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  • Paul Davidson

I Spit On You, Westminster Dog Show (#5)

Six months after my dog Jack was born he and I began to do the dog-show circuit. Oh sure… he had fun at first. He got to meet new dogs. He got to dress up. His hair was done. Extensions were added. The thrill of victory was all new to him. One time he even said, “Ruff…Ruff…RUUUUFFA.” (In Terrier that means ‘this is great’). I guess I didn’t notice that somewhere along the line his enthusiasm gave way to obligation.

Much like a pushy Texas mother I began dragging him from one show to another. Mostly he would do it because he loved me. Plus – it wasn’t all bad. He was crowned Mr. Puppy Chow. He would open pet stores. “It’s what he wants,” I would tell myself. He, on the other hand, would put up with it because he saw the joy it brought me. I never stopped to think that his performances were fueling my inner desire to win. My days as a pageant king were over, but I couldn’t accept it. Like a drug I had to have more… Mr. Eukanuba, Mr. Rawhide, there was even talk about a record contract. I pushed and I pushed.

It was competing in these early pageants where I learned about the seedy underbelly of the Westminster Society. It’s a world where the French figure-skating judge looks like a saint and L.A. women look natural. Judges were openly soliciting bribes and the dogs were using every trick to “enhance” their chances. All the while the Society was pushing an impossible image. “Dog Fancy” was more airbrush than reality. The Society knew it, but they didn’t care. They didn’t care that they were eating up these dogs and spitting them out.

The dogs are treated like pieces of meat, but I was under the spell of the Society. I didn’t see the damage that was being done. It took a brush with death for me to realize what I had become.

In an attempt to give Jack the perky tail of a pup, he went under the knife for a titanium-rod implant. Oh yes… don’t kid yourselves; it happens. It’s just not the kind of thing that they talk about at “The Show.” Nobody wants to see how the hotdog is made… He nearly died that night, and I made a solemn pledge to bring light to the miserable world of Westminster.

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