You know how that fancy-schmancy Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show comes to Manhattan every year with a media parade and glitz and glamour and ultra-pampered pure-breds? Brooklyn has an answer to all that, and it’s the Brooklyn Mutt Show — which, unlike Westminster, is open to all dogs, from all backgrounds, and with an emphasis on adoption and rescue rather than breeding. In short, it’s awesome.
The quirky third annual Brooklyn Mutt Show is set for the weekend of March 24-25, 2012, and I am proud to announce that Pets Adviser is an official sponsor.
Even though show director/emcee Regan Fishman is suffering through a nasty bout with a cold, it was clear when I sat down with her last night at the Brooklyn Lyceum (the excellent event venue) that she’s incredibly passionate about pets, and the mutt show in particular. “I’m a crazy dog person,” she told me. “I have to throw the microphone down sometimes during the show because people bring their dogs out and they’re just sooo freakin’ cute.”
This year, word on the street has it that there will be a mini-Star Trek convention for the dogs — actually, Star Trek versus Star Wars. Besides all the mutts in costumes, there will be an upstairs dog run with hoops and an agility course, a DJ, a first aid/CPR certification course, raffles for charity and more during the two-day event — but, of course, the biggest attractions are the contests.
Categories where dogs can win medals may include Best Beard, Best Ears, Cutest Puppy, Sexiest Senior, Least Useful Trick, Least Likely to be a Police Dog, Best Tail, Most Like Owner, Bloomberg Wolfalike and, uh, Best Kisser — the sloppiest, wettest, most passion-filled canine-to-human kiss.
“Best Kisser is one of the most popular things that we do,” Regan told me. “It’s great because the judges get really into it too. What I love the most about it is that the dogs get so excited! They just know that they’ve done something really good. They have no idea what it is, they don’t know why people are cheering, but they’re really happy about it. I love that.”
Regan says that the Best Kisser contest this year promises to “hotly contested,” because a dog named Nibbler, winner two years ago, had his title stolen last year by a pitt bull mix named Bailey. “So Nibbler is coming back with a vengeance this year and wants his gold medal back,” Regan said.
Then again, winning a medal isn’t really the point. Just in case you weren’t sure your mutt could be a winner, rest assured that every canine will get at least an honorable mention at the Brooklyn Mutt Show.
‘Informal and Fun’
“We’ve always wanted it to be very informal and fun,” Regan said, offering a touching example: “Best Tail last year was actually won by a dog that didn’t even have a tail! It was so cute. His little kid owner was like, ‘His tail is imaginary.’”
Don’t expect any hard pitches to buy stuff at the Brooklyn Mutt Show; it’s all about FUN, not making money. “My feeling is that there are so many events where somehow, some way, you are being shilled by someone just trying to sell you on their product, and there are very few events where you can just hang out and have a good time.” That’s where the Brooklyn Mutt Show has stepped in.
I asked Regan about the response so far. “The traction that we’ve gotten on this has been pretty impressive. I figured it wouldn’t be that hard to sell dog people on the idea of, you know, ‘Come watch dogs be cute and wear pants!’ and stuff like that. That first year we were shocked because it was raining like a monsoon, and I couldn’t believe people came out, much less their dogs. And last year it was packed to the gills all day long.”
More About the Mutt Show
The 2012 show, produced in conjunction with BKLYN Bark (dog walking and pet sitting), will benefit the Sean Casey Animal Rescue and the Wild Bird Fund. Sponsors, besides Pets Adviser, include Doggie Academy, Brooklyn Beasts Photography and Earth Friendly Products. The eclectic panel of judges includes several comedians from the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, the cast of the reality-TV show Doggie Moms, an NYPD officer, blogger Matt Ufford, actor Aaron Ramey and possibly stuntman/actor Chazz Menendez.
If you’re in Brooklyn, you can attend the show both days, 11am-7pm, for a small cash donation or donation of a pet product. If you want to enter your dog, there is an entry fee of $25 in advance/$30 at the door.
If you aren’t in the NYC area and you still wanna know about the shenanigans, relax — Pets Adviser will be live-blogging from the Lyceum during both days of the event. In the meantime, check out the Mutt Show’s Facebook page, which will be posting entrants’ photos all month.
Photos courtesy Brooklyn Mutt Show