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.
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.
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.
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!