LIFESTYLE

Tennis, or terriers? US Open’s home hosts famed dog show

May 6, 2023, 10:32 AM

A handler and his dog compete in the agility preliminaries inside Arthur Ashe stadium during the 14...

A handler and his dog compete in the agility preliminaries inside Arthur Ashe stadium during the 147th Westminster Kennel Club Dog show, Saturday, May 6, 2023, at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

NEW YORK (AP) — They’re at the top of their sport. They’re primed to run down tennis balls. So perhaps it’s perfectly natural that about 3,000 top-flight canines are converging on the grounds of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, where the Westminster Kennel Club dog show began Saturday.

It’s a new venue for the nearly 150-year-old event, now back in New York City after a two-year, pandemic-induced sojourn in the suburbs.

As the show began Saturday with an agility competition and other events, there were a few double-takes, if not double-faults.

Barks, not the pock of tennis balls, were heard across the sunny, 40-acre (16-hectare) grounds of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Westminster’s traditional green carpet had been rolled out in Arthur Ashe Stadium for fleet-footed — but four-footed — competitors.

The fan-friendly South Plaza was set up with a 27,000-gallon (102,200-liter) pool for a canine dock=diving demonstration. Turn in any direction, and a dog of some sort was likely to be passing by.

“It’s kind of weird to see them out and about at a place where you don’t usually see dogs,” spectator Haili Menard said as she watched in the dock diving to pick up pointers for her Dalmatian back at home in Bristol, Connecticut. Menard had been to the U.S. Open but never to the Westminster show.

“The sport of it is highlighted” by the environs, she said.

Up on the artificial-turf-covered platform, Fletcher the Malinois took the plunge. Owner Jenine Wech had been quick to sign him up for the first-ever dock-diving demonstration at U.S. dogdom’s most illustrious show.

“We’re never going to get to Westminster any other way,” laughed Wech, of Schellsburg, Pa. When not doing dock diving or other sports, Fletcher works as a bedbug-detection dog.

For most of its history, Westminster was held in Manhattan, where the show long crowned its top dogs at Madison Square Garden. In order to hold the event outdoors during the COVID-19 crisis, organizers moved it to the grounds of an estate in suburban Tarrytown, New York, for the last two years.

The club was eager to return to New York City and emerged as an alternative.

Besides hosting one of tennis’s Grand Slam tournaments, the facility in Queens also has had wrestling and video gaming competitions in recent years. Its management embraced letting dogs have their day.

“From the biggest stars in tennis to the biggest stars in the canine world,” said Chris Studley, the facility’s senior director for event services. “There’s a big buzz in our organization about having the dog show here. It’s iconic.”

___

New York-based Associated Press journalist Jennifer Peltz has covered the Westminster dog show since 2013.

Lifestyle

This photo provided by U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission shows the Bissell Steam Shot Handhel...

Associated Press

Over 3 million steam cleaners are under recall because they can spew hot water and cause burns

NEW YORK (AP) — Some 3.3 million steam cleaners are being recalled across North America due to a burn hazard that has resulted in consumers reporting more than 150 injuries. Select models of Bissell-branded “Steam Shot Handheld Steam Cleaners” can spew hot water or steam while the products are in use or being heated up, […]

3 hours ago

FILE - In this image provided by KFOR-TV, a heavily damaged vehicle is seen off a road in Tishoming...

Associated Press

After crash that killed 6 teens, NTSB chief says people underestimate marijuana’s impact on drivers

DETROIT (AP) — A horrific crash that killed six high school girls in Oklahoma two years ago has the head of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board urging parents to warn teenagers about the risk of driving after using marijuana. Chairwoman Jennifer Homendy made the appeal to parents Thursday as her agency released the final […]

5 hours ago

Residents walk through the Petare neighborhood of Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, July 16, 2024. (AP P...

Associated Press

The uncertainty that plagues life in crisis-ridden Venezuela is also wreaking havoc on relationships

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Victoria Estevez finally met someone who saw past her shyness. They spent two months learning about their likes and dislikes, texting about their families and friends, and walking around their hometowns on Venezuela’s Caribbean coast. On a trip to the capital in December, they held each other for the first time. […]

14 hours ago

Gracie Wiener poses for a photo with some of her tote bags in Washington Square Park in New York, W...

Associated Press

Historic utility AND high fashion. 80-year-old LL Bean staple finds a new audience as a trendy bag

FREEPORT, Maine (AP) — L.L. Bean created it 80 years ago to haul heavy blocks of ice. Now it’s a must-have summer fashion accessory. The simple, sturdy canvas bag called the Boat and Tote is having an extended moment 80 years after its introduction, thanks to a social media trend in which they’re monogrammed with […]

16 hours ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is surrounded by U.S. Secret Servic...

Associated Press

Trump’s escape from disaster by mere inches reveals a tiny margin with seismic impact

NEW YORK (AP) — Jarring, chaotic and sudden, the bullet whizzed toward the stage where former President Donald Trump stood behind a podium speaking. In its wake: the potential for a horrifying and tragic chapter in American history. But the Republican presidential candidate had a narrow escape — mere inches, possibly less — in Saturday’s […]

3 days ago

FILE - An Amazon Prime cardboard shipping box label is seen on March 17, 2023, in East Derry, N.H. ...

Associated Press

Amazon Prime Day is a big event for scammers, experts warn

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon Prime Day is here, and experts are reminding consumers to be wary of scams. Deceptions such as phony emails from people impersonating online retailers like Amazon are nothing new. But phishing attempts increase amid the heavy spending seen during significant sales events, whether it’s Black Friday or Prime Day, according […]

3 days ago

Tennis, or terriers? US Open’s home hosts famed dog show