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My Favorite Things – Show Vendor Finds

I’m not a big shopper. I love getting catalogs in the mail because I don’t actually have to go into a store to get what I need. I love Amazon because I can find virtually any gift for any friend or relative that is just perfect.

But when I go to dog shows, I turn into a shopaholic. Not just for myself, but for my family, the neighbor who’s watching my dog while I’m gone, even the people I work with – who are sometimes right there at the show with me.

Over the past decade, I’ve found some incredibly useful items and some extraordinarily beautiful things.

One year at the AKC/Eukanuba Championship in Long Beach, Calif., I scooped up a pair of luggage tags with the typical space on one side for contact info, and a gorgeous miniature painting of a pair of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels on the other. I bought them for a friend who had once bred Cavs. Except when flying to a dog show, I’m pretty sure he has no difficulty discerning which suitcase is his on the baggage carousel.

The only time this pin leaves my favorite jacket is when the blazer makes a trip to the cleaners.

I have a wonderful pin that I always wear on a particular jacket. It’s a lovely oval shape with a tiny replica of a barn scene painting. A horse and foal look over a short wall at a Greyhound and her puppies. It looks like something Christine Merrill would paint and a bit like Edgar Degas’ “At the Stables Horse and Dog.” I think it reminds me of my childhood except that we didn’t have a barn, just a shed for hay. The pin wasn’t terribly expensive, yet I get compliments on it every time I wear that jacket.

Just this year, I found a little doodad bag – bigger than a change purse, but smaller than a makeup bag – with little Chihuahuas all over it. I just had to buy it for my mother. My mixed breed, Max, is mainly Chihuahua, and Mom thinks he’s just as much her dog as he is mine. At 84, my mother finds it helpful to have unique little bags to keep things in. This is one of her favorites.

This little bag is easy for my mother to find – no matter where she’s tucked it away.

The first year I was fortunate enough to go to Westminster, I found AKC emery boards for manicuring your nails that featured different breeds. I think I bought about a dozen. As I recall, one side said, “American Kennel Club” (maybe “Canine Health Foundation”) and the other featured tiny photographs of a single breed in different poses.

My mom got one with Pomeranians on it. The last dog she, herself, owned was a Pom named Jenny, a poor example of her breed adopted from an animal shelter, but well-loved nonetheless. For myself, I picked out the Sheltie, after the dog of my life, Katie. I bought the Papillon version for my sister whose dog looks a big, super-fluffy Pap, but isn’t. Everyone on my editorial team got one appropriate to their real or dream dog. The great thing about these emery boards is that they weren’t just cute and customized for each dog lover I knew. They really did a great job of smoothing out the rough edges, even tears, in nails.

To photograph this print, I had to hold it down with some frames. Poor thing, despite its charm and lovely style, it’s never been displayed in my home.

I’m embarrassed to say that one of my more expensive purchases is still rolled up in a tube in my closet. The limited edition Roger Inman print is called “Boxers in Repose.” But they’re not in repose; they’re made of rubber. Seriously, they are draped over the small couch as if they have no bones. That’s what attracted me to it. The pair of them reminds me of my little Max. He can look totally relaxed, but if I’m not on the furniture with him, he’s definitely got his eyes on me. I love Boxers, but my husband’s not a fan. Perhaps that’s why I’ve never had it framed.

Now you know some of my favorite things from dog shows. I’d love to hear what yours are, so please add a comment to this post!

Written by

Susan Chaney has been on the editorial side of publishing since 1990, starting her career as a newspaper features writer and editor. A lifelong lover of dogs, Susan has lived with German Shepherds, Labs, Yorkies, an Irish Setter, a Great Dane-Bloodhound mix, a Sheltie and currently a Chihuahua mix of unknown pedigree. She was the editor of Dog Fancy magazine, content editor of DogChannel.com and group editor of Dog World, Dogs USA, Puppies USA, Natural Dog, Cat Fancy, Cats USA and Kittens USA from March 2005 to December 2009 when she left her position to work at home, part-time. Susan lives in Long Beach, Calif., with her artist husband, Tim, that Chi mix and two big cats. As an editor and writer for Best In Show Daily, she is reveling in the amalgam of three loves: writing, editing and dogs.
  • Dianne McKee-Rowland June 19, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    You certainly have come up with some thoughtful ideas for planned and impromptu gifts. Thank you for sharing. I’m sure many others will now be recipients of some nice items.

    • Susan Chaney
      Susan June 20, 2012 at 8:40 AM

      That would be an excellent result, Dianne. I wasn’t even thinking in those terms when I wrote this; they are just some of my favorite things. Thanks for commenting!

  • pat ross June 19, 2012 at 2:08 PM

    what a thril – no longer a vendor but I made that pin many years ago – always make me smile when I see one of the pins on a hat or lapel at a show and knowing it is special to you is oh , so wonderful !
    Pat Ross

    • Susan Chaney
      Susan June 20, 2012 at 8:42 AM

      I was trying to remember the name of the vendor from whom I bought that pin, Pat, so I’m SO glad you responded. It never fails to get comments. Just such a charming and nicely designed piece. Do you still make jewelry?

      • Pat June 29, 2012 at 6:32 AM

        Still make those pins occassionaly and sell them on line – just let me know if you want one – just tell me the breed and I’ll give you the choices .

        Still an active exhibitor…..

  • Deb Eldredge, D.V.M.
    Deb E June 20, 2012 at 4:25 AM

    This describes me to a “T” – hate to shop, EXCEPT at dog shows :0

    • Susan Chaney
      Susan June 20, 2012 at 8:44 AM

      It’s always great to “meet” one of our readers, Deb. Aren’t you so happy the Internet came along for us? I hope you’re enjoying reading Best In Show Daily as much as we’re enjoying writing for it.

  • Sonya Henderson,Raynics Bassets June 22, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    I am “green” with envy at the great things found and brought home to a special place in your home. I too am a purveyor of “special” dog stuff in the booths and stands at the different shows. I truly enjoy “shopping” and am always happy to acquire “treasures” for me or a friend that I think would like it and have a “special” place in their home and heart for it. OH,yes! I do love the dog shows,the people and always THE DOGS!

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