The Salem Civic Center went to the dogs last weekend for the annual Mountain Valley Cluster Dog Show. There were big dogs and little dogs and everything in between. When they weren’t being shown in one of the many rings, they were being fluffed and buffed to be shown.
John Per (pronounced “pear”) from Hartford, Connecticut, has been showing dogs for 32 years. He shows every weekend and it’s his fulltime job. The professional handler was showing three Cocker Spaniels from Louisiana that live with him as he travels to dog shows every weekend.
Per spends several hours every day grooming the dogs. Taylor, who he was grooming on a raised table, won the Sporting Group Friday. Taylor looked like she had green pigtails. Per explained she wore ear wraps, “just to keep their ears straight before they show.”
Ann Glenn from Clarkston, Michigan was primping her 3-year-old Maltese to show. She was using a flat hair iron to straighten his tail. “Champion Rolling Glenn’s Elusive Origins,” or Pride for short, had been in several shows and he was in five to get his Champion title.
Glenn and her husband have been raising and showing Maltese for 50 years. They had two puppies that will be following in Pride’s footsteps.
“They are absolutely angelic and loving with each other and with people. They’re incredible. I have other breeds, but there’s nothing like this”, she said.
Joan Ziehl from Radford has been showing Great Pyrenees for eight years as an owner/handler. This time she was showing Bebe, a 4-year-old female Great Pyrenees in her second show. She had been at the Civic Center for last year’s show.
“Love the breed . . . Incredible, they’re gentle giants. They’re incredibly kind. They’re protective, just a great, great breed. Not for everyone. They bark a lot, they shed a lot. And they can be very possessive of their territory.”
When asked why she shows Great Pyrenees, Ziehl replied, “I just love them. I love the competition and I love showing off the dogs.” They show in a “Bred By” class (meaning she also bred to get the dog), “So it’s almost like a pride. You want everyone to see your bloodlines and your dog.”
– Beverly Amsler