Some may look forward to the World Series, the Super Bowl, the Academy Awards, or the Grammys as their favorite television viewing of the year, but for me that special occasion happens on the second Monday and Tuesday in February, The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. It is an annual event in my life and here on the blog. Other than the time we didn't have satellite tv, I have written about it every year. It does, in fact, have its own section under 'Letter Topics,' and you may click there to read the dog-related ramblings from years past.
As you know, I really love dogs, and one of my personal favorite postings was a litany of all the dogs who have shared our lives since 1973. I take the choosing of a dog very seriously, and so I sit down each year with paper and pen in hand, jotting down descriptions that appeal to me. A dog in the show may be adorable, but unless I hear such phrases as 'unsurpassed family dog' or 'gives visitors cheerful welcome' or 'loves children' then I will continue to admire them on television only. As I've noted maybe too often here on the blog, our Sadie doesn't like anyone but Tom and I, Margaret, and Michael. If, for example, Matt is at the door with Margaret, you can see the extreme internal conflict Sadie goes through. She loves Margaret more than life itself, but Matt is a stranger and a danger from whom she must protect Margaret. So, into the laundry room she goes whenever anyone stops by who isn't part of the family. Luckily, she doesn't mind, and is quiet and well-behaved the whole time they are here. It's like she knows we are protecting her from herself.
We love her; that's all there is to it. And loving anyone, human or animal, means that you accept them with all their faults. And other than that one 'little' problem, there are no faults. In fact, she is probably the most loyal dog we've ever had, and it is sort of flattering to be loved above all others on the earth, but our choice would be a dog that loved everyone, like our Oreo. When the UPS man came, he would get right in the truck, and would have happily gone along to all the daily stops. Oreo would occasionally get away, and our friend Eddie would see him as he drove by. He'd open his truck door, and in would hop that sweet dog, whom our friend always referred to as 'my boy Oreo.'
So, without further ado, here are my choices from this year's dog show, with those wonderful American Kennel Club drawings.
Though last year I featured the Leonberger, and though I am still smitten with its looks, I read it can be rather short-lived and prone to some diseases so I think I will forego this breed. Some of the large breeds we are fond of also have shortish life spans, and frankly, though there are no guarantees, I'd like a dog that might live longer than 7-9 years. We lost two after seven years, and our dog-loving hearts broke.
First and foremost is the Smooth Collie. I've noted before that we didn't have enough years with our beloved MacIntosh; and we want the Smooth over the Rough for ease of grooming.
The Icelandic Sheepdog - the 'gives visitors a cheerful welcome' and '15 years is not an uncommon life span' dog
The English Setter - the 'unsurpassed family dog'
The Flat Coated Retriever
The Golden Retriever
The Labrador Retriever
All of these dogs would fit in just great at Windy Poplars Farm. Wouldn't it be fun to have six puppies, one of each breed?!
So there you have it. Another year, another list from the best two television nights of my year. I can't close without taking note of this year's winner, an adorable Pekingese named Malachy. Oh, the way he walked made me smile with delight, and that dear little face!
And I just loved this Purina commercial.
Addendum February 18.
I just read this:
If you are unprepared to potentially lose a dog at a young age (the average lifespan of the FCR is 7 years), then the Flat Coated Retriever is probably not the breed for you.
I can't get a dog with that expectation after having lost both MacIntosh and Ben at the age of seven. So, I am eliminating this potentially wonderful breed from my list. That Icelandic Sheepdog is looking better and better.
Addendum February 29.
After a mention in The Apothecary by Maile Meloy, which I finished today, I looked up the Samoyed, and wondered why the breed wasn't on my list. 'Bright, alert, gentle.' I'm adding this one. Look at that smile!
Addendum May 27.
Last evening I met a new-to-me breed. Our friend Billy has an Irish Terrier named Murphy, and for me it was love at first sight. He was cheerful and interested in us, but clearly loved his Bill. He has an impish, almost comical quality that was so appealing. I've been doing a lot of reading and now the Irish Terrier is high on my list.