Inside the Newsroom @ A2 Journal

Welcome to Inside the Newsroom @ A2 Journal, a blog written by the newspaper's staff at A2 Journal, a new, weekly, community newspaper covering Ann Arbor. This blog is a place for members of the newspaper's staff to write their thoughts, observations, opinions and other informative pieces they put together while covering the rich history, interesting people, institutions and traditions that make Ann Arbor such a unique community.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Feb. 15 - Lisa's Musings From Every Day Life

For dog show fans, today marks the first day of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden.

For most of us, it will be a night at home with our pooches watching the top show dogs in the country compete for the Grand Daddy of titles -- Best in Show at this 134th edition of the Super Bowl of dog shows.

Tonight, the Hound, Toy, Non-sporting and Herding group winners will be chosen.

Tuesday, Sporting, Working, Terrier and Best in Show take place.

I'll have to wait to see who wins because I'll be out covering stories both nights. This happens a lot, but thanks to my new DVR, I'll still get to see it.

I don't get to see a lot of things on TV "live," like the opening ceremony for the Olympics, which I taped and watched two days later.

But, I digress.

About the dogs competing tonight, there was a very interesting story in the New York Times today about the best show dogs and what it costs to be one of those top dogs in a breed that are invited to compete at Westminster.

According to a story by David Segal, a former Best in Show winner spent about $700,000 for a three-year campaign to get Rufus, a colored bull terrier, into the record books.

Holy bank roll, Batman.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent on dog show expenses, advertising, professionals to show these dogs ... I cannot even imagine spending this much money on dog shows.

Dog shows ...

According to this story, Americans spend about $330 million each year to show their dogs.

Makes my dozen or so shows a year and maybe $1,000 in entry fees and travel expenses seem like chicken feed.

Truth be told, I enjoy competing with my dogs; but I can't imagine spending every weekend at a dog show, although I know people who do. They spend their weekends, holidays, day's off and vacation days competing with their dogs.

It's an obsession for them.

As much as I enjoy competing, I've got better things to do with my free time.

I love my dogs and I enjoy showing them, but I think the most fun is training them and developing that bond with my four-footed companions.

Showing them is a way to find out if I've communicated my wishes to my dogs in a way that they can perform these behaviors according to the standards and rules of whatever competition for which they've been trained.

I recently started showing my puppy in conformation -- the same sort of competition, or beauty contest if you will, that those dogs on TV will do for the next two days at Madison Square Garden.

It's fun, but certainly not my favorite thing to do with my dogs. I like the performance events -- agility, obedience, field work, or swimming the dogs in a nearby lake, watching them bounce through snow in their fenced in dog yard or go for a walks.

This AKC conformation, or what I call -- stand-and-eat-food stuff -- is a title I've not put on a dog before. So Driver's my guinea pig.

And there are tricks of the trade in this type of competition, just like the other flavors, that I need to learn.

Somehow, they just don't seem as fun to train as teaching my dogs to jump jumps or run up and down A-frames or across dog walks or through tunnels.

And I think if my dogs got a vote in what they'd rather do, they'd agree with me.

But watching the professionals show dogs is a learning experience and these men and women will be on the greatest dog stage of them all during the next two days.

Just as I couldn't compete on their level in the conformation ring; few of them would compete at my level on the agility field.

Then again, I'm the one paying for a chance to compete with my dogs.

These professionals are being paid to compete with other people's dogs.

So hopefully, my puppy will watch Westminster without me and learn something by watching the competition.

And if not, we'll learn how to do it together and have lots of fun along the way.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

Powered by Blogger

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]