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 the last couple of days 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.
Welcome to day two at Westminster, also known as Manly Dog Day. That's right, no more poodles, no more rat dogs, and plenty of bitches to go around. Today's all about the hounds, the hunters, and other dogs that will not only track down a shot bird, but pluck it, batter it, deep fry it and bring it to you with a cold beer. Of course, it's not like you were watching on Monday, not while Jack Bauer was defusing a nuclear bomb - seven hours after being tortured! I'm naming my first three kids after him.
I digress. How manly is this show? Well, the day wraps up with hot dog-on-dog action. Follow me...
(more after the jump)
On day two, the winner is crowned, the dogs can crap on the green carpet and not have to show their face in public the next day, and the sexual tension among all the dog hairdressers is boiling over. It's basically a big party. Look at this guy:
Tell me he's not stoned out of his gourd. This has officially become my kind of dog show. Well, no. My type of dog show would be the Puppy Bowl.
Now that I've spent some time in this bizarre universe, I feel ready to see if I can fit in around here. I spot a handsome-looking Rhodesian Ridgeback named Banjo and her breeder, an old patrician lady with a pillbox hat. I'm tempted to ask her if she was named after a classic "Space Ghost: Coast to Coast" episode, but I refrain.
"Nice haunches on that bitch," I say.
"Thank you," she says, without batting an eye. "I've been showing animals here for ten years, and it's always bitches. They're more likely to win, you know."
"Who, the bitches?" I ask, biting my tongue.
"Yes, statistically. I'm not sure what it is, but judges love bitches."
Content that I've discovered 2007's hottest new catchphrase/Snoop's next album title, I head out to the ring to see if judges really do love bitches.
If you'll notice, the only way the handlers can get the contestants to stand still is wave food in their faces. It seems cruel that they taunt them like that and don't give them anything to eat until the competition is over, but then I remember the exact same protocol is observed at the Miss Teen USA pageant.
I've asked around all week, and I still haven't been able to get a straight answer on what makes one dog better than another. Last year's winner Rufus, a Bull Terrier, won because he had a "perfect football-shaped head," according to one judge I spoke to.
I watch as the judge lines the dogs up and makes each run forward and back in turn. Then he makes them run in a circle one by one. Then all together. I wonder if he isn't testing their patience, just waiting for one to snap and rip its handler's throat out. That one would probably be docked a few points.
It's creepy as all get-out when the judge feels the dogs up. I understand he's checking the health of their coat, their muscle definition and numerous other factors I can't hope to understand. But damned if the judge and the handler aren't running the Eiffel Tower on poor Cannon here:
The Retriever apparently refused to cuddle afterwards, because some other dog won. I don't really know which; I was too busy scouring the Garden floor to see if I could find Eddy Curry's testicles. But they were nowhere to be found.
Dog shows are tough on the dogs. They're stuck in the holding pen, in stifling heat, for hours while snot-nosed children molest them. Even after they've shown, they're not allowed to go home until the entire day's judging is over. Even when they frigging die, they're not allowed to go home.
By the way, this may look like a huge furry greyhound, but it's actually called a Borzoi. Which, if I'm not mistaken, is Russian for "huge furry greyhound." It's also the same breed as Sassy, whom you see topping this article right before she eats a baby whole.
It occurs to me that I've been portraying the whole dog show experience as something negative, when it's really not. Yes, it's incredibly artificial. Yes, a lot of the people here are pretentious beyond belief. But even if it's only because their purpose is to be show dogs, all of them live pretty good lives. And the animals truly appear to be having fun. They're social creatures, and they absolutely love all the attention they're getting. They gladly pose for pictures and thrive on people fawning over them. Almost to a dog, they all look like their having the time of their lives.
And yes, that handler is my attempt to make up for all the cute photos pandering to Deadspin's female readers.
OK, I know you've only read this far because of the promise of Cinemax-quality pooch porn. I won't disappoint.
I'm walking in the back of the holding area where it's fairly quiet, and the dogs have room to roam about a little bit. Then I spot her: Kitty, a vision in black. Silky raven locks, deep brown eyes you could lose yourself in, just a true stunner across the board. If I weren't attached, I might've fallen for her charms.
I'm not the only one. Two stalls down is Charlie, who slowly walks over, clearly ready to put the Cocker in Spaniel. He hops up next to Kitty, and the two begin sniffing each other in the time-honored tradition of doggy foreplay. But Charlie's ready for the main event.
Sadly, Kitty's owner quickly brings about coitus interruptus. But as Charlie is dragged back to his cage, I swear I see him getting high fives from the other dogs.
This act of passion seems like a natural climax at which to end my Westminster odyssey, and holy crap, I did two days of this thing without once referencing Best in Show. It was a good time, if strange. Thanks to Will for the outlet, and thanks to the commenters. I'll see you guys on the boards.
Let's close with one more picture, because - well because Corgis are fucking awesome, that's why.