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I have been a pet lover since I was a child. Growing up, we had a Boxer named Butch. Then for a short stint, my husband and I fostered a Border Collie named Onyx, and currently, we have a fur baby of our own named Charlie. I’ve always been thankful for the dogs that have been in my life. Each one has taught me love, patience, and how to enjoy the little things – like a good back scratch. To celebrate our appreciation for the dogs in our lives and because Thanksgiving is right around the corner, I’m sharing a behind the scenes look at this year’s National Dog Show Presented by Purina and sharing with you how Purina is inviting pet owners to recognize the immersive roles that our dogs play in our lives through their #DogThanking campaign.
The National Dog Show happens every year and airs on Thanksgiving Day. Each year, I work to fight off family members from monopolizing all of the TVs with football so I can tune in to the dog show. I’ve loved watching each of the breeds compete for the top spots in their categories while making predictions on who is going to win Best in Show. I typically guess wrong because I think that my predictions are more on what breeds are my favorite instead of who is actually the strongest dog in the show.
This year will be the 18th year that the National Dog Show will be running, and to get you ready to tune into the show, I’m going to give you a behind the scenes look as to what happens at the dog show through the various photos all of the wonderful furry friends that I was so thankful to meet.
TUNE IN TO WATCH ON THANKSGIVING DAY ON NBC @ NOON IN ALL TIME ZONES
BEHIND THE SCENES
On the day of the show, the floor opens at 8am but many of the handlers arrive almost two hours early in order to start prepping their dogs for showings.
Now, we are all used to seeing the main blue carpet on the day the dog show airs, but there is so much more to it. Everything on the main stage is set-up way in advance with the set-up for the top dog breed being all ready for when the preliminaries are over and the top dogs head to the finals.
Out on display are the awards for each of the categories also known as groups, there are seven of them : Toy, Herding, Terrier, Hound, Non-Sporting, Working, and Sporting. Ranging from the medals all the way to the most wanted trophy for Best in Show. Being able to walk on the blue carpet and see the main stage made me want to head back home and start training Charlie on how to be a show dog. (But then I got home and realized that even though he’s wonderful, and I love him so much, he’s not show dog material.)
The main show doesn’t kick off until halfway through the day. Prior to the main show, each of the distinct breeds are competing to be the best in their breeds in order to head off to the group category competition. During every literal second, there is a competition going on and when handlers are not showing their dogs, they are either prepping them or allowing them to relax and get special attention from all of the guests after they have been shown.
When I was first preparing to head to the National Dog Show, my initial thought was that handlers were going to be very protective of their pets with a hands-off policy. But it was exactly the opposite. The owners let you love on their pets as much as you would like. It was a blast to be able to take pictures with some of the dogs and pet them and learn all of their names.
And to hear about how much they pamper their dogs made me feel like I need to step my game up with my own pooch. It was fun to learn about the grooming they go through. From using hair care products such as CHI and Herbal Essence to the special diets that they put their dogs on to help with muscle tone, teeth care and to maintain healthy and shiny coats. I even caught a few of the handlers using brushes and blow dryers that I use myself. I felt as if they were taking better care of the dogs fur more than I take care of my own hair. I definitely started to get some hair envy with some of the dogs – especially the poodles.
Some of the owners that I spoke to told me how they literally begin prepping for next year’s dog show immediately after this one is over. They go back home and give their pet all the love and show their appreciation with treats and toys, but also work on improving for next year.
Being behind the scenes learning all of these in-and-outs just showed me how appreciative these owners are of their pets and how these pets give that love right back to them.
When it comes to judging, judges look for the pets to have that special something. It’s that little factor that makes the dog stand out among the rest. Its makes them special. In understanding that, I realized why a lot of the owners talk to their dogs about how special they are all of the time.
I walked past one handler telling his pooch “You are the best and no one is better than you.” Giving his dog that love and confidence probably makes his dog sparkle shinier than the other dogs that didn’t get that little vote of confidence.
To be able to watch behind the scenes of the care and love that the handlers give and to watch as the dogs put on the best show so that they could possibly move to the next stage toward the best in show category was an experience that I am going to carry with me for the rest of my life.
And now, as I watch the National Dog Show on Thanksgiving Day, I am going to have a whole new outlook on how I view the the show.
BE THANKFUL FOR YOUR POOCH
Now that you’ve admired all of the wonderful pooches at the National Dog Show, it’s time to show appreciation for your own pet this holiday season.
Purina wants you to share a post of your pet on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag – #DogThanking – that highlights the little spark that your pet brings to your life. Maybe you highlight your pet’s courage or maybe the fact that he gives the best cuddles in the house. For me, I would highlight the way that our dog Charlie looks after our son and is so protective of him, but gentle with him.
When you put up your post, make sure to use the hashtag and tag Purina and your pet may be featured during the airing of the National Dog Show on NBC or NationalDogShow.com!
A GREAT CAUSE
I love the #DogThanking program because it highlights the countless roles our pets play in our lives, like the healer. I recently learned that Purina and RedRover an amazing initiative called the Purple Leash Project that is striving to make domestic violence shelters more pet-friendly across the country because pets play a crucial role as healers when survivors are starting a new chapter in their life. To get involved and learn more about this program, visit www.purpleleashproject.com.