Saturday, February 17, 2018

Kelley Conquers Westminster

Rumor, last year's winner, was this
year's poster child
The 142nd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show was earlier this week -- and I was there. Yep, I can cross that one off the bucket list! I was in New York City Saturday through Wednesday and I don't think I got more than twelve hours sleep total. I'm still groggy, but I wanted to share with you all while it's still fresh in my mind.

New York was overwhelming. We were there 5 days/4 nights and barely scratched the surface. We saw Wicked on Broadway, caught a comedy show in a dive club, ate dim sum in Chinatown, rode the subway, had a rude cab driver (and several really nice ones), visited the 9/11 Memorial, got a hot dog from a street vendor in Central Park, ate lots of real NY bagels and so much more. Our hotel was in Times Square and it's true that the city never sleeps.

Back to the dog show: The individual breed shows are held at Piers 92 and 94 during the day, with half on Monday and the other half on Tuesday. I expected a lot more from the day shows at the Piers – the AKC National Championship in Orlando is bigger (go figure). There were only a dozen vendors or so, and most of them were way out of my price range. Because of this, I didn't spend nearly as much there as I had budgeted. Good thing too. Food all over NY was expensive, and I spent more than I had expected on cab rides. (I didn't brave the subway until day 3.)

This is Keeper. I'm madly in love with him.
All the dogs were gorgeous. We got there early and had ringside seats for the GSDs. This was a benched show, so all the dogs had to be on display the entire day. This allowed us to schmooze with the dogs and owners/handlers afterwards. Awesome! I think I met my next puppy’s daddy. Seriously! Don't tell Jedi.

The night shows at Madison Square Garden were all that I had imagined. It's a huge venue and it was full of dog lovers. There were also a lot of casual spectators, which I found surprising. The announcer made several comments about these being intentionally bred dogs from reputable breeders, and urged people not to buy dogs from pet stores or puppy mills. Touché!

We also visited the Pennsylvania Hotel across the street from MSG and checked out the basement where dogs were being groomed, pottied and exercised. This is the official hotel of the Westminster Dog Show and every year it becomes dog central.

One of many!
BTW, there is nothing low fat in NYC. I ate like crazy (hot dogs, bagels, pizza, cheese cake and Rueben sandwiches top the list) but only gained half a pound. My Fitbit said I walked 31.37 miles in 5 days, so I think that helped. It was wet on Sunday and colder on Tuesday, but the weather was never unbearable. I had friends go to the show a couple years ago and it was 8 degrees. EIGHT! By comparison, our low was 38 and the high was 52. Cold by Florida standards, but all in all not bad.

Next time I go to NYC (and yes, there will be a next time!) I will make sure to see the Statue of Liberty, the Natural History Museum and the Bronx Zoo. For now, I'm still trying to process it all. There are hundreds of NYC pictures between me and my three traveling companions. Here are a few that I think you might find most relevant. Enjoy! -- K

There were 14 beautiful German shepherds vying for Best of Breed. I don't envy the judge, I couldn't pick one.

Mia and her handler, Jesse, in the benching area. They came all the way from Florida too!

The four of us at Madison Square Garden. We made it!

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