Sunday, January 20, 2008

We now PAWS for a visit with Man's Best Friend

At only $2 bucks to get into the Central Iowa Kennel Club's show this weekend at the fairgrounds it seemed like a fun (albeit perhaps, fragrant) place to come in out of the sub-zero cold and hang out for a while.

Fun, it was! Competition was taking place in a bunch of different rings where things seemed to be very serious but outside the ring I found a collection of fine-looking dogs, just about any kind you could possibly imagine.

This is Joe, the first guy I met at the show. At 19 month olds and a mere 150 pounds, I didn't have to bend over very far to take this picture. He wasn't competing, he was just having a look around, sniffing tails and maybe wondering why everyone else looked like they'd just come from a beauty parlour.

Like these little brothers. Seasoned professionals, no doubt.

The moment I walked near them with the camera they looked straight at me and froze in a pose. Cute as heck, they'd just had their hair done and with a final puff of hairspray, were ready to take their turn in the ring.

In the very next ring, in contrast to the fluffy cuteness of the little twins, the Mastiff's were on their best ring-behavior in front of the judges. This guy was my favorite. I love big dogs but this guy won my heart when he broke composure momentarily when he spotted a kernel of popcorn on the floor and dover down to grab it. Occasionally spirit overrides good manners. I like that in a guy.

Two rings down, the competitors were so tiny I can't imagine they'd make a decent sandwich but boy oh boy, do these little dogs have attitude.

They prance on their petite little paws like royalty and I swear this handler was asking the dog for permission to lead him out of the ring.

As I watched the various rings it was easy to tell which dogs are naturally just very smart. I'm sure it's also the result of careful training but these Aussie Shepherds were fascinating to watch. They took commands like soldiers, froze as if at attention and kept their eyes tightly fixed on their handlers despite all of the surrounding distractions.

If you ever watched that English woman.....Woodhouse, was it ???? about training dogs on public tv, you'll notice that she set the standard and apparently sensible shoes are still de rigueur in the dog show ring.

Grooming is a big part of the show.
All around the hall were dozens of grooming stands with shelves of sprays and creams and combs and dryers alongside kennels where lots of the dogs were snuggled up and resting until their turn in the ring. Much like the state fair when I watch the kids fussing over the final grooming touches of their sheep and steers, lots of the dogs were getting their finishing touches from groomers of all ages.

This little girl was surprised and shyly agreed when I asked her if she would be in the picture with her dog. I thought they were just so cute together.

This one might not have known I was taking his picture. I have never seen so much hair on a dog.

He is a Bouvier Des Flandres, a breed I'd never heard of but I understand they are historically cattle dogs. What a handsome guy! And I actually do think he could see me. Just like all the others, he turned and gave me his best side when I raised the camera up for the picture. I like him. He's big and snuggly looking, I could see myself reading a good book on a cold winters night with a dog like this sleeping at my feet.

I have no idea what kind of dog this is but she has to be the Farrah Fawcett/Joan Collins of the four-footed set. Just look at all those products in the background!!! When she looked up at me I swear I could hear her say to me "...don't hate me because I'm beautiful!" I walked away wondering if they ever take her hair down and let her out into the back yard for a good run and a few minutes to just get down with her very bad self.

Indeed, it was a day for fancy hairdo's.

For everyone.

And outside the exhibit hall on my way back to my car...............

An abundance of that yellow snow mom warned us about. Outside the ring??? Maybe that fancy pooch is just another one of the guys after all


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