by the Rev. Linda Logan. Logan currently serves Trinity Episcopal Church in Boonville and Trinity Episcopal Church in Camden.
“The udders won us the prize.” That was Brandy’s mom Heidi Stabb speaking. Brandy, a seven-year-old Dalmatian “in the fifty-to-sixty pound range,” took first place for Best Costume in the Fun Dog Show at Trinity Episcopal Church in Boonville this May. She came as a cow, complete with horns and ears and a bell around her neck. Her sister Macy, an eight-year-old beagle-husky mix, also in the fifty-to-sixty pound range, came in second as a butterfly.
“We usually win for costume,” Heidi says, “and Most Unique Breed. We never do well in the sausage eating. We don’t want to be rude, but I think they just don’t like the sausages.”
Brandy also won for Waggiest Tale. She usually does, Heidi says. “I say, ‘Who’s my girl?’ And she wags away.”
But she didn’t win Best Trick this year. “It was a fiasco.”
What was the trick?
“I say, ‘Tell me,’ and she barks. I throw the ball and she spins around and catches the ball. But stage fright got her. The ball bounced off her nose, and the beagle came running in and rescued it. The whole crowd laughed. So we gave the prize to the beagle.
“We don’t hold any animosity. We understand the excitement when a ball is in play. It’s every man—or dog—for himself!
“She does this trick every time in her own living room, but not so much under the big tent!”
The Fun Dog Show, now in its tenth year, brings contestants from Old Forge, Remsen, even Camden, wherever the word has gone out. It was started by Maureen Casamayou who found the idea on an English web-site. The categories of competition include Dog and Handler Who Most Resemble Each Other—which Maureen and her yellow lab Gemma won the year Maureen wore yellow pedal pushers and matching windbreaker and bent her sandy blonde hair down next to Gemma’s sandy blonde fur.
Other categories include Most Unusual Name, Best Teen Handler, Best Adult Handler, Oldest Dog, Largest Dog, and Smallest Dog. And then there are the egg and spoon races—with the dogs on leads pulling their humans forward, and some years, seven-legged races that involve one dog pulling two humans who are tied together at a leg. Each category has first-, second- and third-place winners, each of whom is given a certificate “suitable for framing.” Best in Show receives a $50 cash award.
There are three judges every year, and the most difficult competition they have to decide? The Dog the Judges Would Most Like to Take Home with Them.
One dog who caught everybody’s acclaim this year was Trooper, a German Shephard, U.S. Air Force retired, who served with distinction in Afghanistan. He and his handler received grateful applause.
Diane Babcock took over organizing the dog show about five years ago when Maureen became too ill to continue. And it is Angus Saunders who now provides the delightful patter as Master of Ceremonies.
The Fun Dog Show entails a small entry fee per competition. It includes a silent auction of pet products, which takes place in a neighboring tent, and the sale of hot dogs cooked right outside of the big tent (where the aroma can waft over!) and cold drinks and ice cream. And in the adjacent parish hall, a bake sale stocked with numerous homemade baked goods, runs throughout the day.
The Dog Show involves the work and talent of a large number of parishioners, the donation of a large show tent, the pet products and all the foodstuffs for sale. But in the estimation of the people—and apparently the dogs—who participate, it is worth it in the happiness it produces. The only thing that might make for more happiness on the part of the dogs would be trading those Vienna sausages in the eating contest for some of the hot dogs Wendy Piekielniak cooks in butter.