Dogs have their day

Dogs have their day Kate Peterson of Fargo, ND, and her miniature wirehaired dachsund, Troubadour, watch the action during Saturday�s Sioux Valley American Kennel Club dog show held at the Clay County Fairgrounds in Vermillion. by David Lias Gracie, a 20-month-old Newfoundland belonging to Beth Rice of Kansas City, MO, appreciated escaping bright sunshine under a large tent and the cooling spray of a water bottle Saturday afternoon.

Without the shade and water, it could have been a miserable day.

Saturday, in fact, turned out to be a very good day for Gracie. She received first place following competition with a group of fellow dogs of the same breed during the annual Sioux Valley American Kennel Club dog show, held July 2-3 at the Clay County Fairgrounds in Vermillion.

Rice was happy to see her dog continue her winning ways.

�We just showed at the Nationals in Monterey, California,� she said. �She has points and plenty of wins. We�re just trying to wrap it all up in a bow and finish the year on a high note.�

Rice was one of scores of exhibitors, who brought an estimated 1,300 dogs to Vermillion to take part in the two day event.

Six show rings were set up on the fairgrounds. Seven varieties of canines were judged in the various rings: working dogs, herding dogs, sporting dogs, non-sporting dogs, terriers, toys and hounds.

Starting at approximately 2:30 p.m. each afternoon, the best of breed winner competed for first place in their group.

The first place winners of each group then competed for best of show.

An obedience competition was also held.

Gracie and all other Newfoundlands were originally bred to assist people who may be on the verge of drowning. Equipped with large, strong bodies and a long, black coat, they don�t give a second thought to plunging into frigid water to swim to someone�s rescue.

�They have a double coat,� Rice said. �They are incredible water rescue dogs.�

The sun-baked grounds of the fairgrounds was about as far removed from an icy ocean as one could get. Gracie took it all in stride, however.

Rice appreciates the fact that Gracie is doing so well in dog shows these days. It�s evident, however, that those winning ways aren�t the basis of the strong bond between this dog and her owner.

�I love Newfoundlands because they are so benevolent,� Rice said. �They are kind, gentle, loving souls. They love their people. They�re just like great big bears.�

Brandi Williams of Louisville, KY, knows how special owning a larger-than-average dog can be. She brought Lily, her 19-month-old Great Dane, to Vermillion.

Lily is exceptionally beautiful, with a brindle coat featuring dark stripes.

�She is my first show dog,� Williams said. �I�ve owned her since she was a pup � since she was eight weeks old.�

Lily and her owner are nearly constant companions.

�She goes pretty much everywhere with me,� Williams said. �These dogs get used to being everywhere. She sleeps on the bed and she takes up most of it.�

It didn�t take long for Lily to demonstrate one of several unique personality traits of Great Danes. After about five minutes of standing by a perfect stranger, she began leaning on him � with nearly all of her 125 pounds.

�They�re leaners,� Williams said with a smile. �They like to let you know that they�re nearby.�

Lily isn�t quite full grown, but stands � meekly � 33 inches at the shoulder. That�s part of the breed�s personality. They seem to be unaware that they dwarf everything around them.

Lily and the other Great Danes in competition only needed to take a few steps to lope across the show ring, compared to the toy dogs who had to run at a full gallop to cover the same ground.

�Great Danes are interesting,� Williams said, �because they are so gentle. They also have such a sense of humor, and they know it, too. You can just tell it by the way they look at you sometimes. And they�re lazy and laid back. She likes to lay around on the couch.�

Kate Peterson of Fargo, ND brought her 2-year-old dog, Troubadour, to Vermillion for the weekend show. The miniature wirehaired dachshund didn�t win earlier Saturday in competition with other dogs of his breed.

So he and Peterson took advantage of their free time Saturday afternoon to watch the action from a lawn chair set up near a show ring.

Until Troubadour decided to take advantage of the cooler grass in the shade of the chair, where the 10-pound dog bedded down and fell asleep.

�He�s a great dog,� Peterson said. �I own a couple of dachshunds and I also have three Portuguese water dogs.�

She loves bringing her dogs to shows like the one held in Vermillion, for a chance to see some of the best canines in the region and also to get acquainted with a unique breed of people.

�You really do meet the nicest people at these shows,� she said. �There are a lot of people who invest a lot of money in this little hobby.�

Both dogs and owners were groomed to look their best at showtime. Women donned skirts and blazers, men wore tailored suits.

�There are a lot of fun people,� Peterson said, �and some that are, well, interesting. You can point them out, and then say you�re the normal one.�

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