web analytics
Login
Subscribe
Breaking News         Catoctin KC     04/21/2014     Best In Show Judge: Mr. Elliott Weiss     Best In Show: GCH Cragsmoor Good Time Charlie     D’Arbonne KC (2)     04/21/2014     Best In Show Judge: Mrs. Judy Webb     Best In Show: GCH Clussexx Over The Legal Limit     Lewis & Clark KC (2)     04/21/2014     Best In Show Judge: Dr. Alvin Krause     Best In Show: CH Sierra’s Ground Zero     South Windsor KC     04/20/2014     Best In Show Judge: Dr. Robert Indeglia     Best In Show: CH Pequest General Tso     Heartland DC     04/20/2014     Best In Show Judge: Mrs. Chris Walkowicz     Best In Show: GCH Ciarrai’s Beltane Embers     A Response To HBO Real Sports As the Wheels Turn UC Davis Recruiting Dogs for Clinical Trial Of Inflammatory Bowel Disease Optigen Spring Discount Days Promo April 18-30 The Top Ten Toxins of 2013

We'll email you the stories that fanciers want to read from all around the web daily

We don't share your email address

Houston Doghouse Competition Benefits Community

When the Reliant Park World Series of Dog Shows opens this coming Wednesday, a passel of artfully miniaturized structures will greet visitors at one of the entrances to the Reliant Center in Houston, kicking off the ninth annual Designer Doghouse Competition and Showcase.

The “Shaggy Shade Inn,” a 2012 entry, came complete with a curtain at the window inside and a flag out front. Photos courtesy Citizens for Animal Protection.

All kinds of creative minds, from those of Girl Scouts to corporate employees to architects, have been part of the competition that benefits Houston’s Citizens for Animal Protection. “We’ve had groups of friends, scouts and corporations, and we’ve had home builders, remodelers, interior designers and all sorts of other people build doghouses,” says Trisha Royal, community outreach director for Citizens for Animal Protection, also known as CAP. “It can be a fun project for some, and a team-building project for others.” It has become a popular attraction among the thousands of visitors to the dog shows as well.

Local Girl Scout troops have had many entries in the Designer Doghouse competition, including this “Puppy Tee Pee.”

Trisha has been involved with the competition since it began in 2005. “Kim Lawrence, who worked for the Better Business Bureau, pitched the idea of a doghouse building contest to the home shows that took place in Houston,” Trish says. “They weren’t really interested, so she called me and suggested that we might do it at the dog show.” Trish says that Tom Pincus, one of the cluster coordinators and marketing chairs for the dog shows, as well as the current president of Houston Kennel Club, was very interested, and after a meeting between the involved parties, “It all fell into place,” she says.

Way back in the beginning, the contest might draw as few as four entries, but in recent years as many as 15 to 17 dog houses have been entered. Not that they look anything like doghouses. The men, women and children who create the entries each year are super creative, and have fashioned chalets, fishing cabins and castles, as well as a saloon, a ship, a helicopter and an outhouse, among others, from a wide range of materials. Winners are chosen in three categories: People’s Choice, Kids’ Choice and Dixie’s Choice, which is named for the beloved dog that belonged to Trish when the competition began.

This entry was titled “Dog Gone Fishin’.”

After being judged, the entries are all part of a silent auction, the proceeds of which go to CAP to help feed and care for homeless animals. As far as Trish knows, not many of them end up being used as doghouses in people’s backyards. They’re treated more as the pieces of art that they are. “Often people buy them as yard art, and we’ve had several bought as playhouses for children,” she says. “Kids love them.” Through the years selling prices have ranged from $100 to almost a grand. “The highest price one has gone for was the Spanish galleon John Gay built, which sold for $900,” Trish reports. Gay has entered many times and, Trish says, his designs are almost always “out of the box,” including a doggie “Rescue Helicopter” one year. “John usually wins the People’s Choice award,” says Trish.

John Gay, who created this doggie “Rescue Helicopter,” has won the People’s Choice Award on numerous occasions, and one of his doghouses sold for the highest price ever at $900.

Another local resident who’s been a volunteer at CAP and has also entered the competition several times is Troy Powell. “Troy’s parents live in Tennessee, and on their property they have a lot of red cedar,” Trish explains. Back in the early days, “he went to Tennessee and chopped down a tree himself, had the wood shipped to Houston and built a beautiful, simple A-frame house,” she says. Last year Powell went back to his folks’ place and salvaged wood from an old outhouse that stood on their property. “Every piece of his entry was from the original outhouse,” says Trish, and Powell, who went to Texas A&M University, tagged the tiny structure with a “Go Aggies!” sign.

Local Girl Scout troops have been very involved in the contest from early on, but 2013 will be the first year that any of the boys’ scouting organizations have participated. An Eagle Scout has entered a doghouse this year.

This Aggie outhouse was created by Troy Powell out of wood salvaged from an outhouse on his parents’ property in Tennessee.

The contest has grown slowly but surely into a popular attraction. Three or four years ago, Trish says, the competition got “on the map,” literally. There’s a map for the Reliant Park event that “shows all of the major happenings, such as agility, flyball and all that, and we’re now on the map,” she says. “And they’ve moved us to a prime location, right at one of the main entrances.” This year for the first time the contest has a sponsor, Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers. Todd Graves’ first Raising Cane restaurant was at the entrance to Louisiana State University. Now there are locations from Texas and Oklahoma to Ohio and Nebraska, with more opening soon. The sponsorship of the restaurant has allowed for more marketing for the competition.

One of the most important components of the whole thing is, of course, the dogs that are helped with the proceeds. Trish says that one-third of the dogs that come into the CAP shelter are purebreds, so during the dog show they’re making money for mixed-breed and purebred dogs, and also letting the community know they can adopt a purebred dog if that’s the way they’d like to go.

The “K9 Can Cabin,” entered in 2012, included stained glass and a roof and other decorations made from a variety of aluminum cans.

All in all the Reliant Park Dog Shows Designer Doghouse Competition offers something for just about everyone – adults and kids who are creative, those who want to see or just browse clever items and, most importantly, the dogs.

 

Written by

Christi McDonald is a second-generation dog person, raised with a kennel full of Cairn Terriers. After more than a decade as a professional handler’s apprentice and handling professionally on her own, primarily Poodles and Cairns, she landed a fortuitous position in advertising sales with the monthly all-breed magazine ShowSight. This led to an 11-year run at Dogs in Review, where she wore several hats, including advertising sales rep, ad sales manager and, finally, editor for five years. Christi is proud to be part of the editorial team for the cutting-edge Best In Show Daily. She lives in Apex, N.C., with two homebred black Toy Poodles, the last of her Foxfire line, and a Norwich Terrier.