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Beware all who pass through these Hallowed Portals where dogs (and outfits) are shown and critiqued! The Fashion Police are watching and may be judging you!


July 25, 2017

Sherry L. Shivley, Journalist Award Winner


By now I doubt if there are any dog show enthusiasts who haven’t seen or heard about the Sweat Suit Lady at Westminster. She showed her Puli really well but Facebook was full of opinions about her attire. There were speculations as to why she would wear a yellow sweat suit to show her dog in one of the most highly regarded sporting events of the year. Comments ranged from her handler didn’t show up, her luggage was lost and she didn’t have a cool thousand lying around to buy a fashionable outfit, a dog peed on her… on and on.


The point is, they are judging the DOG correct? Many complain about judges looking at the other end of the leash but there was a perfect example of a judge actually looking at the DOG. Yes, I know, not being properly attired for the dog show ring shows disrespect, yada yada yada...


So maybe not a sweat suit but what is wrong with slacks and a top that isn’t so low cut the spectators gasp every time the handler bends over? What about the men in their suits in bright yellow, green, pink and electric blues? I understand wanting to stand out, but what happened to just a crazy tie? I’ve seen men in green from their hat to their shoes. Perhaps we need to dress like those people in horse shows; blinged out jackets or vests and matching slacks. That might appease the fashionistas a bit.


Sweat Suit Lady was relaxed, happy, and in control. So was her Puli. That dog smiled all the way around the Westminster breed ring. How much better than classes where young dogs have to be taken out because they are so stressed, freaking out with the noise, lighting, heat, crowds, and nerves from their usually calm human.


Why Not a sweat suit? Wear something that makes you and your dog happy. You came to show and have a good time. Not take home a neurotic mass of fur.


The first time I ever showed a dog, it was a puppy. He belonged to a friend, who had 3 dogs entered and all three won their class. She needed one more person to take a dog back in for Best Of Breed competition and her eyes fell on me. She did not expect the puppy to do anything. He was full of exuberance and I knew nothing except follow the leader and shove bait in his face.


I was wearing a lovely John Deere Tee shirt, jeans with keys and a cell phone hanging off the belt, tennies, no makeup. I girded my loins, took the leash and off we went. Some might say the puppy was better dressed!


Jonathon (aka Happy Feet) did not stay in one spot for more than a second-think mosquito in heat. I finally got him to stack and hold still for the Judge, then just as he walked back by us Jon went off, jumping, patty caking, twirling. The Judge reached the end of the line, walked back, pointed at me.


My heart fell to the floor. I knew we were being excused. I apologized to the Judge for Jonathon’s behavior but he just smiled and handed me the BOB ribbon.


I was stunned and my friend was crying. The Judge told me to bring him back again.  I still wear pants in the ring. I feel better and my legs ain’t what they used to be. Let’s face it, they look better than the sweater and skirts many wore to show in at Westminster that had fat rolls showing.


When it comes down to it, are sequins and skirts that important? Isn’t the reason you got there is because of your dog? Shouldn’t it ALWAYS be about the dog? I hope that one day you will stroll into a ring wowing a Judge with your beautiful dog, wearing a comfy pair of fuzzy slippers.


See ya around the ring~ EST 2002 © 1707



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