Tuesday, February 21, 2012

2-21-12 - Westminster: I am back online!

Hello my followers and readers...despite m,y best laid plans to keep everyone up to date as the westminster journey unfolded... I was unable to. Beleive it or not the NY hotel we stayed in did not have wi-fi in the rooms, and to use their computers were $.20  MINUTE! I am a pretty SLOW typer, and time was very tight, so I had to bypass the blog until I got home.

For now, here is my blog entry I wrote in Word so I could cut and paste into the blog. More to come - including photos and videos! Stay tuned!

Sunday - 2-12-12.
HOLY   #@*&!!!! We are in Manhattan! The full range of emotions today. Phew…. Where to begin…...

First, this will go on the blog sometime after I write it. The hotel – even at $220/night, does not have wifi in the rooms. I can go down to the lobby and get it. But keep in mind, any thoughts of a quiet, relaxing lobby go out the window. It is anything but. This show is a huge deal and even here in the hotel, swarms of people wander everywhere – just to see what dogs are coming in and out. So tonight, at 10:30, I am peopled out for the day and we are in the relative quiet of the 14th floor – the constant honking of taxi’s horns at street level is faded. I can think, I can unwind.
The drive was overall better . Roads got better as we got closer to NY. But one 3 car accident while we were still in snow kept us on edge until we got out of the snow.
The show seemed to get more and more real as I approached the city. My adrenaline started soaring and I felt high anticipation as we drove the Lincoln tunnel and into Manhattan. We arrived around 3:00 pm and I was thrilled to get easily into the city, find my way to the hotel and look forward to getting unloaded and get the dogs out. My eagerness quickly faded as we sat in the car waiting to pull next to the hotel to unload. It was THREE HOURS before we were unloaded and the car handed off to the valets to park it! The dogs needed to be fed and walked, and that meant we would miss the banquet we were going to.  Oh well, it was a last minute addition anyhow and probably would have gone too late…
Oh where, oh where does a little dog pee, oh where, oh where do they pee????……. Our dogs looked at the cement city and saw nothing viable. They looked confused and pulled ahead looking for somewhere to go. We knew the hotel had set-up an indoor pee and poop area so we went in to see what it was. Wow. They covered half of a large ballroom with thick plastic, then put down a layer of saw dust and placed out fire hydrants for the boys. So there, among vendor booths, drapes and carpet, we asked our dogs to go to the bathroom. They looked at us as if we were nuts. We walked in circles, they tried not to sniff all the dogs pee – as it was visibly grossing both the dogs out. They are drooling, and holding up their feet. Finally both dogs peed and they wanted out then. Later, before bed, we brought them back. Both peed, but even though Mick really had to poo, he wouldn’t. If he could talk, he would say “YUCK!!!" I feel bad for both boys – very clean house dogs that never, ever go inside – asking them to step around in urine soaked wood shaving and take a shit. I doubt I will get Delsin to go unless I figure out a way to get him up to central park – which is many, many long blocks away. So, tonight as I type this, Mick lays on my bed, farting. It may be a stinky night.
After unpacking and feeding the dogs Denise and I go about finding our own dinner. One of the great appeals to me about NY is culture and experiencing things I may not get a chance to otherwise. Our hotel is close to Korea town and we head there. Having no idea what to look for, we just choose. We went up some stairs to a small restaurant where we were to only white folks in there the entire meal. I was in heaven and love immersing myself into "different". The meal was great although we certainly were confused about what to order and accidently ordered the same thing, although we aren’t entirely sure how that happened. And we ordered too much food! But very enjoyable.
A side note, but one that had an impact on me: on the way to the restaurant, there was a homeless guy curled up in his sleeping bag along the side of the sidewalk - sleeping on the dement. I guess that is usual and I have seen homeless before. Nobody paid attention to this figure on a cold sidewalk in 20 degree weather. But it bothered me. How can he survive? I understand how that happens in the summer, but how about winter? How did his life get so bad that he lives on the streets in this manner? Certainly no one as a child is striving to be a street bum in New York City.
As I finish my dinner and have large amounts of odong noodles (soup) left that I have no way to keep to eat in the future, I think of that man laying on the sidewalk, curled up in an old ratty sleeping bag. Would he be offended if I took my left overs to him? I knew he most likely dug through trash to eat and I could bring him something warm and reasonably fresh but would it insult him?

I took a chance and had the restaurant pack up 2 container’s of soup – both of our left overs. I walked up the street prepared just to set it along side the sleeping man as not to disturb him. But he was awake as we I walked towards him and was sitting up in his sleeping bag digging through some trash he had piled up besides him – I believe looking for food. I politely asked him if he would like some soup – and it was warm. He gently took it and politely thanked me. He looked sober. He looked sane. I told him to enjoy it and have a good evening and went about my way. While I didn’t end his hunger forever, I did prevent perfectly good food from getting tossed in the garbage when there was a very hungry man just down the street.
A far cry from what I came here to do: show in Westminster. But, it puts some things into perspective that I did not anticipate. I am going to a dog show. A very expensive dog show. And I am doing it just for fun and I realize I am “entitled” if you will, to have fun in life. I don’t feel “guilty” per say, but I do feel something…. That it is incredibly odd that huge amounts of money are spent on so many things from showing dogs to football games when there are so many people in our country, let alone the world that have no idea where their next meal will come from or even how they may stay warm if the weather goes below freezing.
I can see, that this trip to New York will touch upon things, that for me, will make me think and wonder about my own life, what I am doing with it and if I am doing enough. If that takes a trip to Westminster for me to take inventory, it is not a bad trip to take.
Tomorrow will be more about dogs perhaps J


  1. You are forgiven for not posting while you were on your trip. We watched the action on-line and still think you should have won.
    A big wet sloppy kiss goes out to your mummy for feeding the homeless man. I'm sure it made him very happy. A little act of kindness goes a long way.
    As for having to pee indoors, well I completely agree with you. It has to be grass, I like to hide mine in long grass and then laugh at mummy when she has to pick it up.

    1. Hi Fizz - Yes, a little act of kindness from each of us, each day, can go a long ways. While I did not think of myself as "kind" when I gave the gentleman the food, I understand why it is viewed that way. It just seemed to me, that I had this food, and there was a very hungry man a hundred some feet from the door of the resturant. It just seemed like the thing to do. I hope he enjoyed it, I hope he can find his way back from the hell he is in.

  2. I got to watch you and Delsin online while at work. You and Delsin looked great. I was amazed at how many dogs you were competing against. I would've loved for you to win, but you should still be so proud. I'll look forward to reading about the rest of this exciting journey.

    Linda Hoppenstedt

    1. Hi Linda!!! What delight it is that you have found us!!!! How is that cute Abbey of yours???

      Thanks for pulling for us - it would indeed been fun to win and share that with everyone. But, we had fun, Delsin showed so very, very well, and no one would ever have known his age had it not been in the exhibitors catalog. He was over three years older than any other dog in his ring! I am delighted and honored to be at Westminster with my friend Delsin!

  3. When I was in school for social work we talked a lot about homelessness and needs of the poor, but it was always just words. Sure I felt "bad" for individuals in that situation, but never did I get it until I sat in a room with a mother that was entirely homeless. It makes it real and it makes it personal. It's such a different perspective when it's not just a statistic.

    You are such a thoughtful person.. Your kindness probably made a great impact on his life. Even the littlest of things make an impact believe me!! As far as how people get there lots of times it's mental health, chemical dependency and sometimes both, but really I think most of us are just a few crisis away from being homeless, which I feel is very humbling.

    Delsin looked beautiful at the show and you did a great job showing him!! If I would have been judging you would have won not only because is he a wonderful representation of the breed, but he is a real working dog!!

    1. Thank you Erika. Next time I want you as my judge :)

      It is true there are many reasons for homelessness - and mental health and chemical dependancy being some significant factors. Despite their circumstances, I see them as humans - beings that deserve what all beings deserve: shelter, food and a chance to have a fullfilling life.
      And it is also true, that there are a great many people that are just a paycheck or a "event" away from homelessness. I know that personally as well. And while it is difficult to fimd a "way back" when things go so far that one is homeless, it can be done...