More than 1,800 compete for honors in Western Pennsylvania dog show
Like trainers preparing a boxer, owners John and Diane Mitchell and handler Dawn Backos applied the finishing touches to Windy and Kiss, standard schnauzers, before they entered the ring.
John Mitchell, 43, of Beaver Falls waxed Windy's legs from the paws to accent her salt-and-pepper fur. Backos, a handler from Greensburg, applied corn starch-like mousse to whiten and stand up her fur. And Dianne Mitchell reassured Kiss, “Good puppy,” in a soothing voice.
“They get treats. You talk to them. Just treat them like a little baby,” Backos said.
The all-breed show sponsored by the Western Pennsylvania Kennel Association Inc. attracted 859 dogs representing 138 breeds and varieties on Sunday in the Monroeville Convention Center. Saturday's event had 1,019 dogs. Each day has a set of award winners. The dogs are not judged by how they compare against each other, but on how they compare with the standards for that breed. Bloodhounds, for instance, require long ears.
Some dogs take a lot of preparation, and others can practically step into the ring.
Cookie Nee, 56, of Irwin owns U Neeq, a papillon. Nee said U Neeq is neither too white nor too black, with a tail that curls nicely over his back and a kiss — a marking like pursed lips — atop his head. She said she just gives him a bath and trims his feet before he goes into the ring.
“He's a natural,” she said. “I don't have to do anything for him.”
Then there's Toro, a standard poodle, who stood on the grooming table while Joseph Vergnetti, his owner, breeder and handler, fussed over him. He tied the dog's double top knot on its head with a purple rubber band that matched the wrap at the end of his ears.
Vergnetti, 60, of Medina, Ohio, combed and picked at him like a stylist in a beauty salon.
“You'd be surprised at how much they enjoy being fussed on,” he said.
Morgan Kiefhaber, 53, of Colden, N.Y., entered three of her six basset hounds, Ariel, Chunky and Balloo. She has them bathed, their nails trimmed and their eyes cleaned. Just before showtime, she removed the drool from their dangling ears and sprayed them with a coat shine made from mink oil.
“It takes away the hound smell,” she confided.
Not all those attending were owners, handlers and breeders. Frank Cost, his wife, Diane Dudek, and their daughter Kinsley, 4, and two aunts went to the show
because the girl loves dogs. Kinsley wore a black sequined beanie and an Easter bunny necklace and carried a black- and-white terrier purse, an Easter present. She owns a rescue dog named Chance.
“She loves to watch dogs being groomed,” her mother said.
Nancy Glabicki, 71, of Murrysville has been involved with dogs for 35 years. A board member of the kennel group, she was an announcer this year and owns a Belgian tervuren. She has entered her dogs in the show previously.
“If she loses, I just say, ‘There's a show tomorrow,' ” she said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- New Castle-area racino remains in limbo
- Carnegie Mellon University’s Speck device monitors indoor pollution
- 17 Pennsylvania veterans inducted into Hall of Valor
- ‘Swing Night’ has feel of Prohibiton-era dance hall
- Shortfalls sabotage promise of union retirees’ pensions
- Newsmaker: Sharna Olfman
- Mt. Lebanon native, Iraq war hero’s action goes unrewarded
- Scaife additions to elevate status of two museums
- Pa. woman charged with forging docs to claim she was an attorney
- Newsmaker: Jeff Ritter
- Washington County school superintendent charged with DUI gets probation