2016-02-18 / Columnists

Pets, Pets, Pets

By the time you read this “Pets,” the 140th Westminster Kennel Club (WKC) Dog Show will be over. But, as I type, the show is about to start in six hours at Pier 92/94 for judging of 199 breeds and varieties during the day, and at Madison Square Garden at night for seven Group winners, culminating in Best In Show at 11pm Tuesday. You know which dog won. Right now, I don’t.

Last week to pass time on the train to the Westminster press office, I composed dog show haikus to celebrate the historic WKC 140th anniversary. The Club’s first dog show in 1877 was two years prior to Edison’s invention of the light bulb, and three years before WKC members’ rented and then purchased a Babylon clubhouse with spacious kennels . Westminster remains one of few benched shows which means the dogs are required to be on view to spectators in a certain area until all breed judging is done. An Obedience competition was added on Monday, and the third annual Agility match was held last Saturday.

St. Bernard “Trey,” last year’s Best of Breed winner, wears a St. Benard-print bib. St. Bernard “Trey,” last year’s Best of Breed winner, wears a St. Benard-print bib. On Monday we collect and go over information on 106 Best of Breed cards. Then 93 more on Tuesday as well as send graphics for each breed winner to NBC so each dog’s pedigree name and owner’s hometown can be visible on your TV. During the broadcast I sit next to David Frei and hand him the card as each dog enters the ring. Sadly, after 27 years, this will be David Frei’s last show as Westminster’s announcer.

Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry, creating an image within a three-line framework of five, seven, five syllables. Retired third-grade teachers, like me, love haiku. You may need a dog book to visualize some breeds mentioned. Only the first haiku has a title. Here goes:

Yorkie in the grooming area before going into the ring Yorkie in the grooming area before going into the ring Dog Diversity
From the small Yorkie
To the tall Irish Wolfhound-
All the same species

Bustling in benching,
But not barking or whining-
Dogs too dignified.

From three thousand dogs,
One hundred ninety-nine breeds,
Comes one Best In Show.

Puli, Komondor
Hair bounces in corded snakes
Dogdom’s Medusas.

Doberman Pinscher:
Canine Mensa Candidate
During Obedience.

“Uno” the Beagle
Most popular Best In Show
Every man’s Snoopy.

An Affenpinscher
Sounds like a German race car,
Not a “monkey” dog.

As Best In Show judge
walks back from trophy table,
the audience gasps.

Tiny Terrier
Spars with the furry toy
Waved by his handler.

St. Bernard people
Always equipped with a drool towel
To wipe up slobber.

Pretty Papillon,
Poetry in movement
Of butterfly ears.

“Halfway down the back,”
the judge says to the Maltese.
“All around, Malamute.”

Picked up by her head to tail
For the judge to see.

A canine wine list?
Lagotto; Berger Picard?
New breeds recognized.

Will “Miss P” Beagle
Let this year’s Best In Show drink
From her silver bowl?

Farewell, Maestro!
David Frei’s final show as
Voice of Westminster.

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