Starting yesterday and concluding today, the Westminster Dog Show at Madison Square Garden features the finest athletic specimens at MSG since ... well, since the last Dog Show. We don't consider competitive dog preening a sport, but we do find it funny, and we think Best In Show is one of the funniest movies ever made.
Therefore, we dispatched intrepid reporter Barry Petchesky to cover the show yesterday — he'll be there again today and filing tomorrow — and give us the lay of the land and clock some bitches. Barry Petchesky is a journalism student, and he plans to use this as a clip, which is rather pathetic. We now hand the mic to him.
Through a complex chain of events that began with me discovering my beer pong partner had mono, I somehow stumbled into a press credential for the Westminster Dog Show, better known as "Why isn't wrestling on?" Why not, I told myself, what's the worst that could happen? Well, other than being mauled by a pack of 200 lb. Mastiffs, or catching the # # # # germ just by being the presence of sculpted poodles, that is. So I headed down to Madison Square Garden, camera in tow, for two days of bad dog puns.
(more after the jump)
I'm surprised, when I arrive, to see scalpers outside the Garden. "Want to see the mutts?" one asks.
Yes. Yes I do. I didn't realize how important this event is to some people. Is it even a sport? I guess so, since Sportscenter shows highlights, and I have faith that ESPN would never show anything that's not strictly sports-related. And nor would Deadspin!
I make my way to the press room and sign in. ("I wouldn't leave your jacket here," I was helpfully told, "I wouldn't trust the media.") Then down to the bowels of the arena to find the athletes themselves.
I am immediately overwhelmed by the smell. Since the Knicks are on the road, I know I'm getting close. Then, I see this:
The holding area for the dogs is an absolute madhouse. More than a thousand dogs in cages, rows upon rows of them. Plaintive wails filling the air. The overpowering stench of feces. It's a regular Doggie Dachau.
I immediate decide to help in the liberation of one, so I accompany Greggory ("That's with three Gs, if ya please," his 90-year-old owner tells me) the Siberian Husky on a quick walk around the building. He's stopped to bask in the attention of three young children, when Greggory spots movement behind a trash can. A mouse darts out across the floor, and before his owner can restrain him, Greggory pounces on that little bastard and tears it apart. Greggory, you're awesome. I hope you win.
Back to the holding area. You know how they tell you to react when you're undergoing a traumatic experience? Disassociate. Leave your body. Go numb.
Look at him. Look at those eyes. He's dead inside. After a quick prayer for his soul, I move on.
He's an ugly little rat dog, yes, but he's now also my favorite animal ever. You see, Doozer has quite a little talent. I'm talking to his owner Alison Allison (someone had cruel parents) while the Dooze is taking care of business in one of the many "poop pens" scattered about. I look down, and I see something that shakes my faith in everything I've ever known. Somehow Doozer has managed to leave a turd on the side wall of the pen, about 18 inches up. It's a perfect spiral, good consistency, and it's fucking defying gravity. If I could do that, I'd move to Vegas and charge people to watch. Doozer seems impressed too, as he sticks his snout deep into his brown gift to mankind.
There's a stigma associated with cat people, and rightly so; they're generally a bit off. Why don't we look down on dog people the same way? I don't mean the average dog owner; I mean the kind of person who wears a sweater with three dog asses side by side, with the legend "Nothing Butt Cockers." This place is dog people heaven. For sale, there's dog jewelry, dog clothing, dog calendars, dog ties, dog grooming accessories and about 8,000 crates of dog food. I lean into one crate, and yell out "Barbaro?" No one laughs. They either don't get it, or don't think it's funny. I choose to believe the former.
Not everyone's having fun. Cricket the Papillon has already taken a nip at one of the curious fans who put their face up against her cage. "She hates children," Cricket's owner tells me. "And they're fucking everywhere."
It's time to head out on the famous green carpet to see the judging. Waiting on the sidelines is a Neapolitan Mastiff, an enormous wrinkled beast who seems to be getting restless. His handler, to occupy him, wrestles with him a bit. She pushes him down on the floor, massages his side, pats his belly and OH MY GOD SHE'S GIVING HIM A HANDJOB.
Ok, maybe that was some accidental contact there. But the old man next to me gives me a knowing wink and says, "I'd lay down for that too." OK, the dog show is officially freaking me out.
I hurry to one of the judging rings, where it looks like they're holding a Scooby-Doo convention.
And if you look at that picture, scratch your head and say, "wait a minute, they're going to objectively select the best of a half-dozen identical Great Danes?" ... I'm right there with you, buddy. But the judge, after watching the dogs run in a circle and getting to third base with each in turn, manages to decide which one best exemplifies its species. I dunno. It looks like every other damn dog out there.
Some other things happened, I guess. I was too busy hitting up the table that was giving away free chocolate. Yes, at a dog show, they're giving out unlimited free samples of the stuff that KILLS DOGS.
That's all from this abomination for today. I'll be back with more tomorrow. Let's close with one for the Deadspin Vaginarchy:
All together now: awwwww.