I went to the National Dog Show in Reading PA today as dogs are one of my passions along with horticulture. I went last year when the show was in Philadelphia... it was really an eye opener. Most of the show dogs remind me of orchids-a plant which is challenging to grow but covetted for its beautiful flowers. Purebreed dogs are beautiful and I enjoy looking at the show dogs. However, I have realized that the dogs that are really near and dear to my heart and are the dogs that would be referred to as a weed (or if you were feeling gracious - a wildflower)....the rescued...the misbehaved...or the mutt!
I remember as a kid my mother always had German Shepherds in the house as pets. There are pictures in the family album of several of the shepherds. I was amazed at what has happened to the breed that I saw today in the show ring. The poor thing looked as if it was in a constant state of sit. The rear haunches are at such a slant now. It is most painful!
As horticulture therapy brings joy to many of the participating patients, dogs bring joy to their humans. With my patients, we speak about plants and gardens that they have or had in their past. We also speak of family pets or current pets because it is a safe way to engage common ground. At the show today, it was amazing to see the degree to which some owners spend cash on items glorifying their pet ownership. Heck, some of those things were nice.