For some reason, by the time I get down to the Pasadena Kennel Club’s annual dog show at Brookside Park, it’s always late in the afternoon of the second and final day — so late that you might be able to sneak in your own hound, aka border collie mix Charlie, seen howling at left.
Last year when we got there, the only thing going on was a few stragglers from the agility trials. When the expert borders, Aussies and other herding dogs are on their game in agility — jumping hurdles, diving through soft tunnels, hip-hopping through fence posts — you’ve never seen anything like it in your life. What we happened to catch was somehow even better: the agility beginners, who often as not would completely fail to do anything agile whatsoever, declining to leap, halting when they should hit the teeter-totter, wandering off to sniff the lawn and other normal dog stuff. It was really funny.
Sunday when my mom Marka Hibbs and her caregiver Amala and I got there for the end of the centennial version of the dog show founded by Lucky Baldwin’s daughter Anita, we were just in time for the grand finale, the best in show. I was of course all for the border collie entry, seen below, which had won the herding group:
Or at least for the gorgeous Bernese mountain dog, below, which probably really should have won:
Instead, the judge unaccountably gave best in show to the standard poodle, which was sheared into one of those frou-frou ‘dos with a big basketball-sized Afro on top, shaved legs and topiared balls atop each foot. It looked like a space alien, so scary that I just couldn’t find my way toward taking its picture. I like the looks of standards all right when they are not made grotesque.
Could we maybe ban shearing for dog shows? And the bobbing of tails while we’re at it? I’m just saying. The AKC world is not my world.
See you at the 101st!