Chehalis resident judges at Westminster Kennel Club dog show
By Emily Fitzgerald / [email protected]
Lewis County residents watching the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show this year will see a familiar face in Patty Keenan, a Chehalis resident who will judge the group of terriers on the 145th Annual Show, which will air live on FOX from 8 a.m. June 13.
Due to the pandemic, the three-day competition has been moved from its traditional February dates to Madison Square Garden and will instead be held outdoors at the Lyndhurst Estate in Tarrytown, New York.
“It’s a very unique experience and will be very different,” Keenan told The Chronicle. “I grew up in the North East, so I went to a lot of dog shows (at Lyndhurst) as a kid, so being back there is very special.”
Keenan’s mother and grandmother were both notable breeders and dog handlers, and Keenan herself entered the field when she was 3 years old.
“I grew up going to dog shows and continued to show and breed dogs,” Keenan said. “I got to see a lot of people thanks to our sport. It’s really cool.”
Keenan has officially retired from her professional dog handler career and is currently working as a hospital administrator at Timberland Veterinary Hospital, but she continues to breed and exhibit Brussels Griffons.
She became a certified judge about 12 years ago and has since judged at dog shows around the world.
“Judging from this, I take this very seriously because people spend a lot of time, money and effort getting their dogs ready for shows and making sure they are healthy and well behaved and all these things. to show under you is an honor, essentially, that they think highly of you, ”Keenan said.
Keenan will be judging conformation shows for 12 terrier breeds. Although she is familiar with the details of each dog’s breed standard, a one to two page document describing the “perfect specimen” of each breed, Keenan takes the time to study and carefully review these fair breed standards. before each exhibition.
“I’ve done it a hundred times at this point, but you want to make sure you don’t forget anything,” Keenan said.
The winning dogs that Keenan chooses for each breed will take part in the Best in Breed Show at the end of the weekend.
A full calendar of events for June 11-13 is available online at westminsterkennelclub.org.
The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show was established in 1877 and is the second longest running and continuously staged sporting event in the United States, according to the Westminster Kennel Club.
Each year, approximately 3,000 dogs from the United States and around the world come to New York City for the weekend of competition.
The show is divided into two competitive arenas: the Conformation Competition for purebred dogs and the Masters of Agility and Obedience Championships, where dogs from all walks of life are welcome.
While Keenan acknowledged that the sport can seem intimidating to newcomers, she encouraged anyone interested to start contacting the local kennel club, the Timberland Valley Dog Fanciers Association, to find out more about the sport or arrange a meetup. with some of the dogs and their owners.
“There is so much you can do with your dog … the conformation part, they have to be purebred, but for a lot of other events they don’t, and it’s just a great way. bond with your dog and have fun, ”she says. “There is a place for everyone. Everyone started somewhere. … I am a rare opportunity for someone who was born and raised, (but) there are a lot of people who have started and have been very successful.
The Timberland Valley Dog Fanciers Association hosts a show every fall at the Southwest Washington Fairgrounds and hosts a variety of other events throughout the year.
Visit timberlandvalleydogfanciers.com for more information.