After leaving the 136th Westminster Kennel Club show and New York behind I begin sorting through the moments which caught my attention. Several things stick with me for the dog show scrapbook in my head.
I had expected some inconvenience due to the re-modeling of the Garden and there were lots of minor irritations, but nothing that bothered this writer. However, the real impact was the reduced entry of 2000 dogs, down from the 2500 last year. For several weeks prior I had heard the mournful refrain “I didn’t get in!” Many of the dogs I had hoped to see were absent & many of the people I had hoped to meet were missing. In the end only 1645 dogs showed up to compete.
The 20 percent reduction had a domino effect, reducing entries at several of the preliminaries, including the Garden State All Terrier Club at the Meadowlands in Secaucus NJ which drew less than 100 dogs. However, the all Toy show hosted by the Progressive Dog Club at the Hotel Pennsylvania across the street from Madison Square Garden drew a very respectable 430 dogs. Hopefully, increasing the entry by 60 percent next year will result in a corresponding increase in all of the warm ups.
One of the reasons I was drawn into the dog fancy was its respect for tradition. My initial reaction to the relocation of the breed judging to Piers 92/94 was not favorable. One of the things I find most attractive in the dog fancy is the respect for tradition. On one hand, the idea of leaving the Garden behind was like telling me that we were going to spend Christmas in Hawaii. On the other hand, I look forward to the return of class dog competition and a venue that will coddle both spectators and exhibitors. Like Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, I find that you can still respect tradition, and accept changes for the better. I will certainly still look forward to Westminster every year no matter where they hold it. And that’s today’s Back Story.