This year’s show again got incredibly high ratings, the kind normally reserved for crime shows involving loads of yellow police tape. In years past the show has even gone so far as to preempt Monday night wrestling, depriving the American public of seeing the latest Vince McMahon “roided up” monster. This dog show is big business, no bones about it. Someone please stop me now.
According to those associated with the show, America ’s top dog this year is an English springer spaniel by the name of Diamond Jim. Now, the first question I would ask is what kind of name is Diamond Jim for a dog? The majority of canines I have encountered over the years have been named after their outward appearance (Blackie, Spot), personality (Killer, Champ), after old men (Ralph, Henry) or their actions (Puddles . . . of course I have an uncle we call Puddles, but I digress). Diamond Jim sounds more like he should be playing poker at the Ponderosa.
What has always fascinated me about the dog show is the way the dogs are presented to the crowd in attendance and those watching at home. As they are announced, the dogs and their owners (I’m never sure who is leading who) trot around the track to the delight of the fans. May I pause to ask this question . . . what kind of person attends a dog show as a fan?
“Hey, Rick. I got two courtside seats for Duke and North Carolina this Saturday night. Wanna go?”
“Are you kidding . . . I’ve got killer seats for the dog show. We’re tailgating before the show. Dude, it going to be sweet!”
As I was saying, after being announced the dogs and their human friends jog around the track as the crowd cheers wildly. Why, exactly, are they cheering? Because Fido seems to have a sweet disposition and a shiny coat? Because the nachos at the concession stand were good? Because the humans who walk with the dogs seem to have a sweet disposition and a shiny coat? Too many questions, too little time.
I have never understood the scoring system at the shows. I suppose the dogs that create the least amount of poo on the arena floor and the ones who refrain from making puppy love on their human friend’s legs are declared the winner. In the end the dogs seem happy, as do the humans, while the crowd goes wild. Another SportsCenter moment.
I have always wondered why average dogs are not included in these type shows. I’m talking about the kinds of dogs I had as a kid. Take my one-eyed, short fat beagle, Nikita, for example. Nikita came to me as a stray. He had lost an eye before arriving at our house. I suspect a crooked game of cards somewhere on the road. I always thought Nikita would make the perfect entrant into one of these type shows. I can hear the judges now as they issue style points solely based on the fact that Nikita would sit on command. Of course, points would have been deducted once the judges realized that you could say virtually any word in the English language to make him sit. The words “hey,” “baseball cap,” and “toaster” are still fresh in my mind.
Another year, another dog show. The ratings were through the roof and unlike recent headlines not one of the contestants had to appear topless or shave their heads to get attention. I must admit, I catch myself watching parts of the show each year, hoping this will be the year the mutts are allowed to steal the show. It would make for a more exciting telecast if Diamond Jim was upset by Stubby, the mixed breed with half a tail. That, my friends, is entertainment.