Were you one of the 17 bazillion people who watched the Westminster Kennel Club dog show on television this week? We haven’t seen the actual ratings figures but it seems that at least everybody in the United States watched it. At the very least, everybody either of us has spoken with over the past couple of days had watched it. Why not? Dogs are cute. Two nights of dogs strutting their way around Madison Square Garden in the doggie version of Project Runway is indeed must see TV.
While glued to the set for those two nights we learned a lot. The Labrador Retriever, even though geographically challenged and originated in Newfoundland rather than Labrador, is the most popular AKC breed in the United States. There are about 11,000 Labs registered here. Very impressive numbers. But the large breed was not wearing the blue ribbon when the show was over. That went to the diminutive Affenpinscher, the breed’s first win at Westminster, beating out 2,500 entries.
There is a local animal shelter just about a mile away from He of We. We have stopped by often to drop off a donation, ogle at the pets, or adopt a dog. That particular shelter has adopted out over 2,500 animals last year, more than were entered the Westminster show. About half were dogs. That’s just one shelter. If 11,000 registered Labs makes that breed the number one breed in the country, think of how many of America’s really most favorite dog, the Shelter Pup, there are out there. We think they deserve a show also.
It would be a bit different from the AKC sanctioned events. Since 80% of the dogs adopted from shelters are mixed breeds you couldn’t have standards and conformity judged. But you could judge fun, energy, intelligence, and affection. Picture this, a round of pound puppies march around Madison Square Garden and The Cutest into the finals. Another round of scraggly scruffies now takes center stage and The Ugliest is selected. Other rounds pick out the Hairiest, the Baldest, the Best Trick, the Longest Nap, and the Best Dog Kisser. Each of these seven “Group Winners” now moves on to the Best We Know final round!
Here audience participation is not only encouraged, it’s mandatory! The crowd cheers as each group winner marches around the stage, past the TV cameras that flash the four leggers strutting their stuff onto the Jumbotrons And out of these, the one with the loudest crowd approval wins the coveted Blue Ribbon, a lifetime supply of Milk Bones, and the title of Mutts That Matter, the Best We Know.
Now that’s puppy love!
Now, that’s what we think. Really. How ‘bout you?