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Dog Days of Summer

One of our most popular events is our annual dog show! I schedule it in August because it is the "Dog Days of Summer." I tried to find pictures of the event to show you, but I can't find them. I promise to take them and post them after this year's program. (Funny how having this blog makes me more responsible for my pictures these days.) I did however, find the newspaper article that was written about it. Feel free to check out this link for the Sun Sentinel article.

This activity is simple and brings so much fun to everyone! First, I promote the day and time of the show and ask anyone interested in participating to sign up. Once they've signed up, I send them a bio sheet for their dog. It asks the pet's name, age, breed, length of time owned, how long they've been residents at the community, their favorite trick, a cute story about them, and anything else that I can think of.  The more you know, the better it is while you are on stage with them!

After I review the forms, I get the pet owners to come to the auditorium (without their pet) and go over the show. This rehearsals is very important to the success of the show. I show the resident where to take their dog before the show starts (usually out of the audiences view is best) so that the animals are ready to go and stay calm. You will probably learn from the owners which dog gets along with which, and will need to separate those that don't. I give the residents a chance to walk on the stage and learn how to exit as well.

Once the show starts, most residents simply walk their dog onto the stage and stand there while I share their bio information with the audience. It is very important that you have fun with this part of the show, or it will drag. If the dog does something cute, make a big deal out of it and highlight it to the audience. Some residents have trained their dogs to do tricks. That is great too!! Make sure the participants understand that this is not a contest, it is a show for fun.

In the past, I have invited the audience to be the judge, along with me, to determine the title each dog will earn. This is done by announcing the title and asking the audience to shout out who they thinks deserves the prize. If there is more than one name, I tell the audience the names, and go to each of the dogs to clarify who is in the running for the prize. Then we go to a round of applause to determine the winner. Titles can be as smallest, biggest, best barker, best tail wagger, the Dumbo award (best ears), best dressed, owner/dog look-a-like, and more. Each dog should win a prize. Don't forget to add something in the gift bag for the owners, like a note pad with dogs on it, maybe. Make sure that you have more titles to win then you have dogs! There are times when you will need it, trust me. 

I have a volunteer help me note who has won which title, because it goes so fast that I don't always have time to write it down. Prizes are all the same and usually includes a treat for the owner and for the dog. I post a list of the winners in the Lobby so that everyone can see the results after the show.

At the end of the show, I ask each resident to take his/her dog to a designated area in the room. (This should be discussed in the rehearsal.) Once the pets and the owners are stationed, I invite the audience to meet and greet our four-legged residents. This is a highlight for the audience because they get to pet the dogs and learn more about their friend's dog that they may have only heard about at the dinner table.
This year I'm working on giving the residents in the audience more information so that they can judge more accurately. They want to see what the categories are for the prizes so that they can put the right pooch on the right pedestal! I'm not sure how this will work since I do create more titles then there are dogs... so we will see.  I've also thought about bringing in local area judges who work with pets. Maybe this can even be a fund raiser for the shelter this time. We will see. I'm still working on it!

Have you had a dog show in your community? If so, please comment below! We'd all love to hear from you.

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