Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A victory for Everydog

Permit us to diverge from the serious discussion of political matters to a bit of whimsy.

Could anything stir the soul more than a beagle hound winning "Best of Show" at the Westminster Kennel Club's annual event?

No frilly, fluffy poodles. No exotic breeds with names you can't pronounce. No fancy dogs with long, flowing hair.

A beagle. The kind of dog you keep in the backyard. The kind of dog you go hunting with. Snoopy. A dog that's popular with young and old, male and female, city and country.

This wasn't just any beagle, either. Uno was full of personality as he stole the show in Madison Square Garden, baying and barking even after he'd made his tour and the other contestants were strutting their stuff. He'd already set a precedent by becoming the first beagle ever to win the hound category at Westminster, and he even managed to top that accomplishment.

Dog shows aren't popularity contests. Contestants are judged against breed standards and the winners are typically those dogs whose physical characteristics most closely match what the breed should look like. Kinda like a canine swimsuit competition, if you will. But Uno, like most beagles, just oozed personality during his moment in the spotlight.

Many of us have no clue what those breeds are when they show up on our television every year when Westminster comes on. Truth be told, the dogs most of us have are mixed-breeds, rescued as strays or picked out of the "free puppies" box at the neighbor's farm. But we all know beagles. We either have them or we know someone who does. Not everyone has a poodle or a bichon frise. But we can all identify with a beagle hound.

The beagle is Everydog; the canine boy or girl next door. And in a world dominated by fancy, for once, blue collar wins. Hats off to Uno, a dog for the masses!

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