Wednesday, February 16, 2011

An Incredible Win at Westminster Dog Show: Hickory, the Scottish Deerhound - Best in Show!

And I missed it. Darn! Meant to watch online and totally forgot. For the first time in history, a Scottish Deerhound has won Best in Show at the prestigious Westminster Dog Show. Hickory is just a gorgeous, gorgeous dog. I'll see if I can find the story today to watch. USA Network has a very confusing set of links, but I will persevere. I want to see that video!!
Found it at last!

Read more about the win at this link: The Scottish Deerhound . (You can watch the video of Best In Show judging here as well.) The Scottish Deerhound is an amazing dog and maybe not as well known in this country as other breeds. It is a beautiful, statuesque dog steeped in history. I am thrilled that finally, not only a Deerhound won, but that a BIG dog finally got Top Ribbon. More info on the Scottish Deerhound breed here.

I have a special fondness for Deerhounds for another reason too:

Before Rocky came into my life, I lived with another dog: Beemer. She was half Scottish Deerhound and half Shepherd and I loved her dearly till the day she passed away at the age of 14 a few years ago. She was the most charming mix of shyness, worry and playfulness and her face always registered a question which I tried, her whole life, to answer. I got Beemer from a rescue situation (she had been mistreated) and it took me more than a year to earn her complete trust. Even then, I had to be careful with sudden hand movements because she sometimes mistook it for aggression from me and would cower. Very sad. (Eventually though, she did get over this as well, thank goodness.) I had a two-fold task: To try and make her forget her mistreatment at the hands of some wretched humans and to try and make her as happy as I possibly could. I think I succeeded. She loved me and I, her, and not a day goes by that I don't miss her.

I've been fortunate to have lived with many wonderful dogs in my life and each one was always so special to me, each so unique in character and personality. Each one left behind their own brand of indelible memories. I always say: if there is a heaven, my dogs better be there waiting for me on the banks of that river. If the pure heart of a dog can't enter heaven - what chance do I have?

Years ago we used to attend Westminster on one or the other of the two nights, at Madison Square Garden. To see this extravaganza in person is so much fun! But it's also a learning experience AND an opportunity to spend a bit of time shopping as well since there are tons of dealers with wonderful dog paraphernalia to sell. My gorgerous dog print that sits right in front of me on the wall above my computer was bought at Westminster. The print cost 10 bucks and a hundred, later, to have it framed. Worth every penny for the joy I get out of looking at it everyday. For dog lovers like me, Westminster was and continues to be, a kind of Valhalla.

Besides watching the judging from the seats, the most fun is walking through the 'bench' area at Westminster, where the dogs being shown that day are kept. It is always a kind of organized frenzy. AND believe it or not, it doesn't smell bad at all, well, unless you don't appreciate doggy scent. I happen to love 'doggy scent'.

Dogs in the 'bench' area are either resting, being groomed, petted, just lying around sleeping or lined up to go to the bathroom in the designated area or taking in the sights in the same way the humans crowded around them are doing. It's a great mix of dog and man and really, it's just plain wonderful. Oh, and if you're so inclined, you can talk dog business with the various dog people/owners/groomers in attendance keeping a watchful eye on their charges.

One time I remember finding myself in the middle of several enormous Briards milling about me and thinking it was like being caught up in a herd of cows. Just a lovely, lovely experience I will never forget.


  1. I'm glad a new breed of dog won this year! He's very handsome. I enjoyed looking at the slide show of the photos of the finalists that was online on the NY Times had online this morning.

    I was always owned by a cat, and never a dog, but I feel the same way you do, Yvette. I know all my cats will be waiting for me on the other side when I enter eternity.

    So glad Rocky has you in his life!

  2. Pat, the funny thing is, that growing up we always had cats. My mother kept cats until the day she passed away. We had cats while my daughter was growing up. But then, out of the blue, came the day my daugher and I became allergic to them. Go figure. Now we both have dogs. Have had dogs for years.

    Well, this is the very first year that the Scottish Deerhound has won even though there have been Deerhounds in the show since the very first one. A great win. Last year, the Scottish Terrier won. I used to live with one of those, too. Spike. What a personality! :)

  3. I love Deerhounds but I love Irish Wolfhounds even more. It's nice to see big dogs get the respect they deserve.

  4. It's nice that the Scottish Deerhound won at Westminster. I love to watch these dog shows, and I am so annoyed at myself that I forgot to do so.

    I have never known a Deerhound, although some friends have an Irish Wolfhound, the size of a pony although still a puppy.

    Beemer sounds like a lovely dog, and very lucky to have found such a kind home, in order to get over the past trauma and live a good life.

    My step-dog is my neighbor's Dachshund, whom I adore. Never had a dog of my own, only cats, but this dog has me totally smitten. She is very smart, and understands a lot; it's uncanny.

  5. Lucky, lucky, lucky you to have visited the Show. Your description is exactly how I picture it, Yvette! To be among all those people who really LOVE dogs. Your Beemer looks and sounds so wonderful. And it really breaks my heart what people do to dogs. Literally. I can't read about anything sad to do with dogs or children.
    I cheered right out loud when the SD won! Another year one of the commentators described it as a dog that could exercise an hour a day and sleep the other 23. :<) I am exceedingly fond of big dogs. Thank you for this post. I so loved it.

  6. Ryan: Irish Wolfhounds are wonderful too. But in comparion to the Deerhound, they appear to have more muscle mass plus they are slightly broader.

  7. Kathy: Dachsunds are so cute, so endearing. Beemer did, finally, 'get over' her trauma, but you know, I don't think they ever really and truly forget mistreatment.

    I, too, was annoyed I forgot to watch. But I caught up the next day through the link I provided on my blog.

  8. Nan: I was ALWAYS a Big Dog person. Well, except for my Scottish Terrier, Spike and my current little boy: Rocky the Chihuaha. And how I wound up with a chihuahua is kind of puzzling to me too. HAHA!!!

    It's funny how some of the bigger dogs don't need as much excercise as one would think. Beemer had that Deerhound walking gait. She used to prance like a young horse does. So beautiful. People would stare. What a honey of a dog she was AND she was not even a 'pure' Deerhound. I was so lucky to have known her.

    As for the show, well, I wish I could still go. But at least I have my fun memories. It is just such a special occasion. When I lived in NYC, many MANY years ago, you always knew Westminster was in town because it seemed as if the dog population in NY increased two and three-fold on the streets. And of course, in NYC, you still see the most exotic breeds on any given day.

    As you can tell, Nan, I LOVE dogs. Simply could not live without one.

    Dogs rule.

  9. I forgot to say that I love Scotties. There used to be two owned by one person in my neighborhood. They were a bit crabby about new people petting them, but I went to college with one named Barny; he was eccentric, but interesting and fun.

    Yes, my Dachshund step-dog is lots of fun, but so smart. She has outwitted me at times, as well as whining up a storm when I go to her house--until I pick her up and pet her for an hour.

  10. Kathy: When it comes to the term 'eccentric' all I can say is: You don't know 'eccentric' until you've been around or lived with a Scottish Terrier. My boy Spike was such a special package:
    a large dog in a small body. An old man who didn't like cuddling much. Would only me to cuddle him on his conditions. We loved each other - I had him since he was 8 months old. Got him at the pound. Saved his life. I think he was always grateful for that. He didn't like to be picked up. If you picked him up, he'd straight out and give you the 'stiff' arm approach. SO FUNNY. I used to dress him occasionally in a red plaid coat. He used to stop traffic. HA!

  11. Great story about Spike. Yes, Scotties are their own dogs, with their own distinct personalities.
    It's great you rescued him.

    Whenever I see dog and cat rescue segments on tv, I want to adopt all dogs and cats. Today, several puppies--beautiful tan Lab mixes, with sweet personalities, and others were on NBC.

    The variation in breeds and individual dogs makes them so interesting.

  12. I know. Kathy, it's hard to believe that my chihuahua Rocky AND Hickory the Scottish Deerhound both descend from wolves. The world is quirky. :)

    Every time I see segments on dogs and cats, I wish I were rich so I could adopt them all. :)

  13. Yes, agreed, the world is quirky. The Dachshund is also descended from wolves, as you mention chihuahuas and Scottish Deerhounds.

    But that also brings to mind someone whose birthday you mentioned the other day, Charles Darwin, whose discoveries about evolution were earth-shaking.

    I always think that any dogs or cats who were on tv and are adorable will be adopted. And, yes, if I had an estate, funds and people to help, I would do the same--and let them all run everywhere, too.

  14. Kathy: Wouldn't it be fun to have a pack of dogs running loose? Ha! Oh, and I'd probably have a few horses, and donkeys, and a pig or two and maybe some sheep.

    I always HOPE that dogs and cats shown on tv will be adopted.

    The main difference with dogs, when it comes to Darwin's theories is that WE (meaning people) help nature along by breeding for specific attributes. Example: There really is no reason for a dog to be teeny, tiny except to be easy to carry.

  15. Don't get me started on dog-breeding. There are so many abuses of this and some dogs are so harmed by the in-breeding that they are severely disabled--in the extreme cases. I have read about this and it's very disturbing. Dogs are bred for coat color, eye color, size, as you say.

    Some breeders breed dogs that are closely related to each other for certain traits, and then the offspring can have horrible effects from the inbreeding. But it's done to make money from selling the offspring, but it does backfire sometimes.

    Anyway, I have to get off this topic. But dogs are fine the way they are, including mutts.

  16. Yep! Dogs rule! Cats rule! And animals rule in whatever parts of the world they inhabit!

  17. You said it, kiddo! Animals have the right of way. ;)

  18. I want to move on from the dog topic, but when I see Hickory's photo and Beemer's photo, I just have to stop in again.

    Beemer really looks only like a Scottish Deerhound with a sweet face, and a look of contentment, and a statement saying "this is my home and place, and I'm fine."

    But move on I must. I can tell any dog photos or blogs will, of necessity, cause many stops.

  19. Beemer was a precious spirit. She did look an awful lot like half her dna. But, she wasn't as large as the standard Deerhound. She also had a slightly longer coat and a thicker tail. Her saddle and muzzle too, were more the color of a shepherd. But in personality and gait, she was pure Deerhound.

  20. Sweet dog, doesn't look like she had any aggression at all, just wanted to be cared about and enjoy her life. Wish I knew one, but I've got my step-dog Dachshund, a rescued mixed breed who won't let anyone pet him (upstairs), and two beautiful Labrador Retriever 6-month old puppies in the building. And then the neighborhood dogs, whom I pet if they are friendly.
    Spring will see more of them outside.


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