Meet The Breeds 2017 :: New York City :: by Jackie Caruso

2017 was another successful Meet the Breeds event as representatives of the Collie Club of America attended the annual showcase, providing a strong presence for the breed. Several years ago the American Kennel Club decided to hold Meet the Breeds along with the Masters Agility Championship on the weekend leading up to the Westminster Kennel Club show. This year was the largest event yet, attracting robust crowds of dog enthusiasts.

Aerial view of the 2017 Meet The Breeds event in New York City.

Unless you have ever been to this event it is really difficult to describe the enormous crowds. Collies are always a main attraction at Meet the Breeds and this year we had people at least six deep to get a chance to pet or hug one of the collies, to ask us questions or to tell us of a beloved collie from their childhood.

Judy Virchow and therapy collie, "Jodi," working the event table.
"Ryder," owned by Kathleen Pirro, instructs these children on the difference between rough and smooth collies.
"Boo" enjoys a hug.
"Ryder" and his new friend strike a pose.

Many thanks to CCA members Judy Virchow and her collie, "Jodi," Kathleen Pirro and "Ryder," Sharon Mullaney and "Beulah," Polly Baird and "Tommy," and our own "Boo." Their participation speaks to the importance of maintaining public awareness of the breed. Polly Baird is a cast member of Phantom of the Opera and gave up two performances to participate with her therapy dog, Tommy, because she felt it was important for the public to know that collies are so versatile and can provide such a valuable service. All of the members who represented the collie are fine examples of "collie people" giving back to the breed.

Polly Baird and "Tommy" (front) and Jackie Caruso and "Boo" (back) were four of the volunteers at the 2017 Meet the Breeds event in New York City.

These dogs are subject to throngs of people petting, hugging and surrounding them, children running up to them and surprising them and cameras flashing in their faces. I can’t tell you how many “selfies” were taken with these dogs. It is so important that the dogs that represent the breed have rock steady temperaments. Three were conformation champions and working therapy dogs. They were great ambassadors for the breed, exhibiting true collie temperament. This group of dogs made us proud.

Children love Collies and "Jodi" is happy to be the object of that affection.

This is a big undertaking from all the preparation and organizing, the trip into New York City (this year it was right after a big snowstorm), the loading and unloading, lugging equipment and setting up of the display, not to mention answering questions non-stop from the thousands of people who come to see the collies.

The day was looking up for "Beulah," owned by Sharon Mullaney.

This is a public event sponsored by AKC. We have a very knowledgeable group that does a great job of providing information. The public bombards us with questions and we have to have the right answers. It is important that we not only present a professional appearance, but also that we can answer the questions and point out the virtues of this wonderful breed.

"Jodi" with another new friend -- just chillin'.

It is an exhausting, but very gratifying day, especially when you see the faces of the young and old alike light up when they see the collies!

I want to personally thank them all for representing the Collie so well.

"Ryder" holds court in front of an adoring crowd.


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