Rosy stands on the table stoically, waiting for her final round of primping. Washed and dried. Trimmed and clipped. Brushed to perfection and then showcased in front of hundreds of total strangers.
She anxiously looks down at her partner — Laurie Courtney, 46, of Dallas — wondering when the lengthy process will end this time. She’s not foreign to this as she goes through the same routine about 50 times per year. Rosy is one of more than 8,500 entries at the OKC Summer Classic Dog Show at the Cox Convention Center. More than 160 breeds will strut their stuff during the four days of competition. It ends today. "I’ve always liked animals, but I like to compete with the animals,” said Courtney, Rosy’s owner and handler. "It’s really rewarding when you show a dog. You work with a dog and you work with yourself, and, really, you work with yourself as much as your dog for shows.” But any handler’s work in getting a dog show-ready starts long before the competition. "It’s kind of like a motorcycle race or a car race,” said Doug Carlson, 37, a professional handler from Moore. "You work on your car all week, and then you come here, and it’s just the little things you work on.”
Fine tuningShow dogs are judged on how they conform to the American Kennel Club standards for their breed. Because the guidelines are so particular – from the shape and structure of the dog’s head to how it moves around the show ring — diet and exercise are an important part of keeping the dog looking its best at all times. Once at the competition, the handlers fine tune their dogs so the judges can see their pooches in the best possible light. "It is a livestock show.