Canine enthusiasts watch the annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, one of the best-known competitive animal shows in the world, for a variety of reasons.
They simply love seeing the pups, whether those pups are of the toy variety or sporting or hound or non-working. Viewers also like to admire the tail-waggers in full trot, right there at The Piers 92/94 in New York City. People tuning in also enjoy the judges' commentary, which is so singular that Christopher Guest satirized it in "Best in Show." And viewers adore all of those amazing, and amazingly fancy, dog names.
But what will tug many hearts on Feb. 15 and 16, the 2016 dates for the 140th outing of show, is seeing how the handlers interact with their furry charge on the sidelines, from cuddles to pets to softly spoken words. Having a pup at your side is a great joy, is one Westminster reminder, but you don't need to travel as far as the show to find your next BFF, if your heartstrings have been so tugged. Look to...
What to do, where to go and what to see
The NKLA Pet Adoption Center: No-Kill Los Angeles, a Best Friends initiative, always has a host of hounds ready to be transported to the comfiness of your couch (and, more importantly, to the center of your world). The West LA adoption center has "over 100 dogs and cats of all kinds," and staffers who can answer all questions, from feeding to microchips to vaccinations.
Wags and Walks: This rescue outfit can often be seen, with a caboodle of charming canines in tow, at spots around Southern California (they're frequent fixtures at the Original Farmers Market on Third & Fairfax). The sweeties ready for your arms run the gorgeous gamut from the teeny-tinys to the bed-fillers, depending on what you long for. Several seniors needing a forever home are also in the lovey line-up, so peruse (and adopt) now.
Much Love Animal Rescue: Another major group on the go-to-you adopt-'n-love scene, Much Love'll be out in Santa Monica on Sunday, Feb. 21. Will you find your lil' cuddler there? Many have. If you need an early peek before making for the Main Street adoption, you can have a look-see at the sweet Pugs and Basset Hounds and other beasties who want to meet you. Do it. Look now.
Southern California is home to so many hardworking rescue groups, all who share the aim of making happy matches between humans and smart, sweet, lick-prone pups who only want to up the love in whatever household they join.
Ponder that as you watch the handlers scratch the ears of the Westminster Dog Show competitors. Those superstar pooches may own the floor during the event, but the rest of the year they're relaxing on a couch or lap, bringing joy. If you want that, too, go get it.