We have all watched it on TV. What a rush it must be, we thought, and look at the size of the ring!

As you read this, we have the invitation in our hot little hands, which is extended to the top five AKC ranked dogs in the USA. We are on our way to New York City to the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show!

How do you get there, you ask? “Muddy”, CH Symphony’s Maestro, has been on National Campaign for the year, 2001. Working doggedly at getting the invitation, he’s accustom to transcontinental air travel and performing like a pro!

Where is there? There is JFK Airport, the Metropolitan Hotel, at 59th and Lexington, and Madison Square Garden at Pennsylvania Plaza, for the Show.

The fight attendant brings us a “dog boarding pass”, initialed by the captain, confirming Muddy is on the flight. Resting beneath us, in a pressurized and temperature controlled compartment, just like the cabin, but no movie, no nuts!

A “limousine”, New York for van, whisks us to the hotel. We check in and pick up the folding wire crate that was previously sent to the hotel, an essential element for the day of the show.

We find a tree poking up through the concrete, a small ring of earth circles the base of the tree, protected by a short fence. This becomes ‘our spot’. Every trip to the spot is like a walk though Hollywood, with Madonna. We are photographed, chatted up, interviewed, we are celebrities! New York folks are the BEST!


We travel from the hotel to Madison Square Garden in a taxi. Here’s the trick- Karen goes out to the street with the folded create, wheels, and Pedigree duffel bag, with the show stuff. I hide in the shadows with the dog in my arms. A cab stops. The driver opens the trunk and puts the stuff in…Karen gets in…holding the door open. I dive in with the dog- the driver spins around and babbles something in a foreign dialect, I slap a $20 bill in his hand, the cab rockets forward- to “The Garden”!

Wow, it’s nuts!

The push in to our “bench” was truly exciting. A crush of folks and dogs all in great spirits, broad smiles, an occasional hand shake or back slap from a complete stranger, telling us how much “We really love Basset Hounds” and “Good Luck”!

It’s like a supermarket; the signs hang from the ceiling defining the isle. We park in the Basset Isle and realize we are in a dog petting zoo for the next six hours. “Can I pet him? Can I take his picture? What’s his name? Where are you from? How did you get here? Why is he so sad?”

Entering The Garden is awesome! Realizing all that have come before you, the 126th year of The Westminster Kennel Club Show, not to mention the human athletes and rock stars that have performed there. And here you are… who would have thought? It’s humbling and at the same time makes you realize, dreams can come true, with hard work and commitment.

There is no ring fence, just a velvet rope; a solid wall of spectators makes up the border. The base of the judging ramp is chrome, the breed ring is tiny; we look forward to the competition…Here we go!