Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

My book, Life with McDuff: Lessons Learned from a Therapy Dog, was nominated for a Special Award by the Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA) in 2010. I attended the Awards Banquet in New York City. DWAA is closely associated with the Westminster Kennel Club (WKC) and the annual awards banquet is held on the eve of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. A lady sitting at my table was showing her dog at Madison Square Garden the next day and invited me to sit ringside. What an experience!

Like most dog lovers, I’ve never missed watching the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on television down through the years. But, attending in person, sitting ringside no less, was the thrill of a lifetime. I’ve owned pure bred and mixed breeds and loved them the same. But, I must admit that watching the crème de la crème of every registered breed of dog was exhilarating.

Who knew that the huge Mastiffs have a mound of towels stacked up beside them that wiped off their dripping drool before being judged? For the rare “accident” in the show ring, there are employees who reminded me of the ball girl and boys you see at a professional tennis match. Only they aren’t picking up balls. You don’t see that on TV! If at all possible, dog lovers should put the WKC Dog Show on their bucket list.

This year a fluffy, eleven pounds, four-year old Pekingese named Malachy won Best in Show. Sadie, a Scottish terrier like my McDuff, won it in 2010. I once heard a WKC dog show announcer comment as the Scotties pranced into the ring, “The Scottish terrier is the only breed of dog that knows it is smarter than its master.” At the time I didn’t have a clue. After living nine years with a Scottie that combined off-the-chart intelligence with you-won’t-believe stubbornness to outsmart and frustrate me to tears — I get it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Why Can't People Get Along?

Why can’t the human race get along?
Gregory Pike

Gregory Pike is not a famous celebrity, philosopher, politician, or religious leader. In fact, he is a homeless man living on the streets of Santa Barbara, California. In my opinion, he has done more to demonstrate the true meaning of love and acceptance than anyone famous. I hope the world takes notice and the instances of bullying and intolerance of others is dealt a serious blow in the United States and around the world. Click on the link to see what Gregory, his dog, cat, and rat have to say to the world.

Gregory says that he makes everyone happy and in return it makes him happy. That he didn’t do it for money, but to prove a point. What a philosophy! And from a man with so much less than others. We can all learn from him. A human being, dog, cat, and rat coexisting in brotherhood, love, and peace. He says that perhaps they should be sent to Iraq to change things. Gregory asked a question for all of us to consider. “Why can’t people get along?”