mardi, mars 06, 2007

gone to the dogs

I'm crazy about dogs. No, I don't breed them or show them or any of that stuff. But I do know lots about breed peculiarities and have been known to pore over dog books in my spare time. In spite of my interest, I'm a tourist in a dog world inhabited by much more devoted folks, like my friend Sandra.

Sandra just made the pilgrimage to the Mecca of the dog world: she went to Westminster. Take a look at what she had to say ... and then you may understand why this event is on my to-do-before-I-die list.
A winter gone to the dogs
Finally, I have this astonishing dog-related news to report. EK and I went to Westminster! Yes, we were there, ringside no less, at the 131st episode of that granddaddy of all dog shows. We were there as the television cameras flashed live coverage from New York City's storied Madison Square Garden, images of the world's best-looking dogs and, in many cases, oddest-looking humans. We were part of the surreal interspecies insanity that inspired Christopher Guest's classic mockumentary, "Best in Show." It is a Camelot moment. An oxymoron of an event that gives people ordinarily consumed by slinging kibble, vacuuming fur, scrubbing slime and scooping poop a chance to don tuxes and sequins and show off their favorite canine companions under a nationwide spotlight.

For the uninitiated, let me try to explain the full glory of this experience. Sitting ringside at Westminster, not to mention partying with the judges and having your photo snapped with James, the dashing English springer spaniel crowned "best in show," is akin to sitting just behind the winning bench at the Superbowl, or midcourt for the NBA finals. And then partying with the triumphant team after the game. It's like sitting in the front row during the Oscars, on the aisle where the winners brush by you on their way to the podium. And then chatting it up with Helen Mirren, Jennifer Hudson and Martin Scorcese over drinks and hors d'ouevres afterward. It's like watching the Kentucky Derby from the owners' booth and then helping adjust the roses just so for the official photographs. I could go on.

Suffice it to say, it was a dream come true for both of us, made even sweeter by EK's own appearance on the green carpet with five other winners of Westminster Kennel Club scholarships for vet students--the reason for our trip and VIP treatment--and only slightly tarnished by our 3-day delay in flying home to California after a Valentine's Day ice storm shut down every New York airport. Snowed in twice in as many months! Hardly a typical winter for a Southerner turned Southern California. But a great one, especially for a dog lover.

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