Montgomery County Kennel Club Show 2012
(Photo by Kalya Bertagnolli)

I’m waiting on yet another plane this morning while writing my Monday Morning Mop Up for Dog Show Poop. Traveling is not much fun these days and wait times at airports are longer than ever. However, the waiting has an unexpected benefit. You get to think about stuff. I used to sit in airports and worry about what I had left undone…whether I had left my GPS in the rental car or whether I left my cell phone charger in the hotel or whether I had thanked all my hosts for their hospitality. Now I go over the details of my visit and linger over the moments I will remember for a lifetime.

We go to the shows for the dogs, and, while this was a weekend for the Terriers, several dogs from other groups impressed me. First is the BIS winner at Friday’s Hatboro Dog Club show, the Saint Bernard, GCH CH Jamelle’s Aristocrat v Elba. I will remember this dog, in part, because the first dog I ever showed was our family’s pet Saint Bernard. However, I will also remember this dog because it isn’t often that we see one of our giant breeds going BIS. This guy maintains the energy level all through the day and leaves a lasting impression. The Hound Group winner at the Hatboro Thursday show was a beautiful Saluki, GCH CH Quanmarra’s Thonolan. The first thing you notice is the dog is white, an unusual color for the breed. The dog is also clothed in luxurious furnishings, almost to excess. However, it is the hard, lean musculature when he moves that leaves you breathless. It was also at Hatboro that I first saw the beautiful Afghan Hound bitch, GCH CH Criston Enchanted. The BIS winner has a beautifully refined head, the proper outline, and a typey, elegant movement.

I am, nonetheless, a Terrier guy, and I saw many that were wonderful, including the only Russell Terrier to win a BIS, CH Goldsands Columbus, who won the Group on day two at Hatboro. I also liked the red Lakeland Terrier, GCH CH Hi-Kel Terrydale Fortune In My Eyes, an elegant properly sized bitch (what can I say I’m a sucker for redheads)  I also will remember two Scotties, one I have seen many times, the RBIS at the Devon Dog Show Association Saturday show, GCH CH Lomondview Clementina, and one I had not seen before, the nine month old winners dog at Devon, Macbrechin’s Monopoly Beinnein. The former has an exquisite head piece and never lets up in the ring. The latter also has a beautiful head and movement and the kind of Terrier-tude that keeps me in love with the breed.

I was first introduced to the dog game while living in Brooklyn, and I fondly remember my weekends at the local shows. However, I was younger then and had the stamina to walk miles schlepping gear from the car to the rings. Today, the idea of going to three shows in three different venues on the same weekend seems like an unnecessary test of endurance. No one has more reverence for tradition than I, but when that tradition is a mile hike up a hill to reach your car, you can keep it. The Hatboro Dog Club gets high marks for having convenient parking and some great vendors. I have yet to see a food vendor at any show anywhere that matches the Greek food available at Hatboro. Now if they could just work on the ring layout.

Devon is the largest of the shows this weekend, and they do make full use of the space they have. Rings were easy to find and well-located, but vendor choices were few. Pack a lunch if you are visiting the site. Parking is byzantine, and spectators are banished to the back 40 to make their way to and from the rings as they can. Considering the average age of those in the fancy, I am surprised that Devon does not have a shuttle to the remote parking. Montgomery County’s parking is paved, and while not as convenient as Hatboro is within a more tolerable distance. MCKC is a much smaller show than the Hatboro and Devon warmups, and is able to put on a near perfect show each year.

If you are in the dog world, you already know this, but for those of you who have not joined our happy family, dog people are amazingly generous and interesting. I always meet new people at each show, while renewing old acquaintances. Two that stick out from this weekend are Rachel Robertson, a junior handler, who was showing a Skye Terrier, and Howard Stone, a longtime Sealyham Terrier breeder. Rachel, a lovely, well-mannered young woman (a rarity these days), is already an award-winning dog writer. I first met Howard 30 years ago when I was showing a Sealyham Terrier in California. He and I have exchanged correspondence several times since I began writing Dog Show Poop four years ago, but I had not expected to see him. I would like to thank Joan Weiskopf for being so generous this weekend, loaning me a rain poncho Sunday to keep me and my electronic gear dry at ringside. Thank you to handlers Larry Cornelius and Marcelo Veras for offering to rescue me as I trudged back to my car at Devon.

So, next time you are waiting for a plane, use the time to gather up the memories to add to the scrapbook in your head. They keep forever, and you can carry them with you anywhere. And that’s today’s Back Story.