Weird at Westminster, Part 2Published February 15, 2011
Westminster Dog Show: Wendy Toth
I'm starting to wish the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show went on for a week.
I've spent the past two days there as if on another planet full of majestic creatures, friendly natives, and crazy customs.
I still have a lot left to learn.
But to make the whole show less of a mystery to myself and anyone else attending or watching as a newbie, here is today's list of 5 things Weird at Westminster:
5. At Westminster Bibs Are Not Just for Babies
Yes, the show is completely kid-friendly, but watch your baby's accessories because even the bear-like Newfoundland has a bit of a slobber problem. His solution: wear an adorable bib right up until show time.
4. At Westminster It's OK to Play with the Competition
I spent a full hour this morning watching the jolly Cocker Spaniels compete. But to them, it doesn't seem to be a competition at all.
The pups waiting along the sidelines had no problem jumping up for a friendly pat, or even a treat from their rival dogs and handlers. Good citizenship is truly the name of the game on Planet Westminster.
3. Westminster's Dog Hair Care Secrets Are Easily Applied to Humans
Westies get their hair blown dry in the opposite direction of growth for volume, get hairspray for hold, and finish with a special white chalk to make their hair it's purest and fluffiest.
The whole ordeal reminded me almost exactly of what I've seen backstage at a fashion show: Blow dry with head upside down for volume, spray for hold, comb in dry shampoo for fullness. Now I wonder which ritual started first. This is the 135th Westminster.
2. Westminster's Chaos is Comforting
Show dogs are kind of like me, a city girl. When they aren't in the ring they are likely to be found chilling in a small crate (much like a small apartment) amidst a ton of noise and chaos in the backstage grooming area (much like a city block), which is open to the public.
I asked our senior producer and dog show veteran, Lana Vitsup, how they could possibly relax and she said they were used to it because they were brought up to do this. I wonder if they, too, have trouble sleeping when they're visiting a quiet place with no regular sirens blaring...
1. At Westminster Chamois Shine More Than Your Car
Naturally shiny Weimaraners get extra sheen just before taking a turn in the ring by getting spritzed with water and quickly wiped down with a chamois.