One of the recent trends in journalism is the practice of “embedded journalists.”  Growing out of reality television, it began as serious journalism with the coverage of U.S. military action in Iraq and has evolved into reporting on the current political campaigns for the Republican nomination for President.

About two years ago I was approached by a young author who wanted to “embed” in a show dog campaign. I was skeptical at first, remembering the disastrous Animal Planet attempt, “Show Dog Moms & Dads,” but I checked the guy out and he seemed legit.  Brooklyn-based Josh Dean is a former deputy editor of Men’s Journal and one of the founding editors of the New York Times sports magazine, Play. His work has appeared in ,em>Rolling Stone, Outside, GQ, Popular Science, Travel & Leisure and many other respected publications.

His concept was interesting: find a dog that was at the beginning of a specials career and follow him/her for a year. After several e-mails and a few phone calls, he set out to find a candidate. He settled on an Australian Shepherd, GCH CH Wyndstar Honorable Mention, call name “Jack.” After a year with Jack, owner Kimberly Smith and handler Heather Bremmer, and another year putting it all down on paper, we have a unique book, “Show Dog: The Charmed Life and Trying Times of a Near-Perfect Purebred.”

“Show Dog” is our world through the eyes of a newbie, but a trained observer newbie. Josh’s chronicle of our world and the 2010 show season will seem spot on to those of us who participated in it. Unlike the satiric film, “Best In Show,” readers don’t have to guess who the players are. All the names are in there. I even get a mention. However, this is no animal rights tome disparaging our sport, but a tale that represents the world of show dogs fairly and factually in a fashion that people outside our cloistered community will understand and appreciate. It may even persuade a few to join us.

“Show Dog”published by HarperCollins, is an easy and entertaining read. I encourage you to pick up a copy to read on your way to Westminster. And that’s today’s Back Story.