Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Grand Finale

As I have done for so many years, I went over to my mother's on Monday and Tuesday evening to watch Westminster (I don't have cable, and rarely watch TV otherwise).  I bring dinner one night and she prepares it the other, and we watch the dog show together.  She's never been a "dog person" but always enjoys this one, and has always had an amazingly good eye for dogs - and I'm always surprised at the gaiting faults she can recognize, without actually knowing anything about structure and movement.  Some years she falls asleep before the end, but not this year.  She didn't miss a dog.

Fern came along with me last night and had a great time retrieving her toys down grandma's long hallway.  Fern tends to be a little "dog dependent" so it was a good chance for her to leave the other dogs behind and enjoy being an only dog.  She was very good, and I'm glad I took her along.  She's grown up so much in the past few weeks.

I've attended Westminister five times, four as a spectator and once (showing Argus) as an exhibitor. It's so much fun, but an expensive proposition, especially if you take a dog.  Everything is pricey of course, including transportation, hotel rooms, food, and tickets, but well worth it.  I'll be ready to go again in a couple more years!   Just seems that there are always other things for me to spend my money on and the TV coverage is quite satisfactory.  The website for Westminster is a good one, and this year I had an iPhone App too.

Lots of surprises this year, including the Dobe and the Wire Fox (two of the favorites) not winning their Groups.   The Sporting Group was so competitive, with the GWP, Springer, and Black Cocker all being spectacular dogs.  Westminster handling has improved a lot over the years, and very few dogs appeared as over-whelmed as in the past.  The Herding Group judge seemed to be a bit heavy-handed, and several of the dogs did not seem to appreciate that, and a few of the Working Dogs appeared less than thrilled to be there, but all in all the showmanship was excellent.

Old English Sheepdogs are not a breed I normally pay any attention too, but I absolutely loved the dog who won the Herding Group.  Already a Best in Show winner, he was Best Of Breed from the classes (not yet a champion) over 19 Specials.  His Reserve Best In Show (the first year it was offered at Westminster) was well deserved.  Have always loved the Affenpinscher "Banana Joe" and was thrilled to see him go all the way this year.  Joey retired with the win - what a fantastic career he has had - and his wonderful handler Ernesto joins the ranks of those who have piloted a dog to Best in Show at the Garden.   Well done! 

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