I’m embarrassed to call Frankie a Pekingese. Meet Malachy, winner of the 136th Annual Westminster Kennel Club’s Best in Show. And a Pekingese.

The only dogs that looked more ridiculous were a hairless Chinese Crested and a Poodle that paraded around with its’ bouffant hair-do and ballooned ankles. This mop-on-a-leash actually elicited laughs from the audience and caused one announcer to jokingly wonder if he could even make it around the ring. Large dogs ran around the arena. Most had a gait that at least required their handlers to break into a fast walk. Malachy waddled. And his handler walked like he was waiting on Grandma with her walker. Malachy was the only dog continually being fluffed and groomed on camera. But he was also the only dog I saw with such potential for a bad hair day.

After Malachy took the Toy Group, the action culminated with seven dogs, one from each division, competing for Best in Show honors. There was an interesting moment when the final judge was announced. (She’d  actually been sequestered for two days like a jury member on a celebrity murder trial.) After introducing her and her stewards (whatever they are,) a brief scuffle ensued behind them. Since the announcers didn’t miss a beat or even acknowledge it, I had to look it up. PETA protesters had turned up. Now, I happen to agree that it’s senseless that millions of unwanted animals die every year while breeders keep churning out full-breds and designer dogs, but I enjoy a good spectacle as much as the next girl.

And spectacle it was. The final seven did another lap around Madison Square Garden under dimmed lights and swirling spotlights. The grand finale had all the building tension and drama of a tightrope act at the circus. Malachy was up against some real dog’s dogs. We’re talking a German Shepherd, a Doberman and a Dalmatian. Dogs that would’ve laughed this little guy right out of the dog park.

As I watched his little pink tongue panting with the effort of his exertions, I strained to see something of Frankie in him. Maybe the large, round eyes. Thankfully, it was hard to see any resemblance whatsoever. I’m sure you’ll agree. And from now on, whenever anyone asks what kind of dog Frankie is, I’ll tell them he’s a Pekingese mix. Emphasis on the mix.

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