A JUNIOR SHOWS AT WESTMINSTER
By Mavis Greenhill
New York City! Wow, what a place. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined myself qualifying for Westminster and then going to Westminster. Now Iím a small town girl so it was really a lot to take in at one time. There were lots of people and lots of buildings. I arrived in New York City, JFK airport, on February 9, 2007 and I left on February 14, 2007.
I didnít show until the 13th so I had time to explore the city and see the sights. The day we got there we were tired and things just didnít seem to be going our way. At first when leaving San Francisco all was well. But then arriving in New York was chaos! First it took about an hour to get the dogs. We were waiting nervously, and not very patiently I might add, and so were a bunch of other people who were also going to Westminster and who had been on the same flight as us.
Because we had to wait for the dogs, the pet taxi had to wait for us. So we were charged extra because the driver had to drive in circles for that hour. When we finally get every thing packed into the taxi, we all pile in. Now I just want you to know that there were two Borzois in this little van and three of us. My dog, Ser, ended up sitting on my lap, not that he was complaining, and Marilynís dog Hunter had to sit in between the front seats.
So we get to the hotel and the taxi driver piles all of our stuff on the sidewalk and gets out of there as fast as he can. Then we turn around to go into the hotel and there were no bellhops or doormen to open the doors for us. We had five large suitcases, two very large crates, and two very large and very tired dogs. As we struggled through the door the people at the front desk just watched us!
So we get everything inside without any help and then we go up to the front desk to check in. Itís here that we are informed that we have to pay $100.00 per night, per dog, for pet charges. Well of course we threw a big fit for when we had made the reservations no one bothered to tell us this little piece of information! So in the end we had to pay it, but the hotel gave us free breakfast for our entire stay. We didnít like it but we went with it.
When we were ready to go up to our room, suddenly there are bellhops just jumping up and down to do our biding. So we handed the crates and the luggage over grabbed the dogs and went up to our roomÖto find itís smaller than a master bedroom bathroom. Ok we can work with this; we moved around some furniture and put the crates side by side. We get everything unpacked, call the family to let them know we are okay, and then get the big heavy jackets on so we can go out in the freezing cold to find something to eat.
Luckily Marilyn knows this great Irish pub that has a restaurant in the back thatís just around the corner. So we go there for dinner and believe me it was a delicious dinner. When we got back to the hotel of course we had to walk the dogs. The hotel had put a sawdust strip in a hallway in the basement for all the show dogs staying at the hotel. Now those dogs had a heck of a time trying to figure out how to go to the bathroom on a two foot by twelve-foot sawdust strip.
The next day was great, we went to Canal Street, to get there we rode the subway. Now for those of you that donít know, Canal Street is like knock-off central. You can find some of the hottest designer labels there, only they arenít real. But hey no one else needs to know that. ;)
That night Garnett, Hunter and Serís breeder, joined us, so we went and had New York pizza, which is delicious. Overall that day was really nice, we each bought a handbag and I bought a ring. Then we had a great dinner and went to bed, the dogs loved all the attention that they were getting when we passed through the lobby to go to the basement. Now just so you know we stayed in the Radisson Martinique not the Penn.
The next day Marilyn and Garnett set off together to go see the artwork in the AKC offices. My grandmother and I spent the whole day with a cousin of mine that lives in New York. Her name is Camille but the family calls her Candy. She took us to the Museum of Natural History, where we saw lots of dinosaur bones. It was awesome!
After that we went to a cute little Mexican restaurant for lunch. From there we met up with Marilyn and Garnett and we went shopping at Macyís, which is the largest store in the world. From there we went to a Century 21 store right across the street from Ground Zero. Ground Zero was something that has become a must see when you go to New York City. Itís of course the site where the twin towers used to stand, but now itís just a big pit with chain link fence around it and ripped up tarps over that.
That night we went to Rockefeller plaza, and then from there we went to the St. Patrickís Cathedral. Now that is a beautiful building! From there we walked to an Italian restaurant/bar. They also had really good food. After dinner the four of us said our good byes to Candy, then we took a cab back to the hotel.
The next day was the first day of Westminster and even though I wasnít showing I wanted to go and watch my judge to see if I could decipher what he was looking for. After juniors were over we left, there was just too many people. We were coming back that night anyway to watch groups. Groups are of course a big deal at Westminster; there were a lot of people. It was great to see some of the dogs you see advertised in the magazines, in real life.
The next was my big day. That morning Marilyn and I woke up really early and went to the Penn to wash our dogs and groom them. Then it was back to the hotel to get dressed and to get glamorous. Then we left Ser at the hotel and went to Madison Square to watch Marilyn show Hunter in breed. It was an exciting experience, and the best part about it was that Hunter won the breed! After that it was back to the hotel to get Ser.
I was so nervous! I couldnít believe that I was in New York City! I was at Westminster!! When I went into the ring I did what I do best and I made the cut! I was so excited and everyone was really happy for me. When I went back in I didnít make the next cut but that didnít bring me down. I had made a cut, I had qualified for Westminster, and I had been in New York City. That is so much more than any junior handler could ever wish for.
Iím only fourteen, and not only did I make it to Westminster, I also qualified for and showed at Eukanuba, and I was ranked number one in 2006 for Borzoi in junior showmanship. What more can I ask for!
I just want to say thank you Pat and Ed Gilbert for being my mentors. Thank you to my grandmother Karen, my dad Dean, my mom Robin, my step-dad Vinny, my Uncle Bobby, and Sue Skidmore. Without them I would have never had enough money to make it to New York. Also I would like to thank Garnett Thompson and Charlotte Wheeler for giving me the most beautiful dog ever (Ser). And Marilyn McGraw for teaching me all she knows about showing dogs, giving me the finer points on proper attire, and for always telling me to stand up straight when I slouch!