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First Quarter Wrap-Up

April 8, 2012 by  
Filed under Featured Articles

dog calendar

Time for first quarter wrap-up.

The first quarter of the year is always exciting, with three of the biggest competitions coming one right after the other.  Here’s a quick wrap-up of Westminster, Crufts, and the Iditarod.

136th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Show

The great grandaddy of all conformance shows, Westminster Kennel Club’s All-Breed Show was held on February 13th and 14th.  One of the biggest stories to come from the show was Maverick, a rescued Weimarener who went from CraigsList to the Garden.  His owner is currently writing a book chronicling this impressive feat, which you can preview on Facebook.

Winning dogs include:

  • Cinders, a Wire-Haired Dachshund who took the Hound Group
  • Emily, an Irish Setter and winner of the Sporting Dogs Group
  • Fifi, a Doberman who won the Working Group
  • Ian, a Non-Sporting Dalmation
  • Cappy, a German Shepherd who won the Herding Group
  • Chelsey, a Kerry Blue who took the Terrier Group
  • Malachy, the Pekingese winner of the Toy Group, who later went on to become Best in Show

The Crufts Show (March 8th – 11th)

The Crufts show is similar to Westminster as far as the conformance portion, but there are many other events at Crufts including agility, a dance contest, and a talent show.  Videos of all the fun are available on the Crufts site, as well as on YouTube.

For conformance, winners include:

  • Whistlestop’s Elements of Magic, and Irish Water Spaniel who won the Gundog group
  • Ragus Merry Gentleman, a Norwich who won the Terrier Group
  • Old English Sheepdog Bottomshaker My Secret, winner of the Pastoral Group
  • Borzoi Rothesby Sholwood Snow Hawk who took the Hound Group
  • Toy Group winner Belliver Unexpected Dream, a Pomeranian
  • The Newfoundland King of Helluland Feel the Win, who was crowned Best in Group for working dogs.
  • Lhasa Apso Zentarr Elizabeth, winning the Utility Group and later the Best in Show

Iditarod (March 3rd – 19th)

By now, nearly everyone knows that Dallas Seavey, age 25, was the youngest musher ever to win “The Last Great Race on Earth.”  But there are so many more stories behind the stories that made up this year’s Iditarod.

Brent Sass was proclaimed 2012’s Iditarod Rookie of the Year when he was the first rookie to pass under the famed Burled Arch in Nome.

For the third year in a row, no dogs died during the race.  In fact, Scott Janssen, known as the Mushing Mortician, performed successful mouth-to-snout CPR on one of his dogs when the animal became unresponsive along the course.

Dogs who are looking too thin or overly tired usually get to ride on the sled to the next checkpoint, where they are checked by a vet before being airlifted back home.  Along the way, they may even stay a day or two enjoying the hospitality of the state of Alaska while being cared for by the inmates at the Hiland Mountain Correctional Center.

When the entire team struggles, the musher may even choose to scratch from the race.  For example, Pat Moon said he dropped out because his dogs “weren’t having any fun.”

Similarly, Lance Mackey was asked why he was running in the middle of the pack (he finished 22nd) rather than in his customary place closer to the front.  His reply was that he always “runs his dogs first, and the race second.”

According to Mike Davis, a vet at the University of Oklahoma and an exercise physiologist, dogs are the ultimate endurance athletes.  In the space of just 48 hours, a dog can change his metabolism to eliminate his dependence on energy reserves such as fat. Dogs are much quicker than humans at moving energy into muscle cells where it can be put to immediate use.  In spite of this efficiency, these athletes must consume an enormous number of calories during the race.  Each dog eats as much as 12,000 calories every day during the event, the equivalent of 50 Big Macs.

So, could any other animal do this?  I’m not sure, but according to Jeff Valdez, “Cats are smarter than dogs.  You can’t get eight cats to pull a sled through the snow.”

 

 

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