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Table Talk · February 13, 2020

Welcome to a special Thursday version of Table Talk, the Westminster version!

Another trip to New York is in the books.  As you all know by now, the beautiful Standard Poodle, Siba, shown by Chrystal Clas, won that coveted BIS ribbon. Bourbon, the equally magnificent Whippet, claimed the Reserve Best In Show rosette. This was a star-studded lineup, with all seven finalists looking their best on the green carpet Tuesday night. Congratulations to all of the dogs who won awards at Westminster.

Many of you, just like me I am sure, approached the 144th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show with apprehension due to the new 3-day format and reduced real estate.

I went over to the Pier on Saturday morning to bring you Table Talk Live! coverage expecting to find mayhem.  Wasn’t I surprised when my cab pulled right up (it was quicker to turn on 55th street than I can remember in years past) and there was no line at all!  The men in orange were standing there waiting for the fanciers to arrive!  Throughout the week(end) things went very smoothly from an unloading perspective, and buses were running on schedule!

My opinion of the three-day schedule is a thumbs up!  It is less stress on the handlers, and there is far less congestion.  Dogs were happy, I think humans were less stressed and, after all, is having an extra day in New York the worst thing that can happen to a person?

There was a bit of a frenzy about exhibitor ticket availability, but to my knowledge no individual associated with an entered dog was turned away!  I think that the frenzy could have been avoided by better communication and hopefully this won’t be an issue in the future.  As we all know, no one needs another thing to worry about when preparing for Westminster!

The members of the Westminster Kennel Club, with David Helming at the helm (no pun intended), did a terrific job planning and, as a result, with a modified schedule and modified floor plan, the show came off without a hitch.  Congratulations to all for a job well done!

Many dogs end their show careers at Westminster, and as the show concludes some have the heartache of saying “bye for now” to canine friends they have spent 1, 2, sometimes 3 years of their lives with.  That time is intense, and always brings about memories of a very special bond.  As many of my friends say, saying goodbye is one of the most difficult parts of a handler’s job.  On the other hand, many are beginning another chapter with a new dog who will become part of their heart and their lives, and new memories will be made.

I was chatting with a dear friend who had the honor of being one of the top dogs of 2019 and we were talking about the camaraderie amongst the competitors this past year.  She was heartfelt and thankful for the kindness and respect all of them showed each other throughout the entire year!  THAT, my friends, is what it should be!

Derek Beatty has moved to Houston, Texas to begin the next chapter in his life.  The fancy will miss you, Derek.  Make sure you come visit us in July when the shows are in your new hometown.  Best of luck to you, my friend!

Huge congratulations to Michael Shepherd and Dale Sullens on your engagement in New York!  What better way to propose than on a carriage ride through Central Park.

Benjie Marcus will be going off on his own to professionally handle dogs beginning this month.  Good luck to you, Benjie.  I’m sure I will see you out West.

Ken and Virginia Murray are celebrating their wedding anniversary this week.  Happy anniversary to the lovebirds.  May you share many more, happy healthy years together.

Celebrating birthdays this week are:  Heidi Hartman, Jamie Clute, Michelle Michael, Jackie Beaudoin, Beth Blankenship and Susan Sprung.  Have a wonderful day, and best wishes for many more to you all.

Please remember the Westminster Kennel Club results are up on our website at

Don’t forget to stop and smell the roses on your journey, and be sure to enjoy the moment!!  Until next time…

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  • July 2020