Confessions of a Westminster Stage Parent: Fur, Drool and Tears
Gail Van Bergen
It's Feb. 16 and the morning started at 6 a.m. with the alarm blaring. Not that I needed it. I didn't sleep a wink. In a few hours, our Glen of Imaal terrier, Curry, would be showing at the Westminster Dog Show for the first time.
I live in New York City, just 10 blocks away from Madison Square Garden where the Westminster show is held. I'd converted the living room into Curry's personal beauty parlor. While other Glen owners were at the Garden at 5 a.m., bathing their dogs in rubber tubs, I was drying and grooming Curry comfortably at home as the snow fell outside our window.
Still, there was no time to waste, and I soon was down on the corner of 23rd Street and 10th Avenue, hailing a cab along with Curry's co-owner Bruce Sussman, the Grammy-award winning songwriter of Barry Manilow's "Copacabana." Ten blocks and seven minutes later, we found ourselves at the backstage access door.
Westminster is a benched show, which means every dog is lined up backstage in an area where the public can stroll by and ask questions. I'm sure the New York Rangers don't allow fans that kind of access to the athletes right before they play. In fact, I was told that the only time the Garden ever removes the ice beneath the main floor where the concerts and other sporting events take place is for the dog show, because the dogs sense the ice under the flooring and refuse to walk on it.