Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Going to the Dogs

(47) Going to the Dogs

Even if you don’t like Dogs, the Westminster Kennel Club show was worth watching. Both nights, in fact.

But, like MTV, it’s best seen with the sound turned off. For essentially the same reason.

MTV is to today’s older generation what burlesque shows were to our grandparents. Plus, if you know the repertoire, young people around you think you’re cute or hip or both.

They don’t need to know the real reason we watch: scantily clad young women with come hither looks, performing athletic mating dances.

The dog show is not soft core porn of the PG-rated kind. But it’s still fun to watch.

These aren’t the trick dogs that jump through hoops or play songs on the bicycle horns with their noses. But they are among the most beautiful and well groomed of their breeds.

Some are stately, some are cute, some are goofy, some are not quite perfectly behaved. Some look like dogs-in-mop costumes, or dogs with high fashion haircuts that they don’t acknowledge – can’t acknowledge.

Most of them seem to be having a good time while their nervous handlers parade them around in front of judges who are said to be snooty and impervious to public opinion. (If they weren’t, Labs and Golden Retrievers would win best of show every year, but these breeds have NEVER won.)

The 2006 winner was a dog named Rufus, a Bull Terrier of Color (as opposed to a White Bull Terrier. They are separate but equal breeds, we’re told.) Rufus has one of those long pedigree names, but his owners call him “Puppyhead.” This may be because, according to the judges, he has a head that’s “perfectly egg shaped.”

Does anyone call him Rufus? Does Rufus give a kibble or bit about that? Probably not. He seems to be quite well contained, does not suffer from low self esteem, and has no clue about the honor he just won.

To those of us who are not immersed in the nuances of canine appearance, this dog is, well, a dog. Not pretty. But he has personality, discipline and a sleek coat. He also gets a steak dinner, courtesy of his owner, a woman from New Jersey.

Terriers always seem to win the top prizes. About half of the 130 Westminster shows that have been held. But not “Colored Bull Terriers.” Puppyhead was a first. Or was it Rufus was a first.

This corner tends to favor mutts of any foot configuration between two and four. But you have to admit these were cool dogs, all of them.

Not as cool as Paula Abdul or Madonna. But you can watch THEM with the sound down any time.

I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.™

©wjr 2006

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