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Happy Tail: Westminister Kennel Club Dog Show 2015

This report is from Peg Schaeffer's Second Most Favorite Show in the world, the Westminister Kennel Club Dog Show. The First? It isn't at Rupp Arena or even Yum Center, but it is not far from the latter.
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By Peg Schaeffer

There are two events I look forward to every year - one is the Kentucky Derby, the other the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show - in that order. The 139th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show was this past week. It's on television for two nights, Monday and Tuesday, and is the culmination of several days showing. First dogs have to win their "breed" and then they have to win their "group". The winners of each breed compete with the winners of their group. After that the winners of each group go on to compete for "Best of Show".

Some people say the Dog Show is unfair and that the dogs suffer, but this can be said for any major sporting event. I don't condone this but some people will go to any extreme to win without concern for the welfare of the contestants. This is true of any competition regardless if the athletes have two or four legs. If you watch the dogs as they parade in the ring, heads held high and so full of pride, you know they are aware that they're the central of attraction. There is no way this air can be faked, they KNOW.

Rescue people frown on the breeding of dogs and although I am vehemently opposed to puppy mills I see nothing wrong with a responsible breeder. Far too many dogs end up in shelters regardless of whether they are purebreds or mixed breeds. Kudos to an announcement made during the show. They discouraged people from buying "teacup" breeds. They said that dogs of this size have major health issues and that no responsible breeders will breed "teacup" size dogs.

To give you a thumbnail history of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show it was first held in 1877 and is the second longest continuously held sporting event in the country. The Kentucky Derby is first by one year. It pre-dates the invention of the light bulb, the automobile and manned air flight. Its first show was held 127 years ago and since then there have been 24 men elected president and 12 states have joined the union. The first show had 1,201 dogs entered. This year's show had 2,711 dogs entered. Originally the entry fee was $2. Now it is $30.

There are seven breed "groups" and on Monday the Hound, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding groups were shown and on Tuesday the Sporting, Working and Terrier groups showed. Then the "Best of Show" was awarded. On Monday the first group to enter the ring was the Hounds. The dogs are shown by alphabetical order of the breed so the Beagle was one of the first. She was a 15 inch Beagle called Miss P. As each dog struts past the judge the announcer reads the breed description. It's not boring and they always interject a comment that you can't help but laugh or nod your head in agreement. Even though I hear it every year I still enjoy it.

Once the judge examines each dog he/she returns to their spot on the carpet and then the judge picks a small group of dogs as the finalists. As each one passes the judge the audience claps and cheers for their favorite dog. But the judges aren't swayed by the audience and then pick the first four places. Miss P made the first cut and the cheers were deafening when she was picked for first place in the Hound Group.

There was much celebration at our house when the Beagle was announced as the winner. Keith and I cheered and the dogs barked. They didn't really know what they were barking at but are always glad for an excuse to bark. (They actually don't need an excuse to bark.) As each group came out Keith and I would pick our favorites. There are the usual breeds we're familiar with but there are also several breeds that aren't so recognizable. It's always interesting to learn about them.

So on Tuesday night we sat in front of the TV to watch the rest of the show. The final three groups showed and then came the Best of Show. Out came Miss P and the rest of the group winners. Every dog was beautiful, groomed to a T, and so proud. They marched past the judge, returned to their spots and were judged individually. Then the judge passed the dogs again, watched them circle the ring, and made her decision. The rousing crowd was silent and the Reserve was announced. It was won by a beautiful Skye Terrier with a luxurious coat. Then everyone again held their breath to see who she chose for the Best of Show. An Olde English Sheepdog was the favorite. Then the announcement - the 2015 Winner of Best of Show was...........the BEAGLE! Miss P, aka Champion Tashtins Lookin For Trouble, was the winner. And winner she was - she jumped, barked, and celebrated along with her handler. Typical Beagle - as they handed her handler the rosette Miss P grabbed the ribbon and proceeded to have a tug of war, after all it was her ribbon too.

We cheered for our favorite breed, the Beagle, as well as Miss P. Darryl, Bart, Starrie, Ben, Alice, Flicka, and Lena (our resident Beagles) were all so proud. Of course, Darryl wasn't surprised at all; after all he's so handsome. He wants me to contact Miss P for him and see if she'd like to meet him but I think she'll be way too busy after all she'll have lots of TV appearances and public engagements to keep her busy but I'm sure she might send him an autograph - that will have to do for now.

- Peg Schaeffer, President and Founder, Sugarfoot Farm Rescue

Contact us if you would like to help.

Peg Schaeffer, Sugarfoot Farm Rescue,
860 Sparksville Road
Columbia, KY 42728
Home telephone: 270-378-4521
Cell phone: 270-634-4675

This story was posted on 2015-02-22 08:50:22
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Darryl, most handsome dog in Adair Co., KY, happy Miss P won

2015-02-22 - Sugarfoot Farm Rescue, 860 Sparksville Road, Columbia, KY - Photo by Peg Schaeffer. Darryl giving a big smile for Miss P - the winner of the 2015 Westminster Kennel Club "Best of Show" - PEG SCHAEFFER
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