Where in world...?

An old friend phoned the other day. He never phones. But this time he just had to know: "What are you doing living in Florence?"
He thought I was in Florence, Italy. I told him it was Florence, Massachusetts.
Here are some answers -- my occasional wanderings through Florence, MA and the surrounding Pioneer Valley.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Best in Show: Not Your Typical Dog Show

I know it's been a while, but winter doldrums can mean the lack of snow to brighten the day, and a routine that becomes really routine. What this meant for Florentina is the uncertainty of what would spice up the not-so-sunny days out there. Well, Florentina and Joey found it today. Little Joey was not so sure, but he was a brave little man/cockapoo for a few minutes, as you will see.

Joey: Yikes! 

Well, today was the seventh annual Not Your Typical Dog Show at Northampton High School, Joey's Dad's alma mater. It is a benefit for the Volunteers In Northampton Schools, a non-profit organization providing volunteers for all the Northampton public schools. We decided to have a look without expectation of participating in any events, since it's not clear that Joey is capable of demonstrating ability, tailwagging, fetching, singing, agility, tricks, or conventional obedience in a school gym filled with dozens of dogs and approximately one hundred people. Never mind competing in the smooching category -- Joey is wary of PDA in front of other dogs and people as well as showing off his natural talents.

Joey can jump this high,
but only in private when
he's really excited.
Luckily, Joey has gotten a lot braver about meeting other dogs and people thanks to our daily walks. We ran into his trainer, Shannon, at Leading the Way in Florence, and met lots of people with their dogs. I wanted to stick around to see some of the events, which seemed to be about agility with the hurdles and cones set up in formation. It seemed like a lot for me and Joey to take in. He hasn't been training for the Doggie Olympics in the last few months, unfortunately.

Weaving in and out of cones
as a test of obedience?
Without expectations of competing in events, Joey and I were able to see who was getting ready to compete. Dogs and their humans were lined around the ring, ready to strut their stuff. The pressure was off and it was a good thing because Joey had it after about twenty minutes.  And it meant that I didn't have to try to trick him into staying any longer to show him in the ring, etc. I dodged the dog show bullet that Eugene Levy caught in his two left feet in Best in Show (2000). Below he plays the hapless husband to his wife, Candie, who was supposed to show Winky the Norwich Terrier at the Westminster Dog Show. (N.B.: the screen may tell you to watch it directly on YouTube and should let you click on the link that leads you there.)


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