Saturday, November 24, 2012

Gone to the Dogs

         The National Dog Show came on as I was sitting in my recliner in near turkey-coma. My dog sat looking up at me wondering why he could not have the things I had eaten (too many jalapenos in the dressing). With all the treats the dogs were getting from their handlers, he was probably wondering why I was not slipping him a treat every time he moved.

         Nothing about the dog show interested me. The extreme to which dogs have been bred to specific purposes has created some genuinely ugly dogs. The announcers kept pointing out that the viewer needed to “imagine the dog doing what it was bred to do when judging from home.” I could not imagine some of the dogs, especially some of the terriers, being bred to do anything but scare rats and tasteful tourists out of the village.

         Seeing these coiffed canines made me happy with my mutt. A bath now and then, a few toys from the discount store and we are set. You will find no special products or handlers around here.

         As much as I was not interested, I could not turn away. Much like NASCAR, which is most fun when wrecks disrupt the race, I kept waiting for the Rottweilers, Dobermans, and German Shepherds to get into it - or for the Great Dane to snap up that ugly toy breed winner for a snack. I could not turn away. Alas, these dogs are too well trained and the choke chains the handlers use keep them under control. No fights. No inappropriate sniffing. Nothing exciting.

         Just calm voices talking about how wonderful each breed is for what it does.  And there were many commercials for pet food and pet toys. One feature even advocated taking dogs to work. My energetic dog would cause chaos. There were no ads for animal tranquilizers.

         Instead of calm, knowledgeable voices, I want Fred Willard, in character from Best in Show, to analyze the proceedings. That hilariously inappropriate chatter coupled with the behind-the-scenes antics of the various dog owners/handlers fills the imagination with what might actually be happening in the parts of the show edited out so that the show ends just in time to cut to the football game.

         I must confess, this is at least the third year in a row I have watched the show. As much as I wish NBC would take a cue from the movie and broaden the antics of the show, I doubt they will. However, I will likely keep watching from year to year – hoping sometime life will imitate art.


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