Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

delcielight

I do not watch Miss America or Miss Universe Contests, but I eagerly look forward to watching the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show each year. The Agility competition is scheduled to show on the Fox Sports channel at 7:00 on Saturday, February 13. On Monday, February 15, competition for Hounds, Toys, Non-sporting and Herding dogs will be aired on CNBC, and Tuesday February 16 USA will broadcast the Sporting, Working, and Terrier classes, capped off with the Best in Show. Check www.WestminsterKennelClub.org. or local stations for more information

I will be glued to my TV.

Andy Rooney once said, ' The average dog is a nicer person then the average person.' I remember taking our Springer Spaniel to assisted living and greeting a man I had known for years. He was unresponsive and an aide said, 'He is having a bad day.' Soon, Gus the Springer, went over and pushed his muzzle under the man's hand. The man spoke to Gus, then petted him, then turned to me and said,' I used to have Springers.' Smiles all around.

'There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.'

Dogs guide us; protect us, our families, and our property; amuse us; work for us. They are loyal, intelligent, amusing, tolerant, brave, and devoted companions.

A friend once said she doesn't trust anyone who doesn't like animals. I agree.

At Westminster, seven groups will be judged: Herding; Working; Sporting; Non-Sporting; Hounds; Toys; and Terriers. Within those groups are many breeds. The breeds are judged by standards, and within breeds, each dog has a personality.

A few examples of breeds within the groups are:

Herding: German Shepherds, Old English Shepherds, Corgis, Australian

Working: St. Bernard; Great Dane; Newfoundland; Boxers, Akita

Hounds: Beagle, Basset, Dachshund, Greyhound, Bloodhound, Afghan

Non-sporting: Boston, Dalmatian, Shar Pei, Poodles

Sporting: Pointers, Setters, Retrievers, Spaniels

Terriers: Jack Russell, Staffordshire; Fox, Rat

Toys: Shiatsu, Chihuahua, Pomeranian, Pekinese, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Within each of these breeds are sub-categories based on coats—long or short, smooth or curly, or colors, weight or height.

Dogs are judged on Best of Group, Best of Breed, and Best in Show. The winners are determined by how closely the dog conforms to the standards for the breed.

The commentary is informative and anyone considering getting a dog should listen carefully and do research as not all breeds are suitable to all people or families.

Some dogs make wonderful family pets. Dogs and humans have been friends for thousands of years. Some are best suited as companions of older or handicapped people. Most dogs love children; some do not. Some dogs require lots of exercise and are not suited for apartment living. Some are bred to have thick, dense coats with an under layer and should not live in hot climates. They will require a lot of grooming. Some dogs are bred to work and get bored with nothing to do. Like the old adage for people, 'Idle hands do the Devil's work.' If a dog is bored, it may get into mischief. Some dogs enjoy companionship, some are reserved and even private. Most dogs are loyal to their people and protective of home. People must respect the dog's needs, talents, and personality.

'Dogs come into our lives to teach us about love; they depart to teach us about loss. A new dog never replaces an old dog; it merely expands the heart. If you have loved many dogs, your heart is very big.'

We have been fortunate to share our home with nine dogs in 55 years of marriage. Some were lost mutts, two had been abused, four needed new homes and we felt kids needed a dog or two. Our most recent is a Bug—a Boston and Pug cross—, a quiet, calm and clean dog, but ready to alert us. Perfect for old folks.

The dogs gave us more than we gave them. Our kids learned respect for all creatures and learned about loss.  But the loving memories never die.

If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die I want to go were they went.'

Will Rogers