Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Let's Hear it for the Old Dog

Every year, I get sucked into watching the Westminster Dog Show. I cheer wildly and enthusiastically for my favorite breeds.

First, dachshunds--the dog of my teen years. My parents had a dog named Willie who was my baby. He slept at my feet. Then one day he wandered out on a busy highway next to my parents' house--and that was the end of Willie.

Then, boxers--the dog of my husband's teen years. He had a lovely boxer named Ginger. She mostly didn't like outsiders to the family, but she loved me. I would stroke the bridge of her nose, and she would go all gooey eyed and lean against me.

Then, English setters--our family has had two English setters, both rescue dogs. The first, Shannon, came to us after I answered a newspaper ad for a free dog. The owner brought her to our house, where I saw an over-weight 7 year old dog who drooled--and my husband and son saw a wonderful pet. And she was--she lived another 6 years with us.

And Wanda, our second setter--was just great. As with many show setters, she had reserves of great patience with our children. She tended to be somewhat--shall we say--stationary. Mostly she liked to lie around, except when she played with our neighbor's dog--a Rottweiler named Jagger. They would chase around our yard, as she always outran him.

Finally, border collies. Our current dog--Tipper--is only half border, but all the breed traits are there.

So, the last two nights--I cheered for these dogs.

As the final judging proceeded, I noted--what an unusual combination of dogs. The only "predictable" one in the group was a poodle (not my favorite breed in showing--although they are great dogs as pets--I just hate the poofiness). In addition to the poodle, a Scottish deer hound, a Scottish terrier, a Puli (a PULI? as a herding dog--puh-lease), a Sussex spaniel, a Giant Schnauzer, and a Brussels Griffon. Compare that list to last year's winner--the all American dog: the beagle.

Anyway, a fun group. And the winner is. . .THE OLD DOG who just came out of retirement a week ago: the Sussex spaniel. This dog is ten years old, which I guess is sort of like someone aged 70 winning a major prize. Oh, there is hope for me. . .in several years, of course.

Let's hear it for the old dog!


Anvilcloud said...

The setters and the border collies appeal most to me. Spaniels are A-okay though.

Dog-geek said...

I didn't get to watch much of Westminster this year. I can't say that I like what AKC conformation showing has done to many of the herding breeds. Or to many other breeds for that matter. For so many breeds, there is an almost unbridgeable gap between show dogs and working dogs - for all practical purposes they have become two separate breeds. I would so much prefer to see dogs in the breed ring that are still able to perform the work that they were bred for.

possumlady said...

I'm so glad this dog won. Even though it is a purebred, I'm hoping it will help highlight all the senior dogs out there waiting for adoption.

When I'm retired, my plan is to adopt another senior dog. I adopted an 11 year old border collie/retriever mix in 1999 and she lasted almost five years. She was a dream of a dog and appreciated every second I could spend with her.

NCmountainwoman said...

No need to tell you what dog I always want to win. They never do. Golden Retrievers are just too plentiful. My dad had an English bird dog he ever owned, and beautiful as well.

I love watching the Westminster...the handlers are almost as much fun as the dogs.

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

It was a lovely dog than won.

But really! where were the Great Danes??

KGMom said...

Dog-Geek--I agree. The show dogs have gotten a bit too frou frou. I always just think of "Best in Show" and that keeps all in perspective.

Possumlady--us too. That's what we say we will do in complete retirement--add to the animal menagerie. An older dog and a cat or two more!

NC Mtn Wmn--yes, the goldens don't win, but they are lovely. However, remember last year a beagle won. Maybe next year, the golden will!

Philip--there was a Great Dane--but not a group winner, so thus not in the final grouping. The Dane was HUGE--a white and black beautiful dog.

Climenheise said...

So Willie slept at the foot of your bed? I didn't know where he went. I remember the news that he had duelled with a tractor trailer and lost -- so sad. Denise can tell if there was a funeral; I'm sure there was. What was his full name? Wilhelm Thompson the Third?

As you can guess, I love dachshunds. Fritzie is a long-haired dachshund. Long-haired came from cross-breeding with spaniels, so I guess we have a bit of spaniel in our house!

RuthieJ said...

What pretty dogs you've had and have Donna. The only time I really wish for Cable TV is when Westminster Dog Show is on. I just love seeing all the different dogs and was very happy a few years ago when a German Shorthaired Pointer won.

KGMom said...

Daryl--you are right about the cause of Willie's demise. If he had a longer name, I don't recall it.
He was buried at the base of the tree in the back yard at Fairland. I remember thinking the first night--he will be so cold.
Yes, I know you love dachshunds--me too. Fritzie is a very handsome fellow!

possumlady said...

I watched two national newscasts last night, NBC and ABC and they both talked about Stump, but one of them actually talked about how older dogs make great pets and to go on their website to find out more information about senior dogs!! Yay!!

Beverly said...

hooray for the old dogs, nice to see and oldie win...

Denise said...

Awwwww - I remember both Shannon and Wanda. Yes, Wilhelm Thompson the Third was Willie's full name, and yes, we had a funeral for him. When we got Winnie, I used to sneak down in the laudry room, where she was supposed to sleep, and bring her upstairs to my bedroom - after Mother and Daddy had gone to bed. I always thought I was so clever, never stopping to realize that they knew all along, but never stopped me.

An English Shepherd said...

Yes well done the older dog :-)