Here’s the thing about dog shows: They are a to-do.
I’m not the pro source about dog shows, as you know. I’m learning as I go, and the more I learn, the less I know. It’s fascinating, the work that goes into becoming a champion, the hours spent grooming and training and driving from place to place and competing in the hunt for titles. But at the end of the day, for me, it boils down to this: people who are really into showing dogs are absolutely, 100% nuts for canines.
And that I get. I took that love and channeled it in my own way, by learning how to take a sick dog and make him better, to cut out offending masses, make them happy, and keep them healthy. Others do it by funneling their time into rescuing abandoned dogs from shelters. And this group does it by taking their personal favorite breed and making them exceptional. But we’re all facets of the same die: people who believe that dogs are important, and worthy of our time and attention, and whatever path that means for you, I admire it. Because there is another option, and that is to be apathetic. And that, my friends, is the root of a lot of pain for our canine friends.
So I’m going to the AKC/Eukanuba show this Wednesday, not as an expert in dog showing, but an expert in dog-admiring. I do that quite well. And I know you all do too. I am amazed at the number of people who don’t really know all that much about the logistics of the dog show world but LIVE for watching the shows on TV. I get it. They are fun and the dogs are beautiful. This is why I am so thrilled to get to go ringside, and share all that incredible dog energy with you all.
And love on Griffin, the VP of Canine Communications. Cannot WAIT to smooch on him.
But I digress! Back to dress: I figure the more I blend in, the better.
In this world, one dresses a certain way. Attention to detail as a reflection of a measure of respect. Now, in the vet world, dressed up means your jeans don’t have holes, so I had a bit of planning to do. I asked my friend Susi, my personal concierge as to all things dog show, if jeans would be OK. She gave a non-committal, “Well, for you, I guess, if you must, but don’t expect me to introduce you to anyone,” which told me all I needed to know. I had some shopping to do.
I started in the Nordstrom dressing room with a pile of dresses lovingly selected for me by my favorite shopping companion- my mother, who sent me off to prom a million years ago in high-necked ankle length prairie dresses. But now that a couple of decades have passed and she isn’t responsible for my after hours behavior, she rebounded by bringing me the following choice:
The Haute Hippe Sequin Halter Mini Dress. No, I’m not kidding. “Well, mom,” I said, standing nervously in front of the mirror feeling the draft, “I’m not sure this is the right tone for a dog show….and I’m a few years past the expiration date on this one anyway.” But I took a picture of me in it anyway, just to show my husband. (He liked it.)
“Which dog show?” asked the helpful Nordstrom attendant, who, as it turns out, had a champion Maltese some years past. “AKC/Eukanuba?” She put her hand over her mouth. “Yes, hmmm, well, maybe something a little more conservative, then.” And she brought me the perfect dress. I felt more dog world-ly already.
With that in hand, we went to the shoe department. “Maybe some subtle sparkle,” I said to the shoe guy.
Or perhaps not.
“I need them to be comfortable, too,” I added. “Comfortable and sparkly,” he said. “Got it.”
But he clearly didn’t get it.
“It’s for a dog show,” I said, thinking that this might clear things up.
Which is how I found myself staring at a boot that appears to be decorated with scalped poodles.
So I decided to go with what I had at home. But I’m getting there.
The AKC/Eukanuba National Championship takes place December 17th and 18th. For the first time, they will offer live streaming of the event so you can see it as it happens- or if you miss it, the show will air on ABC on February 4th. And, of course, I’ll be writing about it here, too. Are you going to watch?