In the spa area, we chat with two young women from Canada who wash a pair of show dogs in anticipation of the upcoming events. They work for a handler, and together, they’re responsible for shepherding ten showdogs through New York for an entire week, grooming them, posing them, and running them around town.
“People can be very superstitious,” says Katie McGinn, who washes and dries her tiny charge with practiced care. She explains that when they show, the dogs’ handlers wear elastic armbands with a piece of paper tucked inside, bearing the dog’s number and other information. If you win, it’s considered lucky to hold onto these armbands afterwards, and collections of armbands are often tucked into travel grooming kits, or hung from rearview mirrors.
Three people mention cheeseburgers as the ultimate gift for a dog who has done well--or who might need encouragement to do well in the near future.
“Special treats are very common,” The Dog Concierge explains. “A slice of pizza, a chicken sandwich, or a cheeseburger -- no onions. A handler once wanted seven cheeseburgers for his dog, and the dog ate all of them, right in front of me. It was astonishing. Apparently it’s good for their coats.”
Normally, however, these dogs are on healthy, austere diets. “Yes, they’re not allowed many extra treats like that, not frequently -- they have to be in perfect shape,” The Dog Concierge says. “It’s like Miss America meets the Puppy Bowl.”