Since the Golden Gate Kennel Club format is now separate benched shows on Saturday and Sunday and well downsized from the 2-day single show, a one day visit works better than the old times of two exhausting days of a dog show that was part of an annual mass social event. Like a community or family where times have changed, downsizing is survival that becomes the new normal — it’s still a unique event. As always, the serious gate  comes early on Saturday as we did on the sunny Saturday of January 30, 2016. The usual band of informational protesters were on hand at the gate.


Heading right in to assess this year’s American Kennel Club merchandise table, front and center.

With catalogue, still $7 in hand, a quick step up for a look at the main arena.  Shock! As if eliminating the center aisle hangout for watching dogs, meeting and greeting hadn’t been  enough, blue carpet now covered all the rings “upstairs,” while the rest of the rings are now “downstairs” in the lower livestock buildings on the old blacktop.

The plan is to first check the vendors in the main concourse outside the arena and in the South and North Halls and walk all the bench rows in these halls, check the judging schedule for an interesting “break” in the stands of the arena and then walk all the lower buildings to see more vendors, benching and rings — usually missing whatever “special attractions” are scheduled as entertainment for the public spectators.  First, the candy vendor is setting up the gorgeous fudges, a different coffee vendor and GGKC’s information table and office door.  There are fewer vendors in the main concourse, but it’s a good place for public foot traffic for those like jeweler Fanny Fish and bag seller Tri Tran (Trimitive from Orange County) or Husse Foods, a Swedish dog and cat food and product manufacturer with an international franchise model.

Once in the benching halls, the vendors are clustered along the entry walls and a center aisle including some geared to public shows rather than dog shows, although “our” vendors have the best spots where we expect to find them such as Paw Print Genetics and Let’s Go Design with its jackets designed for dog walkers.                  

And one of our favorites, the Osher’s GoneDoggin from Grass Valley, California.


But, we’re here to see the dogs and who is with them:

And the information and breed club rescue tables:

On down to the lower buildings for more vendors and the “nonprofits” that are few now and vary from year to year.

And more dogs, the American Chesapeake Club and its annual Supported Entries; a fraction of past entries but still the largest west coast conformation entry for Chessies.


Doubling back through the South Hall, remembering when this corner was elbow-to-elbow people.


A few more vendors, South Hall grooming area with plenty of space, club displays, cotton candy and lemonade and last look at the AKC booth on the way out.

One of our founding board members won Best Owner Handler in her breed this day, so we’re still here, sort of. Little girls with parents in tow, still get a gleam in their eyes and dream in their hearts. Connections are made that change lives. The show went on even if it’s not as our parents or we knew it. Three o’clock, one last look at the parking lot… ’til next year.







































































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