ASTC Booth at 2018 Westminster/AKC Meet and Compete and Metro NY Specialties a Rousing Success

by Jo Ann White

As usual, New York City “went to the dogs” during the week of the Westminster Kennel Club Show. Purebred dogs and their fans were everywhere. On Saturday, February 10, more than 14,000 people thronged the annual AKC Meet the Breeds booths. This was the fourth year that the event was combined with Westminster’s Masters Agility Championship event, giving spectators a chance to watch the exciting agility competition as well as learn about more than 200 breeds of dogs and cats from the experts.

At times, it seemed like most of the thousands of spectators visited the Shih Tzu booth. They wanted to show pictures of their Shih Tzu, pet and photograph the dogs at the booth, receive grooming demonstrations, and ask questions about whether this was the right breed for them and how to find a responsible breeder who could mentor them for the life of the furry creature they wanted to add to their household. The Shih Tzu demonstration dogs performed admirably…as one would expect from the sociable Shih Tzu! The booth was well decorated to provide information about the history and characteristics of the breed.

A huge thank you to ASTC member Kathy Kwait and her husband Steve and their friends Pete and Margaret Varetoni, who came in from New Jersey with their dogs to man the booth all day. Despite the long hours and crowds, they and their dogs were all great ambassadors for our breed—knowledgeable and personable long-time fans. Also thank you to ASTC members Kristi Mann and Mark and Jackie Stempel, who helped with the setup. Once again, Meet the Breeds was a wonderful way to educate the dog-loving public about our wonderful breed.

Elsewhere in the city that weekend, the two Metropolitan Shih Tzu Fanciers specialties drew large entries. Hardworking cluster chair John Ioia informs us that because of the support the shows received this year, there will once again be two Shih Tzu specialties at the Hotel Pennsylvania the weekend before Westminster in 2018, following the Progressive Dog Club toy specialty on Friday. Great news for the fancy!