My mom loves both dogs and dog art -– there’s little better than that combination for us. So, she took me to the Barkfest annual charity brunch at Bonhams Auction House on posh Madison Avenue in Manhattan Feb. 12. It was fun for a Georgetown pup to sniff out the buffet brunch which included dog treats on the tables with the bagels and mini muffins. The event benefited a worthwhile cause: the American Kennel Club’s Humane Fund, a charity which promotes responsible pet ownership.
While the 130 humans, many of them collectors or breeders, checked out the prized dog art collection, I met a canine celebrity, London, the reigning AKC/Eukanuba national champion, whose show name is Grand Champion Jaset’s Satisfaction, as in the Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” He’s a black standard poodle and competed at this year’s dog show at Madison Square Garden. He is much larger than I am and among the 50 dogs at the brunch. He strutted around me and was primping and posing on the eve of his Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show appearance. We also met Clare, a four-month old Havanese, closer to my size, with owner Joan Ambrose, who had her father, P.J., the number one of the breed.
Richard Vulliet, a veterinarian and professor at University of California at Davis, attended the brunch without Magnum, his Canaan, the reigning national champion. “He’s in ‘doggie jail’ because he’s showing tomorrow,” Vulliet explained. He described his dog as “a coyote crossed with a Holstein cow.” The Israeli government uses the breed as bomb sniffers. Vulliet shared with us the exciting potential of his extensive research in California using stem cell technology to extend dogs’ lives. That deserves a big “woof.”
Bonhams annual “Dogs in Show & Field: The Fine Art Sale” of dog-related objects and art coincides with Westminster week. “The AKC has the largest and best collection of dog art in the world,” said Alan Fausel, director of fine art at Bonhams NY.
And, yes, you might have heard about this year’s winner of the 136th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show: Malachy, the Pekingese, is more my size but with a lot more fur.