Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Westminster Pedigrees vs. America's Mutts

 
My dog Susie says

A rare dog saves a rare dancer


A few days ago my Big Mommy and I were watching the two days of one of our favorite television shows (right behind Dancing With The Stars), the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. It's held every year in Madison Square Garden, which is really round, where over 2,000 dogs with 185 breeds show their stuff. It's so big it takes two different nights on two different networks to show it all. This year's contest was both exciting and depressing for reasons I'll discuss later.

I learned that the dog who is finally chosen champion isn't necessarily the smartest, cutest, most agile, understands English, takes commands, runs around fastest, jumps highest or does the best tricks. No, the winner is the one that resembles the perfect model of a particular breed the closest. It's no beauty contest like Ms. America, and there is only one judge who determines the winner. So if there was a "Frankenstein" breed and a dog lumbered around scaring and attacking people the closest to the perfect Frankenstein model, then they are declared the winner!

This years winner was a Pekinese named Malachy and people acted like he was in fact a Frankenstein. Without dwelling on the winner let's just say it wasn't a popular decision. There's always next year.

The bad or depressing part of this year's contest was when my Big Mommy, Sandy, discovered that the Westminster Kennel Club doesn't support rescue or adoption of animals that are orphans. They're more concerned with keeping all breeds perfect without any "mixing" of the various types of dogs. Now, dogs will be dogs, and sometimes nature takes its course. What would America be without mixing together over centuries different human races and nationalities from different parts of the World? Not as strong I bet. Anyway, Sandy was so outraged that she emailed the Westminster Kennel Club and told them what she thought about their outdated philosophy. Oh, and she stopped her hefty annual donation. Don't they realize that by not helping ALL animals that need humans to take care of them, for example, Sandy and I maybe wouldn't have met each other. Big Mommy and I always say, "we saved each other when we found each other."

Now for the exciting part of this years contest. It turned out that one of the contestants was owned by a former ballerina named Sharon Pederson. My Big Mommy took ballet for years. Ms. Pederson was stricken with Parkinson's disease when she was 33. She experienced daily intense burning pain and was watching her previous active life slip away. She eventually went to the outskirts of the planet to search for help. Arriving in Norway ten years ago, she was treated and eventually became much better. Because of this trip, Sharon became interested in a local breed called a "Norwegian Lundehund" which was almost extinct because of a distemper epidemic years ago. The total population of this breed was estimated at only 6 dogs who lived on a remote Norwegian island north of the Arctic Circle. Brrrrrr.

Because Ms. Pederson had traveled to this most inhospitable region of the world and it saved her life, she felt a kinship to these unusual animals. She adopted one of the few "Lundies" and named it Nils. She also joined a local kennel club which led to her becoming president of her kennel club. This led to her attending Westminster as a judge, and then meeting a man there, who would become her future husband. So fate lead her to the top of the world, which saved her life and maybe her soul. See... adopting a dog can lead someone to places of happiness... you can't imagine.

As a footnote, Nils the Norwegian Lundehund is so agile he can bend completely backwards and touch his nose to his back. Also, because of his unique skeletal structure along with six toes, he can contort his body into various yoga poses. So, Sharon being a former ballerina, can really appreciate what a special dog Nils really is!

One last thing: Sharon and Nils competed in this year's Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

Catch you later,

Susie & Sandy Steele

P.S. The last words spoken on his deathbed by P.T. Barnum, a dog owner, and a famous showman of his time........ "What were the receipts today at Madison Square Garden?"
 
To see more of Susie's barks go to: http://sandy-steele.blogspot.com

For more information on Sandy Steele go to: http://sandysteele.com