One Show, Many Dogs

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July 18, 2011 by David Gillaspie

OR HOW A GOOD IDEA MAKES BEST FRIENDS

On a recent Saturday, last Saturday, every good dog in the Portland area met for a walk and a show.

The reason? Paws for a Cause, a benefit for the Oregon Health Science University’s Parkinson’s Center of Oregon.

It rained during set-up and part of the walk, then stopped in time for the show.

While many of the dogs looked ready for the Westminster Kennel Club Show, they had more to do than look sharp:

1. Best Eater: The winner chomped down a huge bone shaped biscuit, then helped others. No fighting or biting. A clean win.

Most Impressive: The dog who wouldn’t eat at all, and didn’t mind if others bit their biscuit. An award for good manners was their’s for the taking.

2. Best Dressed: The winner was a small dog in polka dots.

Most Impressive: Two dogs in hula skirts that didn’t rip them off with their claws and teeth; One dog in coat and tie with the sleeves rolled up disco-style.

3. Best Trick: The winner sat and sang with its owners singing woo-woo back-up. Then it did an encore.

Most Impressive: A huge basset hound rolling over and fighting back to its feet. No encore. Once was enough.

4. Owner and Dog Look Alike: The winning couple were in formal black and white.

Most Impressive: A puffy haired husky with a puffy haired owner with the same color hair. But they didn’t enter the contest.

Most Literary: An Ernest Hemingway look-alike with moustache and his dog with the same whiskers.

OHSU people came with their dogs. Here were ground breaking scientists on even turf with everyone else because of their dogs. If there is a great equalizer, it’s people and their dogs together in a group.

Portland’s Brian Grant joined the fun, then left for other commitments. This is a man with Parkinson’s who takes time for others. He would have been a good judge. With his help, the puffy haired husky may have swept the event.

At the end, as all ends go, it was about packing up and heading out. Parkinson’s people and researchers found common ground beyond disease and treatment.

They found it with their dogs.

It was an honor to be included. No judge was bitten, or even growled at, all morning.

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