I had never watched a dog show before I got my dog Sadie. Then suddenly I became interested in all things dog related. Animal Planet became the sole channel on the basement television for Sadie’s enjoyment when I was out. I wasn’t sure if she actually watched it, but I figured it would keep her entertained. Then one day a commercial for cheese came on where one of the cows was named SADIE and when the cow’s name was called…my alert little dog jumped up and ran to the television. Her interest in television was confirmed when she started sleeping with me and would scootch to the bottom edge of the bed and watch television copying my bad habit of falling asleep with the television on.
When we discovered the Westminster Kennel show, both of us became enthralled in this grand exhibit of dog perfectionism. When we watched the perfectly groomed dogs prance around the show ring, I’d put Sadie’s special collar on her and we would imitate the dog’s show strutting techniques as we ran around the coffee table in our living room. I’d reward Sadie with a treat and tell her…”Someday that will be you.”
After I became a member of the Dog Writers Association of America, the show had special significance. This group of writers also known as the Dog Writers Press, covers this event every year and sponsors a prestigious writing contest. The awards are given out at a fancy banquet the night before the show begins. I dreamed of winning an award while Sadie would win at Westminster. We were clueless that you had to be a “pure” bred dog to participate in Westminster. See…when I say I was really a dog illiterate until I got Sadie…it’s the truth.
When I found out that Sadie could never participate in Westminster and of course had to tell her, we were both crushed. After all she is such a beautiful dog and had practiced so hard! And none of those dogs with pedigrees could dance on their hind legs to “Who Let the Dogs Out” like Sadie. It was all so unfair.
Sadie kept inspiring me and I kept writing. Our column was a finalist in 2005 and we were ecstatic to receive a nice letter and a beautiful certificate to frame and hang on the wall. I booked a flight to New York and was all prepared to come back a winner. It wasn’t to be and we never even got off the ground. New York City got hit that weekend with the one of the worst blizzards they had ever seen and a writer form the New York Times won the award.
Late December of 2006 we returned from a book signing in Pittsburgh and anxiously checked the Dog Writers Association website. We had entered out book and the finalists would be announced any day. It was too good to be true…there in the category for books was what we were hoping for…our book THE DOG DIET was a finalist! Again, I made the flight arrangements and booked Sadie into her favorite pet lodge for the weekend where she would wait with the staff for good news.
It was exciting in New York City meeting all the other finalists and the many contestants in the Westminster Show. Up close these dogs weren’t as confident as they appear on television. They seemed nervous and warily glanced at their competition. The night of the banquet, my Mom and my friend and I went to the upscale hotel. We were seated at a table near the front of the room and anxiously awaited for the announcer to get to our category. It was just like the Academy Awards…ok maybe not so glamorous, but to me and a little dog waiting back home…it was a night to remember.
It seemed like forever before our category was announced…they read off the nominees…the moment was upon me as I heard…”And the Maxwell Award for Dog Humor Book of the year goes to THE DOG DIET.” I admit I cried. I stumbled with an acceptance speech except for the part where I said…”This one’s for you Sadie”. The emcee placed a beautiful medal around my neck and it was over.
I was so excited I wore the medal home on the plane and when Sadie greeted me at the airport…she jumped all over me and licked the medal and I put it around her neck. The heck with the Westminster Show…we were happy with our medal. Some things come with birth and some things come with luck and perseverance. Sadie might never be best in show at an official dog show, but she’s best in life every day to me. Every dog has her day…and this one was Sadie’s.
Visit Patti and Sadie’s website: http://www.thedogdiet.com