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Originally published March 7, 2009 at 7:04 PM | Page modified March 8, 2009 at 10:49 AM

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Not every dog has a day like one at the Seattle dog show

Thousands of pampered dogs and their humans packed in the Seattle Kennel Club Dog Show Saturday at the Qwest Field Event Center.

Seattle Times staff reporter

What's the difference between a metrosexual and a dog at Saturday's Seattle Kennel Club Dog Show?

The dog is better-groomed and wearing more product.

About 1,900 of the four-legged obsessions were entered in the show at the Qwest Field Event Center, where an estimated 10,000 spectators came to watch them get paraded, run through obstacle courses and even danced with.

In the big preparation area, Fiona stood waiting with her bangs up in barrettes. Fussing with her bearded collie in the minutes before agility and herding competitions, Jackye Dunn of Tacoma said it took three hours to groom Fiona -- whose long hair made her look as if she possessed yeti DNA.

Asked how long it took to do her own hair, Dunn said about three minutes.

Nearby, Vicki Graves of Puyallup was putting the finishing touches on her enormous, drooling, bibbed St. Bernard, Bandit -- whose head was the size of a medicine ball. "Thank you!" Graves said, explaining that a huge head is a desirable trait in the breed.

If some of the rituals of the event -- which concludes today -- can appear absurd to outsiders or fans of Christopher Guest's "Best in Show" movie, Graves explained, "I'm addicted to dog shows. They're not any different than golf shows or sailing shows. I'm addicted to the competition."

A number of the dogs sported names as exotic as their appearances. Hailing from Bothell, In Style Goes to Paris -- "Nico" for short -- required four hours of primping Friday and three on Saturday for 2 ½ minutes of show, according to groomer Candace Hume and assistant groomer Tim Ghezzi.

But it paid off for In Style Goes to Paris/aka Nico, who won best of the boys in the standard poodle category.

Running around the ramps, posts, hurdles, tubes and teeterboard of the agility course, many owners looked much more spent than their sometimes-recalcitrant dogs.

"I am totally winded," admitted Carole Davis, of Mount Vernon, after completing the course with her Shetland sheepdog, Wingold Moment in Time -- who also answered to the less-unwieldy "Tyke."

But the sights and sounds (and smells) weren't just amid the competitions. Booths sold all manner of dog-related clothing, food and specialized paraphernalia. The Pooper Trooper booth's motto boasted, "We take the 'ICK' out of dog ownership." Perhaps not entirely: Passers-by took business cards from a cardholder in the shape of a very realistic-looking dropping.

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Among artists specializing in portraits of dogs, Jennifer Bloom said she makes a point of depicting pets in the environments where they're happiest. As an example, she pointed to her painting of a beagle standing in garbage.

Winding her way through all this, a little girl with her face painted like a cat. Perhaps a preadolescent sign of rebellion.

Mark Rahner: 206-464-8259 or mrahner@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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