The poised and behaved 2,347 dogs (153 breeds) at this year’s Canfield Dog Show prepared to be honored with Best In Show this past weekend. Vendors around the rings provided everything a dog owner could ever need: reflective dog coats, purple pooper scoopers, feathered hand fans, metal brushes, leather leashes and gourmet treats. Dogs could even get a massage or reiki treatment while they waited for their show time.
It was quite a spectacle. Pet owners meticulously spritzed water on their dogs and teased their hair like professional hairstylists. I must admit that I felt a little inferior walking into a building full of black and white standard poodles that had attitudes to match their bouffant hairstyles.
The Mahoning County Kennel Club, the Columbiana County Kennel Club, the Beaver County Kennel Club and the Fort Steuben Kennel Association have hosted this annual dog show since 1990. These kennels make up the Steel Valley Cluster. It’s one of the largest cluster dog shows in the country, so dog owners take this show seriously and sometimes spend up to four hours grooming their dog in preparation for the show. There was so much grooming going on that tufts of fur littered the doggy dressing rooms.
While I was there, I made friends with a couple of the show dogs. Gracie, a three-year-old Britney, made her last debut. She will now spend her time romping around the yard, which suits her well because she is energetic. A two-year-old Blenheim Cavalier named Charlie had a sweet face and demeanor. Charlie was one of the 60 registered dogs with junior handlers.
Although it was a hot summer day, the dogs managed to pull it together and make their owners proud. All of the shampooing, scissoring, blow drying, spritzing and teasing was worth it in the end.