Tuesday, February 26, 2008

More Sweet Faces

Everywhere I turned were beautiful dogs! I couldn't take pictures of all of them. But I had fun looking at all that I could. Of course I had to check out the greyhounds. It's interesting to me to see what the breed standard calls for in the showing world. It's not always consistent with what you may be used to a breed looking like in your part of the world. Some argue that show dogs are bred away from the standard most consistent with their intended purpose. Get a few passionate dog breeders together and you can get some lively debate on this. (For example, we have lots of Labrador Retrievers in our area. The show dogs didn't look anything like what I'm used to seeing!)

These greys were quite nice...though not nearly as big as my Phil...who at one point tipped the scales at 98 pounds...and was not fat!! (Well, okay, he was way over racing form, but according to my vet was a good healthy weight...he's *very* tall and *very* muscular! I'll post his picture sometime soon.)

Who doesn't love Golden Retrievers? I grew up with one and always smile when I meet one. I particularly love the casual sprawl here with back legs spread ;D
Ah, the Weimaraner...a/k/a The Grey Ghost. I took this photo especially for my buddy in Alabama.
This Greater Swiss Mountain Dog was just too sweet-looking!
I had a request for pictures of English Bulldogs. Unfortunately, didn't get any. But if there's a breed you want to see, I encourage you to click on the link and go to the Westminster site. You can get breed info and see pictures of any that you like.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Sleeping through the madness

Dogs are really adaptable to their environments. And let's face it, the guys and gals that make it to Westminster have done this show thing a few times before ;D So they apparently understand that you have to catch a nap when you can. Even with throngs of people admiring you.
There's a fine art to sleeping in the midst of a crowd...
Some were in their crates....with, or without pillows....
And the winner in the best completely-out-of-it snooze category.....the pug!
I promise he's alive! I saw him breathing!!!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Benching Area

WKC Dog Show is what's known as a "benched show". On the day that any dog is being shown, when he or she is not in the ring they are required to be back in the benching area and accessible to the public. The benching area is crazy and busy and packed with people and dogs.
Dogs may be getting groomed and ready for their moment in the spotlight.
They may be hanging out being cute and trying to win over the crowd.
Or maybe just hanging out with (or on!) their own people.

Each breed has its own designated area and there are signs and a map in the program to help spectators find any breed they want to see. The aisles are packed with people. This is not a good area for those uncomfortable in crowds. The owners and/or handlers were, for the most part, eager and willing to talk about and show off their dogs. This was one of the neatest aspects of the show to me. To be able to get up close and personal with the dogs was worth a bit of jostling around and feeling like a sardine in a can.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Show Basics

If you've only ever watched a dog show on TV, you're only seeing a fraction of what really goes on there. During the day the arena was divided into six different rings. Breed judging was going on all day in each of the six rings. You could sit or stand right beside a ring to see a particular favorite breed, or you could go up higher into the stands and watch multiple rings at once.
There were different numbers of dogs in each breed competition. The numbers ranged from 2 in a breed competition (Harriers) to 51 (Labrador Retrievers). (Actually, there was only 1 Dandie Dinmont Terrier entered and apparently she didn't show up.) After fierce competition the field would be narrowed to the one best in breed that would get to move on to the group competition.
Here, for example, are some of the mastiffs in their breed judging. Aren't they something?
The AKC groups dogs into seven groups: Sporting, Hound, Working, Terrier, Toy, Non-Sporting, Herding. Above are some of the competitors in the Hound Group. At the top you can see Hunter, the Borzoi (third from the left); Uno, the ultimate winner of it all, is right behind him. Fourth from the left on the bottom is Amanda Alexander with Ch. Black Monday--the Plott entry. Plotts were recognized for the first time this year. Hopefully, next year our friends will have one or more of their Plotts at the Garden!

Monday's competition was of the Hounds, the Terriers, the Non-Sporting and the Herding groups. The group judging was at night (this is the part they show on TV) and led to the Beagle, the Sealyham Terrier, the Standard Poodle and the Australian Shepherd moving on to the Best-in-Show competition.

Tuesday we saw the Weimaraner, the Toy Poodle and the Akita win the Sporting, Toy and Working groups respectively to move on to the Best-in-Show...which, you know, the Beagle won.

Go hounds!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Double Posting Today

I'll be out of place tomorrow so thought I'd post twice today ;D Soon there will be pictures of other dogs...even though you can tell who I loved best, I promise I did take pictures of some breeds other than the Borzois and the Danes. But before I move on I wanted to show you how the Porcelain girls, Rachel and Opal, deal with the stress of the show:
It's a rough life, no?
It just goes to show that Borzois do make good pillows!

For an inspiring story, check out this write-up of Ethel Luke-Pugh's journey to Westminster: http://www.borzoibeacon.com/FighttoWestminsterArticle.html

Maverick's show photos

Jeffrey was kind enough to share some of Maverick's show photos that haven't even made his website yet. Isn't Maverick impressive in the ring?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Mighty, Magnificent Maverick

There were *so* many gorgeous, wonderful dogs at this show! I mean, really, with approximately 2500 dogs there how could you not find some you like? I found many that I thought were incredible. But I fell completely for one in particular. Maverick.

My friends had told me about Maverick. They've been watching him for several years now. They told me what a terrific dog he is. But hearing about him is nothing like meeting him! Maverick is a blue Great Dane with natural ears. He is huge. He is gorgeous. He has *tons* of personality. And while I'm no expert, to me, he is everything a Dane should be.
Maverick is owned and handled by Jeffrey Ball. He was a pleasure to meet. He's obviously devoted to his dogs and was open and eager to share about them. I missed seeing Maverick in the ring because we were back in the benching area looking for him! By the time we caught up to them, Maverick was done showing and was resting in his crate. But Jeffrey graciously got him out so I could meet him properly. My pictures do not do him justice...but I wanted you to see how big Maverick is standing up! (Jeffrey is not a short man!)
To really appreciate this dog, please go to their website (Blunote Great Danes- link in my favorites). They have fabulous photos of Maverick, as well as some of his girlfriends and some of his puppies. There are loads of great pix, but in particular, I recommend you at least look at "New York Photos 2" and "Blizzard Photos 2" under the "Westminster 2006" section.

I look forward to seeing this year's photos!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Big Beautiful Borzoi

As a general rule I have always been more partial to big dogs than little dogs. Like with any other rule, there are exceptions, but I'm always drawn to the big guys. Having adopted two retired greyhounds so far in my life, I'm deeply devoted to all sighthounds. One of their breeds is the Borzoi. They used to be called Russian Wolfhounds. Think big greyhound with long, luxurious coat. Just look at that soulful face! How can you not fall in love?
They are friendly and outgoing and easily break into the classic grin you see above.
We had a wonderful time talking to the folks from Porcelain Borzoi...from our home state of NC! Please click on their link to see how gorgeous their dogs are and stay tuned for some more pictures of them from me!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Dogs and More Dogs Soon

As promised, this site will detail a lot about the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show...Unfortunately, my boss doesn't yet pay me to play on the computer, read books or watch movies (though I really do want that job!). Very soon there will be lots of pix and commentary on the show and the dogs...For now, how's this for a face to get your Monday started off right?

This is a Neopolitan Mastiff. I don't remember exactly what this one weighs in at. Most of them are somewhere around 225 pounds.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Wandering Manhattan

Maybe it's because I'm a small-town kinda' girl, but whenever I visit a big city, I love wandering around and snapping pix on my digital camera. For me, the freedom of digital is that I can shoot away to my heart's content and never worry about wasting film on a picture that won't turn out.
I'm easily impressed by interesting architecture. I don't really know much about it. I can't tell you time periods or names of styles. But I know what interesting details catch my eye and strike my fancy.
And so, I wander along...stopping abruptly to capture images to take home with me as reminders of my stay.
I really liked the details on this building. It was across the street from The Brooklyn Diner--where we ate brunch one day. Don't ask me why it's The Brooklyn Diner when it's in Manhattan. Maybe someone else knows, but I don't! I know that our food was perfect. At least, that's what the waiter kept saying as we ordered. And yeah, it was pretty tasty.

Naked Cowboy, Part Duh!

Isn't life funny? You go along for years, your lifetime thus far, oblivious to some fact, person, place...then you discover it/them, and suddenly you can't get away from it! I had never heard of the Naked Cowboy until our friends told us about him and we saw him on our walk to Times Square. This morning, there he is, on TV talking about his lawsuit against M&M's...too funny! You can check out the story here: http://www.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUSN1335812420080213

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Times Square at Night

We stayed just a few blocks from Times Square. A dusting of snow began to fall as we walked there to see the lights. Who knew that nighttime could be so bright? I wonder if the city dwellers realize just how dark it can be out in the country at night?
I read in a travel book that there's a city ordinance requiring every building in the Square to have lit signs. It certainly appeared that it was being taken seriously.

And then, there was the Naked Cowboy. I'm truly sorry that my picture didn't turn out better. I'm not sure if it was the fact that I was trying to shoot through the crowd while walking, the fact that I was shivering in the cold, or some combination of the two. But at least you get the general idea. My friends tell me this guy is out there every year they go...wearing his cowboy hat, his cowboy boots, and his skivvys...which on the back read "Naked Cowboy". It was priceless.
We carried on a debate for a while about how he could stand the cold. You couldn't really prepare this Southerner for the effect of the wind whistling through the canyons between skyscrapers. Man! Was it cold!!

The Inspiration

So, my friend Pepper, over at http://www.peppercory.blogspot.com/ has been telling me I should start a blog. She planted the seed, so to speak. I thought about it. But I wasn't really sure I wanted to dive in and do it. Then we went to New York City to go to the Westminster Kennel Club dog show. What a fabulous experience! I returned home and thought, "what a wonderful way this would be to share pictures and thoughts about the trip"....so, Dog Gone Right was created.

To begin with this blog will be all about that trip. After that...well, who knows? It could evolve into just about anything. But a sure bet will be that it will deal with animals...a lot!

Happy Reading!