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The Morning After

A new day dawns and for one lucky dog, the hard work of maneuvering a non-stop media tour is already in full swing.

To win the Westminster Kennel Club dog show means there’s little time for reflection. Last night’s triumphant purebred is a hot commodity today, already scheduled to appear on any number of live television broadcasts. With a public eager to meet its newest celebrity, the year to come will be filled with public appearances, benefits and openings for last night’s winning team. Their journey has only just begun.

For the rest of us, we have the option to sleep in.

With the pressure to compete abated, some exhibitors choose to stay in New York an extra day or two to catch a play or visit a few of the world’s finest museums. Some hotels offer packages that include a complimentary third night’s stay and exclusive access to special offers on everything from shopping sprees and spa treatments to gallery openings and a cozy table for two. The city that never sleeps is the city that always eats, and visitors who remain can make reservations at some of the best Thai, Italian or Senegalese restaurants in town.

Of course, Central Park beckons those with a penchant for ice-skating or anyone whose heart is set on a carriage ride. Polar bears and penguins await visitors to the park’s zoo and, thanks to unseasonably warm weather; daffodils and witch hazel blooms have already arrived ahead of schedule. This year, the city’s February snowdrops are flowers instead of flurries.

Planning for the weather in New York in February can present a few challenges. In 1969 the metro area was pummeled by a blizzard that threatened to cripple the city and bring exhibitors and their dogs to their knees. Although rare, storms of this magnitude do occur as happened most recently in 2006. The city of New York has a preparedness plan that quickly removes snow from the major avenues and sidewalks, but getting out of town through one of three major airports can be another experience altogether.


The allure of showing at the Garden is irresistible. Since 1877, breeders have been bringing their best dogs here to compete, and neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night can keep serious dog show folk from returning each year. After all, what’s a little snow when immortality is on the line?

Westminster signals both the end of the show year and the start of a new one. Already, some exhibitors are en route to the next venue in cities from Denver to Des Moines. The show must go on.

But if you’re still in New York City today, the hustle and bustle probably seems calm when compared with the mania of Westminster Week. If you have the time, hop on a tour bus, sit back and enjoy the ride.

And if your driver happens to take you to Times Square, you just might catch a glimpse of 2012’s most famous show dog on the JumboTron.

Next year, it could be yours

Written by

Dan Sayers started “in dogs” through a chance encounter with a Springer Spaniel in 1980. A student of dogs ever since, he’s shown Spaniels and Hounds in the conformation ring and breeds Irish Water Spaniels under the Quiet Storm prefix. A dog lover with a passion for the creative arts, Dan has worked as a freelance writer, photographer and illustrator for many years. His feature articles and columns have appeared in Dogs in Review, Dog World and the AKC Gazette, and his design work has appeared in dozens of publications in North America and abroad. An interest in all things “dog” brought Dan to Best In Show Daily, where he gets to work with the most dynamic group of fanciers every day. He lives in Merchantville, New Jersey, with his partner, Rudy Raya, Irish Water Spaniel, Kurre, and the memory of Oscar, a once-in-a-lifetime Sussex Spaniel.
  • Collin February 15, 2012 at 10:35 PM

    Bravo, Mr. Sayers. And the photo of the Bulldog is exactly how I felt today after the nonstop excitement of two days of Westminster.

    • Dan Sayers
      Dan Sayers February 16, 2012 at 6:53 PM

      Thank you, Collin. I hope you’re feeling rested and looking forward to your next dog show marathon!

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