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FiTV - Fiona Gardiner
2012-11-30 at 13:33

Dog-day Thanksgiving

Another American Thanksgiving has come and gone. Families all over the U.S. gathered together last Thursday to show their appreciation for all they had.

They spent the morning watching Spider-man float down 34th Street before scarfing down turkey while football games played in the background. After hovering in that zone between consciousness and turkey coma for a few hours, they suddenly snapped to attention just before midnight.  Now, the true holiday event was about to begin. 

They call it Black Friday, a day-long sales event, backed up to Thursday night at some stores – to celebrate the insanity that is Midnight Madness – and extended to Sunday at others.

People are trampled amid the rush for a discounted Tassimo. Last year, they were pepper-sprayed for an Xbox 360. This year, just hours after giving thanks for family and friends, shoppers were rioting over smartphones at a Georgia Wal-Mart. 

So while Americans reveled in their post-Thanksgiving excess-for-less frenzy, I was quite happy to remain at home with something a little less territorial and feral.

The National Dog Show celebrated its 10th year with another fabulous televised showing. The two-day event is cut down and then edited for Thanksgiving Day and a couple more re-airings during the rest of the holiday weekend.

I’m not sure why I’m drawn to the show.  Every year, odd new breeds are introduced – like the Xoloitzcuintli or Mexican hairless – for all to ooh and ahh over. I usually just sit and wonder, “What the hell?”

The poor animals are poked and prodded as some strange man or woman in formal wear and sensible shoes checks their teeth before feeling them up like they’re already on a third date. It’s a wonder somebody doesn’t lose a finger along the way.

Their names are embarrassing combinations of owner ego and desperation for originality. Would you name man’s best friend Buff Cap Creslane Arctic Mist or Winfall Brookwood Styled Dream? They sound like one of those poorly translated Mandarin Chinese to English instruction ­ma­nu­als.

This year’s Best in Show winner was a wire fox terrier called Afterall Painting the Sky. Not much better.  But the pride in this little dog and his handler were evident.  And while the audience cheered enthusiastically, nobody pulled out the pepper-spray.

The real reason I enjoy the National Dog Show, for all its pomp and preciousness, is that it’s a celebration of grace and beauty that makes me love my own adopted mixed-breed all the more. These dogs are well-treated, unlike so many I’ve come across over the years in shelters.  And I’d rather spend my weekend enjoying them than the animals in the retail outlets.

But if I feel I’ve missed out, I can always check out the bad behaviour online with the latest YouTube installment from the various Black Friday sales. 

And prove once again, that the American Thanksgiving has certainly gone to the dogs.


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