy and William could not have shown any better, and they were STELLAR little travellers, so I have no complaints. We got to see our dear friends Carolyn and Greg and that by itself was worth the trip. It was hard for Carolyn, who has always shown her own dogs, but is unable to because of the stinkin' cancer. She had to watch other folks do it. We were both a little teary saying goodbye, and when we made the "L" for Looser sign with our thumbs and forefingers on our foreheads we laughed, and that was good.
It's the friends that are precious.
hug your hounds