Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Rant #196: Dog Show Is For the Dogs

The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show was just held again at Madison Square Garden in New York City. It is an annual event that draws big crowds, is carried on TV by several major cable networks, and it is a show that is always the darling of the media.

I don't get it.

You have people who look like they haven't had a bowel movement for a week parading their "pure-bred" canines around on a leash. They buff and polish these animals, pampering them worse than kings and queens get waited on, and they are then judged on their qualities.

Sorry, I still don't get it.

These purebreds--victims of inbreeding--are ugly animals. They have squirmy faces and look like they haven't ever begged for anything in their lives.

Give me at mutt over these animals anytime!

Mutts have character, and since so many of them started life at shelters (at least my dog did), they do know some suffering.

And they have plenty of character, I can tell you that. I would swear my dog, a mixed breed terrier/pit bull named Max, understands every word I say to him. He is about 13 years old, is as gentle as a soft towel, and his place in our family makes him irreplaceable.

He is a handsome animal, although he won't have any heirs because we went the Bob Barker way and fixed him when he was a puppy.

Sure, he is annoying, especially when he needs to be walked on a cold winter's day. And as he gets older, he is more particular to where he does his duty, so sometimes the walks are longer.

But he is as loyal as an animal can be. It is called unconditional love, and he gives it every day. He is a true canine, a true pet.

I am sure these pure breds have many of the same characteristics, but I liken them to runway models. I don't find runway models very attractive, and I certainly don't find these animals--which, I believe, are cruelly bred by their owners to appear in these pageants--very attractive either.

In fact, I find them to be a bit phony. And I am sure their masters are, too.

In my first marriage, my wife had relatives who were into this dog pageant nonsense. They were as phony as could be, so phony that you could see right through them. They always had what to say to me, in a nice way, about various characteristics I had which bewildered them, including the way I spoke. I took it all in, but understood where it was coming from: from people who treated their pets like they were children.

If I remember correctly, they had a daughter who I always found to be a bit screwed up.

I wonder why: I mean, she was treated the same way as the family pet was; that will make you a little sick in the head, I think.

So, I have come to this conclusion: give me a mutt with character and I will give you a real animal, one that will honor you every day of your life.

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