Highly Successful?
                                         
A look at the 2003 World Dog Show
                                              
by Sierra Milton
                          
  
The World Dog Show 2003, held in Dortmund, Germany was advertised as being the "world's largest dog show" with over 20,000 (20,500) dogs of over 300 different breeds being shown during four days of judging in a site advertised as being over 70,000 square meters of hall and "surrounding park".  Excitement and anticipation caused more than a few nervous jitters before our breed judging on Friday.  
Was it the much touted "highly successful" show or is there another side to the press release twists?  A leading British journalist has stated in his column, while he didn't attend the World Dog Show, he is getting good reports about the show.  Having travelled with a large British contingent, even though being American, a different side was unveiled by those who actually walked those halls.

The great advantage of being a freelance writer is the ability to unveil the story as it truly is rather than write along the guidelines dictated by editors with political debts to repay or aspirations.  Unlike many colleagues who are required to overlook the negative and must instead report only the "good" aspects of any show, the freelancer has no such restrictions and may report warts and all which must inevitably be for the better good of the show world if one understands that Wonderland doesn't really exist and yet learns from the errors of others.

Part of the jitters stemmed from confusion over entries and acceptance of payment.  Many of the exhibitors had entered on-line and found that there was no on-line payment acceptance in place, resulting in a letter stating that payment was due at the show.   Easy way to enter and they will allow you to pay at the show -- sounds good, right?  Thus began what was for many exhibitors a nightmare of attempting to pay by either international money orders drawn in Euros (the German currency) or bank drafts in Euros only to find that the money orders and bank drafts were being sent back as "unacceptable".  In a few cases from just our tour, this resulted in extra money being expended to purchase the money orders and bank drafts, plus registered mailing charges, etc. only to have the money orders/bank drafts returned with a letter stating that they would have to pay the entry fee plus an additional fifteen euros for "late payment" at the show.  One exhibitor in our group sent cash through the mail since it seemed the only method that foreign entries could pay in.  Imagine the consternation when these same people arrived at the show on Thursday to pay their entries and found that, while the on-line system did not allow for credit cards and calls to the VDH (German Kennel Club) established that there was no credit card payment acceptance in place, credit cards were indeed being accepted at the show itself.  Unfortunately, while this was a "world show" and the VDH was aware that entries from over 55 countries were going to attend and that many of these people would not have managed to find their way through the loosely-oiled German payment machinery, there were only German speaking personnel manning the payment desks.  After much frustration and a good deal of waiting, one of our group managed to find someone who spoke enough English to understand that it was not the exhibitor's fault that the entry payment was late and therefore should not be subject to a late fee, but instead the VDH who failed to put a "world" acceptance payment plan into effect.  Perhaps they had never heard of PayPal and similar money payment plans that accept payments from around the world with little to no difficulty.   Though in retrospect, it might not have been such a bad plan on the part of the VDH - imagine at least 20% of the entries having to pay the additional fee and one begins to see a money-making project!  (Note:  the author does not have figures on the numbers of entries involved and simply chose the percentage as an illustration.)  One does wonder though how the VDH is collecting from those owners who entered their dogs and then decided not to come and yet still owed entry fees.

Even before entering the doors of the show, inattention to details such as entry payment acceptance began to emerge.  Every major show normally has a coach drop-off point, particularly those shows who know they will attract large numbers of foreign visitors.  Yet another clog in the highly touted German machinery broke and caused major problems when tour buses were not allowed to drop off near the doors and were turned away by parking attendants who either really didn't want to help or didn't care.  The group going to Thursday's shows almost didn't make their rings even with a 6:30 am start from the hotel.  Pulling up in front of the show, the bus was directed to Parking Lot K which was a forty minute walk uphill to the show venue, going through the veterinarian "inspection" lines (more on that later) and then the scuffle to get entries paid properly (and hopefully without being forced to pay the extortion fee of fifteen euros 'late fee'), finding the rings, and settling in - all without no multi-lingual signage or personnel to direct.  Overhead signs were confusing and somewhat misdirecting.   Then it was another forty minute walk back to the tour bus at the end of the day, though it was largely downhill at that point!  The following days the courageous drivers and passengers of our group braved parking illegally in the lane of a busy highway long enough to unload dogs, people and equipment.  Unfortunately, being an English tour bus with the door on the left-hand side meant that we unloaded directly into traffic, although the equipment was unloaded onto the sidewalk!  There was no getting around the forty-minute walk to Parking Lot K in the evenings though unless one took a taxi from the hall to the parking lot.  The cost of approximately six euros was more than worth not having to walk through a faeces-obstacle course in 90-plus degree heat after being at the show for nine or ten hours, particularly for the older, disabled or less fit exhibitors.  Not only did the coach drivers have difficulty; the parking lot attendants exacerbated the long lines to enter for parking by taking parking fees prior to entering the parking lot.  There was no prepaid parking.  Either prepaid parking or paying upon exit would have lessened the long lines to enter.  Add in the confusion of many of the drivers not speaking German and the mix becomes very unpalatable.

It was a pleasure to meet with Udo Kopernik, the public relations head of the VDH on Sunday, the final day of the 2003 World Dog Show.  He graciously gave a ninety minute interview in an effort to tell the VDH reasons and thoughts behind arrangements for the show.  Armed with questions, including many from the group travelled with, as well as empathy and understanding for the magnitude of show headaches associated with an event of this size, the private interview was greatly appreciated.

When it was pointed out to Kopernik that it was difficult to get around the show grounds for non-German speaking persons, he referred to the map for the hall and grounds that was printed in both the entry confirmations sent to exhibitors, hand-outs and in the catalogue.   Perhaps the map was comprehensible for those German-speaking participants; however, since the map was entirely printed in German and no other languages, albeit this was touted as the "World Show" with many international participants, it was understandable that those exhibitors showing "Untergeschoss" (basement) would have great difficulty in finding those rings.   More on these basement rings later.

It is estimated that 377 million people speak English as a first language, second in percentage of the world's population, only to Chinese.  While there are no official figures available on those people who use English as a second language (not the language of their mother countries), it is estimated that over 300 to 750 million persons or over one-third to one-half of the world's population speak English as a second language.   It is impossible to quantify the number of people who may have learned some English at school, though many of the European countries require their students to learn English as part of the curriculum.  English is the most widely taught foreign language in the world as well as being the world's most commonly used language in business; its position in international business as well as in science and technology makes English a global language.  It would have been welcome and hospitable if signs and maps were in German, French, English and Spanish which would have covered most of those people attending the show.  Indeed, as a "World Show" it should be mandatory directives from the FCI whose show it truly is to have such considerations.  As it was, exhibitors and visitors were constantly required to beg to find someone who understood one of those languages enough to give directions.

The lack of multi-lingual signage was discussed with Kopernik who admitted that the VDH failure to consider the other countries' entrants was "an oversight".  He did ask quite agitatedly if he could expect signs in German if he attended shows in the United States or United Kingdom.   While it can be acknowledged that such signs would not normally be present, any hospitable show-giving committee should endeavour to provide minimal translation if notified that a large number of non-English speaking entrants or spectators was coming to the show.  However, the argument that the show is being held in Germany and therefore only the German language is used pales in light of the fact that this is not a "German" show (or a Dutch show or an English or American show or a Brazilian show, as is the case in 2004); this is the "WORLD SHOW" and as such should be held to higher criteria and expectations that the average show.  Indeed, it is the showcase (or should be) of the world's best dogs.  Therefore, expectations of kindness and warmth should be much higher than if one simply attended one of Germany's many VDH dog shows.  It is expected that if one were not at the World Show that one would understand that German is the national language and that one should simply adapt.  It is the concept that this is the World Show - a show that should surpass all others - which makes so many of the "oversights" frustrating. 

Evidently, according to one leading British journalist, a British visitor also spoke to Uwe Fischer, the head of the German Kennel Club (VDH) about the lack of notices in English and was answered with "I have been in Crufts many times and I have never seen a notice in German!" to which it can only be replied that Crufts is not touted as a "World Show" and is most definitely an English dog show.  Hopefully, if England and the US ever adopt FCI standards and become eligible for holding the World Dog Show they will be good hosts, cognizant of the international demands of hosting such an event and not fall into ethnocentric pits.  Indeed, at the Collie Club of America National Speciality held this year, Joan Kelfeli reported the following in the Canine Chronicle "Every morning the opening ceremonies commenced with a charming young lady and her flute. Due to the fact that so many Japanese visitors come to view the collies in America every year at the National, their national anthem was played first each morning followed the 'Oh Canada' and then our national anthem. I have been to many national specialties and have heard the Canadian anthem played, but I have never heard the Japanese one at all."  It's not uncommon to hear the Canadian and American national anthems played prior to the start of dog shows in the AKC regions near Canada since the show-giving clubs recognize that a portion of their exhibitors will be Canadian. 

The lack of (one can see a trend starting to develop here with the "lack of") translation stations like those found at the Amsterdam World Show of 2002 was not an oversight on the part of the VDH.  Kopernik quite forcibly acknowledged that such translation stations had been considered and tossed aside.  For the non-doggy or those who have not attended FCI shows previously, each dog is given a critique by the judge and these critiques are most often in the language of the show-giving club.  Amsterdam's organizers were thoughtful enough to understand that many of those attending would not understand Dutch and therefore set up stations where these very important critiques could be translated so that the exhibitor could ascertain what the judge had thought of the dog.  When asked why a decision not to provide translation areas was made, it was stated that each of the breed clubs had been sent a request to have an English-speaking (and hopefully one would presume a French- and Spanish-speaking) translator in the ring to translate the critiques.  Herr Kopernik said that the breed clubs had not done as requested.  This is interesting since the judge in the German Shorthaired Pointer (Deutsch Kurzhaar) ring IS the President of the German breed club and should certainly have made sure in that event that such translators were available.  However, in many cases, it was difficult to communicate with the ring stewards and the lack of sufficient tabling outside was such that (at least in one case) coffee had been spilled on the packet that contained an individual's critique.  In fact, trying to get the critique after the judging required waiting while the steward literally waded through a box of packets on the ground and holding his sandwich between his teeth and setting his bottle of water on the ground.  Some of the other exhibitors in other rings didn't receive packets and had to go find their own critiques on a table after judging.    Presumably since a good number of the breeds have no German-based breed club, these breeds were simply not considered at all for the possibility of non-German-speaking entrants, though one could assume that if the breed was not popular enough in Germany for a breed club that the numbers of German entrants for that breed might be minimal when compared to other entrants.

Referring to information produced by the Dortmund Westfalenhallen, there are eight "air-conditioned trade-fair halls with . current 48,270 square metres" of show space.  Compared to the VDH press releases stating that there would be 70,000 square metres of show space, it can be assumed that at the difference of 11,730 square metres was added by installing rings in the "basement" parking structure as well as outside on the asphalt.  While the centre may be advertised as "air-conditioned", there was no evidence of such air-conditioning unless it was in the upper areas not populated by the show-entrants.  These upper areas comprised the VDH show committee area, as well as the judges dining area and press room.  Air circulation was a major concern and most definitely those poor hardy souls forced to exhibit outdoors didn't benefit from shade, much less from air-conditioning.  Before anyone exclaims that perhaps this was the largest exhibition hall that Germany has to offer, it should be pointed out that the Messe Dusseldorf group boasts of one of the world's largest convention halls with the Dusseldorf Exhibition Complex in Dusseldorf having seventeen climate-controlled halls with a floor space of over 232,250 square meters.  The Messe-Berlin exhibition complex in Berlin has over 160,000 square meters of indoor floor space in 27 interconnected halls.  The KolnMesse's Cologne Convention Center,  with 14 interconnected exhibition halls and over 286,000 square meters of exhibit space, is one of Germany's leading trade fair locations. 

By comparison, Crufts is held at the NEC in Birmingham, England and has a floor space of 85,385 square meters and is held entirely indoors, as compared to the 48,270 square meters of proper show space at the Dortmund Westfalenhallen which was increased by adding basement parking rings and outdoor tarmac rings to increase the area to 70,000 square meters.   It should be noted that there were 21,031 dogs entered in Crufts this year (compared to the World Show 2003 total of 20,500 entries).  Visitors to Crufts totalled 128,998 people; 125,000 visited the World Dog Show in Dortmund.  This should give at least the British a comparison of people, dogs and space. 

Rings in the main halls were spacious, carpeted and well-lighted.  Those who showed in the "basement" (in a parking structure underneath the halls) didn't fare as well.  The lighting in that particular show area was inadequate by normal standards and certainly unacceptable by the standards that should be equated with a show of this calibre.   The basement area was actually a parking structure that was comprised of half cinderblock walls with the top half exposed.  In the case of Saluki judging, the judge was forced to place the dogs lined up with the handlers' backs to the audience, thereby depriving many of those who travelled sans dog to the World Show in order to observe judging and dogs from actually seeing the dogs in a complete line-up.  If placed logically where the audience would have been able to actually view the dogs, the judge was unable to see because of the glare of the sun through the half-openings.   The rings in these areas were small and concrete, while the rings in the halls were spacious and carpeted. 

The basement rings were actually presidential compared to the rings in the "FG" or "park" area of the show.  "Park" was highly misleading since few parks are completely asphalted.  The outdoor rings were miniscule; the dogs and handlers were forced to show in 32C temperatures without shade.   By noon, many of the dogs had tongues hanging to the ground as they were expected to gait around the stamp-sized rings.  Though in retrospect, perhaps having tiny rings were to the handlers' advantage since four times around the rings that size was certainly less stressing than normal-sized rings.  As a matter of comparison, the outdoor rings were smaller than most Open show rings in the United Kingdom and certainly not within AKC regulations in the United States.  Most distressing though was the lack of shade for those who were required to wait for their classes and the same lack of shade while waiting for individual judging.  When questioned about the conditions of and surrounding the outside rings, Kopernik stated that "it was uncommonly 'warm' for Germany at this time of year."  That didn't coincide with discussions with wait staff at outdoor cafes in Dusseldorf who told us that the weather was quite normal.   In any case, there was absolutely no excuse for not erecting some gazebos or tenting to provide shade for those who had to exhibit outside in the pits of Hades. 

Interestingly, those large spacious rings inside were seldom filled as it seemed most judges preferred to divide classes into smaller numbers.  For example, in the Pug ring, the Open Bitch class of thirty entries was judged in groups of five.  The ring was large enough that it could easily have held all thirty entrants.  As a comparison, eleven dogs in the German Shorthaired Pointer ring meant head-to-tail.  Even more distressing was the Saluki ring where the dogs were judged on the observers' side of the ring, meaning that many people who had travelled thousands of miles were denied the opportunity to see all the dogs lined up for comparison.  However, the judge could not see the dogs due to the glare coming through into the shadowed ring from the half-walled parking structure since the Salukis were one of the breeds shown "basement".   How disappointing and what lack of consideration to spend hundreds (and even thousands) of euros/dollars/pounds only to not be able to see properly.  And what disappointments for those exhibitors who had travelled hundreds and thousands of miles to compete and were forced to do so in small rings, poor lighting, no shade and hot black tarmac scorching their dogs' feet. 

It seemed that foresight was not one of the qualities of the organizing committee.  Repeatedly throughout the interview, Udo Kopernik made reference to "just an oversight" or "hadn't thought of that".  One of the things that hadn't been thought of was multi-lingual signage.   Those exhibitors requiring veterinarian services hopefully knew that "Tierarzt" was German for "veterinarian".  It would have been hospitably helpful to have "Veterinarian" printed in multiple languages since not only those exhibitors from Sweden and United Kingdom travelling on the pet passport system and requiring veterinarian check-ups and authorization prior to departing from Germany had to search for the veterinarians, but also those dog owners whose dogs were either suffering from heat stress or illness would have been better able to find the offices quickly. 

And there WERE dogs that suffered greatly from the lack of planning and heat.  While visiting the "Tierarzt" (veterinarian), there was a large dog on the floor being sponged and treated for heat stress.  Later on, when having to return to the veterinarian to get medication for a dog that was stressed and suffering from diarrhoea, the veterinarian was given an emergency call and hurriedly tossed supplies into a bag to go to the parking lot.  One of the words overheard was "Polizei" (Police) so it is assumed that she ran to try to aid some of the vast numbers of dogs that had been left in cars and that police had to break into the cars in an attempt to save, although it was too late for the five dogs that died. 

On the subject of veterinarians, it should be noted that entry into the show should have meant that the dog was examined by a show veterinarian to ascertain that the rabies vaccination is valid, that the dog is not showing any signs of illness (which normally means an examination of nose, eyes, etc.) and that the dog, if a male dog, is entire.  Watching a number of dogs being "examined" and having gone through the process with a dog, not even a minimal examination occurred.  In some cases the dogs were in crates being taken in and the veterinarian didn't even look into the crate, only cursorily examining the rabies certificate and certainly not ascertaining that the dog was "entire" or even the breed stated on the certificate.  In one ring, a veterinarian was called in to examine not one entry, but two, male dogs who were found to be lacking in the testicular department.  Certainly not something that should occur when the veterinarian does the job for which he/she is entrusted.  In the German Shorthaired Pointer ring, a breed that should easily have observable testicles, one entry was excused for being monorchid.  Questioning the representative of the VDH about the lack of "vetting in" process, the excuse given was that the veterinarians are under the guidance of the Veterinarian Ministry and that the VDH could not tell them what to examine.  One would assume that when one contracts for services that some indication of what the FCI regulations state must be examined would at least be considered if not contracted. 

The veterinarians who performed the necessary worming and flea/tick preventatives for those dogs travelling on pet passports, as well as dealing with the multitude of heat-stressed or sick dogs, were excellent, friendly and definitely overworked.  The dog stretcher in the corner served a dual purpose; when one of the British group felt ill, she was told there were no wheelchairs in the building, but that the first aid people could carry her on the dog stretcher! 

The numbers of people who seemed to have no consideration for the welfare of their animals was astonishing.   One woman left her dogs crated and disappeared for the remainder of the day.  No water was provided for the poor dogs by the owner, though exhibitors of another breed was caring enough to give the dog water periodically throughout the day.  However, as everyone was packing up to leave for the day, the poor dog must have felt as if its Good Samaritans were abandoning it and began to claw at the crate and try to climb the walls of the VDH-supplied tall crates.  Finally, a search of the entry forms on the top of the crate was made and off to the VDH to complain about the abuse was undertaken.  To the VDH's credit, announcements went over the loudspeakers (in German even though the forms showed that the woman was from a Scandinavian country) and the woman returned to her dog finally.  Yet throughout the day it was difficult to find any of the 1200+ red-coated "volunteers" who should have been policing to make sure that the welfare of the entries was foremost.

It was not only the exhibitors and spectators though that encountered frustration.  Imagine the frustration of the world press and photographers who were not allowed in to photograph winners until after the German press and media and the VDH photographers had taken all the photographs that they wished.  In most cases, the first several photographs will prove to be the best when photographing canines, particularly when bright lights or flashes are used.  After that the dogs become somewhat stressed and less likely to stand properly.  A bit of forethought (again it seems something totally lacking) would have meant that the world press photographers could have arranged themselves behind the German media and photographers and taken their pictures all together.  While it is understood that the VDH would like to mark the World Show as a successful coup and have wonderful photographs, placing other nations' press into a subordinate or discriminatory position is not the mark of a hospitable show or one that wishes to be world renown instead of world infamous.  The world press should be commended by their readers and editors for the perseverance in trying to complete their jobs with such poor consideration.  

Also of great confusion to both the spectators and to the press and photographers was the change of exhibitor numbers for the group rings.  The dogs were not shown under the same numbers that they had worn in the breed ring and for which they were listed in the catalogue.  Not only did this make it impossible to determine which of the various dogs had won in the breed rings, but it also made it difficult for the photographers who normally use the catalogue and exhibit number rather than having to speak to each exhibit and write down repetitious information already listed in the catalogue under a different number.  An informed source stated that, while the VDH obviously had lists of the dog, owner, and so forth accredited to each newly assigned group competition number, such lists were not easily obtainable.  Further, when questioned about the inconsistency of one number for each exhibit, the VDH had no reasonable explanation.   Certainly if all the exhibits entering the group rings had misplaced or lost their previously assigned numbers under which they competed in the breed ring the VDH could have made duplicate exhibit numbers for consistency and for ease of identification by spectators and press alike.

The show, which should have been VDH's crown jewel, was incredibly filthy by American or English standards.  In a country that has so much anti-dog legislation in place and pending, one would have expected that the very FIRST area for doggy-people to make themselves better dog neighbours would be the area of cleaning up after the dogs when they fouled the area.  Instead, walking through the parking areas, sidewalks and show itself was fraught with hazards.  The World War II veterans had nothing on us in trying to avoid "mine fields" of faeces.  One British exhibitor watched a woman with two Salukis starting to walk off and leave a steaming mess behind; she bravely insisted that the woman clean up and was told "no bag" to which she responded by handing the woman a bag and waiting while the woman picked up after the dog.  So that was one hazard less that we can thank the British for!  Not only was the lack of cleanliness dangerous to walk through, but it also is a hazard to dogs' health.  With so many dogs from so many different countries, the bacteriological and viral danger to the dogs with no built-up immunity to such was high.  The veterinarian did state that many dogs were coming in to see her with intestinal problems, presumably caused by the poor hygiene around the show site as well as from the heat.  Even as an opponent to dog-restrictive legislation, one can have sympathy with the non-doggy populace if this lack of consideration is what they normally face.

Utterly confusing was the decision by the VDH to hold "for the first time ever.a competition for crossbreeds, in which visitors can spontaneously take part with their dogs, so that every dog can have his day.  Dogs will be judged on condition and health as well as their social skills.  Dogs can be registered for the crossbreed competition each day up to 60 minutes before the event."  Knowing full well that a record number of over 20,000 dogs had been entered and given that the limitation on space meant that many breeds had to be shown "basement" and outside in less than satisfactory conditions, one can only wonder at the logic to allow non-registered entrants into the show.  Crowded conditions meant that even the most even-tempered dogs were tested by people bumping into them, stepping on toes, being hit with bundles and crates, etc.  Add into the mixture those dogs which were not socialized and used to dog show environments, as well as the owners who perhaps had never been to a dog show, and a potentially volatile situation was in the making. 

It is now understandable, though highly contemptible, that several very young (under three months surely) were seen being touted "For Sale" and one young lady carrying a poor puppy in an infant carrier with a sign across the chest saying "For Sale" (at least one would assume that it was the puppy for sale!). Where were the red-coated staff volunteers when acts such as these were being blatantly observed? 

Amazingly, Udo Kopernik indicated that there was no FCI booth or even FCI representatives on the show grounds by Sunday morning.  Questions concerning the process of allocating the World Show to the various countries, the qualifications of each applicant country, whether dogs and puppies are permitted to be sold on the grounds, and a host of other queries could not be answered.   What was most astounding though is that the FCI, for which organization the World Show is governed, was not on hand to help the host country.  One would assume that like the Olympics, the process for approving a country's viability to conduct a show of this magnitude would include venue feasibility, adherence to the FCI regulations, ability to handle large crowds, accessibility by exhibitors to the show grounds, and that the FCI, like the Olympic committees, would be on hand to oversee or at least observe that the show was conducted properly, safely, and according to their rules.  Perhaps like so many others, the FCI committee didn't remain to see the show through because they too were frustrated by many factors. 

Not so amazingly considering the lack of attention given to foreign visitors, there was no "Overseas Visitors Lounge" designated on any map.  Pedigree did have an overseas area.  Herr Kopernik indicated that a room for "VIPs" was actually the "Overseas Visitors" area.  No comment was forthcoming when he was informed that several overseas visitors had tried to enter the room and were told that they needed special passes to enter.

As the interview with Udo Kopernik concluded, he tossed up his hands, pointed to the map and stated emphatically "You're right - this map is shite!"  So perhaps all is not lost, though the aftertaste of a poorly organized and conducted event will linger on.

Would the show have been "successful" had any attention been paid to the many different nationalities that comprised the World Show?  Is this simply about not having maps, information signs, and other materials printed in at least German, English, Spanish and French?  Absolutely not!  The World Show failed to meet the mark on many different levels, including even the ability to pay for the entries in a non-complicated manner, as well as attention to the numbers of entries and sizes of rings, adherence to the veterinarian check-in procedures mandated by the FCI, a facility large enough to handle the vast numbers of dogs and people expected, consideration for those dogs and exhibitors relegated to the heat-stroking temperatures of asphalt hell and to the stygian dimness of the basement, rings that permitted those who travelled thousands of miles to see their breed to actually be able to see the dogs, rings that were appropriate for the size and entry numbers of the breeds involved, sensibility in not bringing visitor dogs into a show that was already crowded to its limits and beyond, volunteers that were recognizable and able to answer queries, parking as well as drop-off and pick-up suitable for the many coaches bringing in the out-of-country dogs and spectators, consideration for the international dog press who were not permitted even the barest of accommodations in photographing dogs prior to the dogs being overwhelmed by the many flashes and time spent by the VDH photographers and German media; the list could continue.  Personally, the death of at least five dogs taints the World Show. 

In any event, the World Show will never be a 'World' show unless it is held in countries where dogs from all over the world are welcome to enter and consideration is given to those countries where quarantines are in effect or quarantined countries' dogs are unable to freely travel to.  Until then, the 'World Winner' is about as valid as the winner of the World Series in baseball where the only two teams competing are from the United States.

A "highly successful" show?  Certainly, if the criteria were simply that all dogs were judged and that eventually group and Best in Show winners were determined.   If a higher level of standards is applied, then the World Show 2003 left much to be considered.  It is hoped that the Brazilian show planners learned valuable lessons from the World Show 2003 and that Brazil will be welcoming to all countries, nationalities and major languages with the foresight to plan for weather, space and to only allow those dogs entered in the show to attend.  Ending on a positive note, all reports from others said the restrooms were clean!

2003.  Sierra Milton. 
sierra.milton@ntlworld.com

Afterword:  The World Show 2004 in Brazil was also rift with rumours about 'padded' entries and, unfortunately, more deaths of dogs.  It remains astounding that shows with much greater numbers of entries and weather just as hotly dangerous to dogs can be held in other countries, without loss of life
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