Canines Vie for Top Dog Title – The Republican Article 2005

This article was written by Patricia Norris for The Republican (Springfield, MA) on Monday November 28, 2004. The Nitro referred to in this article is our Woodcrest Pride Ignites handled by R. Atwood and the Striker referred to in this article is our Amer/Can CH & Can BIS Penaire Star Struck at Woodcrest handled by Adam Bernardin. Also in the article is Jaime B. Donelson, she and Adam are our professional dog handlers.

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Canines vie for top dog title
Monday, November 28, 2005
By PATRICIA NORRIS
pnorris@repub.com

WEST SPRINGFIELD – The Eastern States Exposition grounds went to the dogs yesterday and for much of the weekend, in the best kind of way, for the Thanksgiving Classic Cluster Dog Shows.

Three buildings at the West Springfield fairgrounds showcased dogs vying for titles like Best in Show and Best in Breed. There were also agility, training and obedience trials.

For Nitro, an Airedale terrier, the weekend was a definite success. A newcomer to the show arena, Nitro came away as the winner in his breed, causing other dog owners to pat his fur for good luck.

Nitro trotted effortlessly on a runway sealed with duct tape as the judges worked to size up his movement and attitude. The regal-looking dog, with a touch of what resembled a beard, kept a straight-ahead stare as a few poodles barked incessantly in the crates behind him and caramel-colored chows pranced in the next ring.

“It’s a good hobby,” said Nitro’s owner, R. A. Atwood, outside the winner circle. “It’s a lot of fun.”

The New Hampshire woman’s other champion Airedale, Striker, won Best in Breed yesterday.

Judging from the layout in the Young Building, dog shows are not exactly walks in the park for the owners or their dogs.

By midday several dogs had developed short attention spans, barking at inopportune times and leaving their masters as red-faced as the parent of a toddler throwing a department-store tantrum. Beyond the small runway area, a sea of grooming tables held dogs of all shapes and sizes as they were fluffed, trimmed, combed and otherwise fussed over before their curtain calls.

“Some need more maintenance,” said Jamie B. Donelson, a hired handler from Canterbury, Conn. “Put an Airedale out in the rain and his jacket will get curly, and that is not preferable. If he gets out in the rain, you are going to have a lot of work ahead of you.”

Maybe not as much work as the standard poodle. The carefully coifed dogs sported elaborate styles, many with their fur meticulously wrapped in protective cloth before their showtime.

Mimo was walking about with his master Joan H. Kress of Sherborne in the Mallory building. The white standard poodle with shaved legs and backside had an intricate pony-tail-like upsweep won his head, to keep the 3-year-old dog from tangling or otherwise messing up his ‘do.

“In this country you can’t show them without their hair being long on top,” said Kress.

Mimo and Kress were sizing up the agility course, a sort of sportsman’s answer to the dog show where a few handlers actually ran the course along side their animal. It was not an event for the faint at heart.

Kress said once her arthritis is in check she wants to take on the challenge with Mimo.

Competition continues today from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.