For the fifth(!) year in a row, I'm honored to serve as an embedded photojournalist on the front lines of the dog show circuit. Here's my dispatch from day two.
Out of narrative ideas? Yeah, maybe. I've been doing this a while. I thought about doing something on the fashion of humans at Westminster, which is a cross between pageant glitz and Midwestern early-'90s time capsule, but I realized there would be no possible way to do that without being unbelievably cruel.
So instead I'm going to present this third grade-report style, and just show dogs that I liked. I call it: "These are dogs that I liked."
I liked this Skye Terrier because I honestly have no idea if he can see. Dog show grooming is a strange, strange thing. The Shih Tzu's actually an awesome little dog, but not when they're done up like this. Hell, even the Poodle looks like a dog you'd like to roll around in the grass with, until they do this to it. Apparently there's method to the madness — those butt pads keep it warm while hunting ducks, or something. But if you're going to groom some dogs, why not cut the hair out of their eyes. Give them bangs, or something. Bangs are so scene right now.
More fun with grooming. This is a Portuguese Water Dog, the hot new breed after Bo Obama took office. I was assured that there's no real reason to shave the entire ass end of the dog.
With thousands of dogs and only two "bathrooms" (really just piles of sawdust), there are constantly lines like this one. The dogs are relatively patient, considering they're veterans of the show circuit and know the end of the line means a chance to relieve themselves/sniff the scents of hundreds of other animals.
But this Chesapeake Bay Retriever made sure to bring his favorite toy. Heart melted yet?
How about now? This girl went through her entire grooming session (nearly an hour) without once letting go of her toy.
I like these dogs because they're helpfully color-coded by gender. Does anyone else have this thing where certain breeds are always "he" or "she?" Like, looking at the Dogue de Bordeaux, there's no way they could possibly be female, right?
Same with most terriers. They're all wise old men. No ladies. One wonders how they breed.
This fellow may appear to have a waxed mustache like a gentleman from the 1890s, but I assure you it's just an off-camera blow dryer.
I like these dogs because they remind me of Three Wolf Moon.
I like this dog because it's a Westie, and someone I know gets cranky when I don't post Westies.
This one's clearly Cerberus.
This Swiss Mountain Dog may be the happiest dog in the world.
And his owner might be the happiest man in the world!
I'd like to close my 2011 Westminster experience with a four-frame photo essay I like to call: "Feeding a Mastiff A Cheez Doodle From Your Mouth." I think it's a good summary of events