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Tails of New York

Ruffing it in the big city

Jan/Feb 2023

by Margo Oxendine, Contributing Columnist

It’s dog show season. One of my favorites. It’s not exactly a “season,” but there’s a dog show somewhere throughout the year.

To me, there’s no better show than one focused on dogs. Dogs of every breed and temperament. Given the choice of a Broadway show, or a dog show, it would be difficult to decide.

Broadway? I love it! But, I haven’t seen a Broadway show since “Wicked.” And the expense involved in such a thing is beyond me at this time. I’m just glad I saw some wonderful Broadway shows while I could. Just wish I’d known to do more when the opportunity arose.

What would get me to New York City quicker than tickets to, say, “The Lion King,” or “The Music Man,” would be one of the big kennel club dog shows, traditionally held at Madison Square Garden. One — I don’t recall who sponsors it — used to be held in February, right around my birthday. There are several of these shows throughout the year, but this, to me, is the very best. Probably because it is televised on NBC. I’m not sure if they still do it in February, but a girl can still dream.

If cost were no object, here’s the dream trip topping my “bucket list”: Go to New York on the train. Disembark at Penn Station. Walk across a busy street. Check into the Hotel Pennsylvania. Walk a couple blocks to Madison Square Garden. Go to the dog show, every day. Manage to wheedle myself backstage, where the real fun occurs.

The Hotel Pennsylvania is where the dogs and their handlers stay when they’re there for a big show. Oh, how I would relish being surrounded by hundreds of dogs who are far better groomed than I. I think I’d spend some time simply sitting in the lobby, enjoying the passing doggie parade.

On Thanksgiving weekend, I watched the National Dog Show. Love it! Love John O’Herley, one of the announcers. Handsome, funny and a darn good dancer. What more could a girl want?

This year, for the first time in recent memory, a German shepherd won the herding group, and made it into the finals. He was magnificent. Sadly, he did not win. Another dog who didn’t win, a Malemute, was quite the pinnacle of dogdom himself. I thought he had it. But then the little blonde French bulldog, Winston, ended up running away with the big cup. He somehow knew he’d won. And his handler scooped Winston up, and took a big leap into the air himself. These folks take their dog shows seriously!

The dear Corgis, the dog I’d have if I were ever to buy a dog, didn’t make a dent among the contenders. And there’s not much cuter than a Corgi. Apparently, cuteness is not a regulation requirement. But it should be!

(Speaking of the Corgi, Queen Elizabeth II’s beloved dogs for life, they have shot up in price to something almost unattainable. A few years ago, when someone offered to sell me a Corgi puppy, they were $3,000. Heaven knows how much their current popularity has raised the price these days.)

So, if you’re wondering what I’ll be doing for my birthday (Feb. 12, if you’re interested), I hope it’s sitting in my comfy chair in my pjs, fireplace going, and waiting to watch a major dog show, with hundreds of purebreds. If it happens, I’ll be rooting for the Corgi, and the German shepherd. But an over-groomed, prissy little poodle will probably take the prize. Oh well; any dog is a good dog.

To order Margo’s book, “A Party of One,” call 540-468-2147 Mon-Wed., 9-5, or email [email protected].