Tags: Dogs | and | Health

Dogs and Health

Monday, 14 March 2005 12:00 AM

This past February 14 and 15 the best, most beautiful and balanced Rovers from 160 breeds gathered at center ring in Madison Square Garden for the Doggie Oscars – the 129th gathering of the Westminster Dog Show, the second-oldest continuous sports event in the nation. Unlike the Oscar winners, the dogs are real and humble. Plastic surgery, bad jokes and mentally numbing conversations are not allowed.

Westminster is the final common pathway for the $34 billion industry. The business includes pet stores, breeders, puppy mills, owners, breeders, trainers, handlers, groomers, sitters, walkers, boarders, hotels, agents, vets, hospitals, clinics, show fees, food manufacturers, doggie bakers, clothes, jewelry, charms for every breed, toys, high-tech leashes, stationery, and even personalized dog cards.

Said the blue-ribboned Westie to the pink-laced poodle: "Here's my card; may I have one of yours, please? Have your breeder call mine and we'll do IAMS." Make no mistake about it, the dog business is a big industry.

After making the final diagnosis that I'm not getting any younger, the little woman and I went off to the Big Onion to see the Rovers in action. Everyone in New York City was aware of the big show and had a favorite. In NYC as in my home, "The OC near The Laguna Beach," it seems every other person has a dog or two!

What we saw and heard that you can't witness from the floor at home sitting with your fluffy West Highland terrier while watching Animal Planet:

As I sat next to the ring Tuesday afternoon, one handler (whose dog had just won the Best of Breed for the Irish setters) was so happy she actually grabbed and hugged me as she left the ring – just as on TV. It must have been my long, lustrous, wavy red hair.

A number of owners said that even though the competition is extreme, the best part of the show is seeing old friends and dogs – like a family reunion.

At the "Best in Show" finals we were rooting for the liver-colored bloodhound that won at Eukanuba last month in Tampa. But when the German shorthaired pointer went into a 60-second free stance the crowd took over. That Carlee, what a bitch!

So make your reservations early for February 13-14, 2006, in NYC. Westminster sold out early this year. Remember that the costs of airfare, cabs, hotel, meals and tickets eventually feed into the mounting $34 billion dog business. And that, dear doggie devotees, is good for our health.

Dogs heel – or is that heal?

Robert J. Cihak, M.D., is a Senior Fellow and Board Member of the Discovery Institute and a past president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. Michael Arnold Glueck, M.D., is a multiple-award-winning writer who comments on medical-legal issues.

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This past February 14 and 15 the best, most beautiful and balanced Rovers from 160 breeds gathered at center ring in Madison Square Garden for the Doggie Oscars - the 129th gathering of the Westminster Dog Show, the second-oldest continuous sports event in the nation....
Dogs,and,Health
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2005-00-14
Monday, 14 March 2005 12:00 AM
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