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Morten Johansson and his friend Vibeke (Ob-La-Di Beagles) from Denmark made a quick weekend visit to see us.
I first got to know Morten about 20 years ago when he was a small skinny teenager.  He was always smiling and helping everyone. Nothing has changed: he is still smiling a lot and polite as ever.  The only thing that has changed is that he has become a "serious" Beagle fancier and breeder. We had a wonderful weekend, but, as usual with us stiff and reserved Finns, it takes a while before we get going and of course we run out of time and the visit was over before we knew it.



Seppo and I visited the Westminster Kennel Club Show in New York and  the Elm City Kennel Club Show in Connecticut in February. We had a lovely trip although we arrived in the middle of "the snow chaos". We saw many old friends and met also some new ones! I have never been to Crufts in England or Westminster in the U.S. Having experienced the second day of Westminster, I must say there is no other dog show like it! It was so easy to follow judging in several rings simultaneously, and I think I was able to see much more judging than I ever see over here. There were many very nice dogs in several breeds, while some others were quite disappointing. There was plenty of room to walk around and to talk to people as the show had not been taken over by trade stands as is the case in many big shows.
We are so used to a morning rush and long lines when the exhibitors enter the show, it was surprising to see how smoothly more than a thousand dogs went into the Garden in downtown New York on a weekday morning... Apart for banners and posters outside the Madison Square Garden, you would have never known that the most prestigious dog show in the U.S. was taking place inside. This made me wonder whether our shows have actually grown too big. 
Inside, everthing was so stylish and elegant with the Westminster Kennel Club colors of gold and purple repeated in the interior, in flower arrangements, show catalogue covers and the velvet ropes between the rings. In the seating area, waiters went around selling ice cream, pop corn, sodas and even champagne - all contributing to an enjoyable experience.
And the group finals in the evening with the same purple and gold colors, name signs for each breed, handlers and judges dressed in their festive best and the dogs performing out of their hearts' content while you could sit and watch each individual dog gaited up and down on the big screens. Isn't this what dog shows should be all about, including style and glamor?




















































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