Albany’s annual dog show brought the expected thunder of paws on swings, prancing purebreds and harassed handlers Saturday morning to the Linn County Expo Center where hundreds of dogs and the humans who care for they had to compete for recognition.
Pam McGowan, a Sweet Home-based Vizslas breeder, watched dogs throwing turf during the agility trial at the Linn County Kennel Club event.
Her dogs Titus and Glory were due to compete in obedience competitions later in the day. Most Australian Shepherds and Border Collies run obstacle courses in agility, she said.
“Dogs that need a job,” she said.
Breeding, feeding, grooming, seeking veterinary care, and driving dogs to shows takes up an inordinate amount of time, money, and energy. But they find it rewarding, McGowan said.
“Some people have trucks and ATVs,” she said. “Well, some people prefer to have dogs.”
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Caspian and Freya took first place in their competition where judges evaluate dogs to conform to a rigid set of American Kennel Club standards. The pair of Saluki greyhounds left the ring and stopped in the sun to take pictures with their handlers.
Brittany Parton and Erika Rose, a sister team, drove the dogs from Gig Harbor, Wash., to Albany where they won the winning dog and winning female dog — the official AKC titles — starting their ride at 3:30 a.m.
“It’s a long way to go for a day,” Parton said.
In 2012, the American Kennel Club commissioned a study that showed the Linn County Dog Show brought in $1.5 million in spending over the course of a weekend to restaurants, hotels, and related businesses across the city. mid-valley. Participants come from all over the Pacific Northwest.
Half a dozen at this year’s show said it was difficult to socialize young dogs. Many dogs saw more of the insides of crates and empty arenas than other dogs.
With recommendations for distancing and isolation from health experts, dogs that are normally trained to expect to be around people have missed out on much of their education.
Meg, a tiny black Labrador from Lebanon, had to drop out of a guide dog training program because she didn’t meet obedience and temperament requirements. She is now a pet and competes in agility competitions.
“He’s a COVID pup too,” said handler Penny Steele.
Steele, a retired high school math and science teacher, said raising a guide dog was on his to-do list. She’s at #23. Each dog represents an intensive year-and-a-half process of maneuvering in public spaces and constant rewards for not interacting with people and other dogs.
Some dogs change careers – that’s the polite term at Guide Dogs for the Blind – into other service roles.
“And some are turned into careers in the life of a pet,” Steele said.
She stays in the expensive and time-consuming world of dogs as she sees her apprentice guide dogs placed with their human partners.
“Once you see the match, you can say ‘oh, yeah. I could do it for someone else,” Steele said.
Alex Powers covers business, environment and healthcare for Mid-Valley Media. Contact him at 541-812-6116 or [email protected]