Primped and pampered purebreds have long dominated the dog-show spotlight, but this Saturday, the region’s top mixed breeds will finally have a chance to shine when the Chicagoland Great American Mutt Show rolls into Berwyn.
Primped and pampered purebreds have long dominated the dog-show spotlight, but this Saturday, the region’s top mixed breeds will finally have a chance to shine when the Chicagoland Great American Mutt Show rolls into Berwyn. We met up with some of the show’s top canine contenders—competing in categories from Best Pet Trick to Best Kisser—and asked animal communicator Carol Schultz to help us interpret their thoughts on winning, losing and what makes a mixed mutt’s life worth living.
CANINE CONTENDER Guinness
MIX Rottweiler, Labrador retriever, pit bull
GOING FOR THE TITLE Best Lap Dog Over 50 lbs, Most Creative Pet Trick
HUMAN COMPANIONS Theresa and Jerry McGlone from Aurora
TOC: What do you like best about the Mutt Show?
Guinness: I get to meet all the dogs on planet Earth. People should turn off their computers, put down their notebooks and go out and socialize more. The real highlight, though, would be if it could snow at the show, if every dog could pee in it. They should have snow next year. Why hasn’t anyone thought of that?
TOC: What motivates you as an athlete?
Guinness: Food. Always having something on the table. I get to taste a lot of things, although my mom doesn’t know it [Theresa interjects, “That’s Jerry sneaking her things!”].
TOC: Who’s your personal hero?
Guinness: [Carol says she gets the image of Guinness lying on a bed posing in front of a mirror.] Maybe me. You have to look to yourself for life, love and inspiration. Treasure who you are or you’ll be living someone else’s life, not your own. Don’t hold back.
CANINE CONTENDER Chow-Chow
MIX Chow and golden retriever
GOING FOR THE TITLE Best Kisser, Best Vocal Performance
HUMAN COMPANIONS CJ and Charlotte Hybl of Berwyn
TOC: Your kissing and vocal talents make you part Casanova, part Pavarotti: Where does all the love and inspiration come from?
Chow-Chow: Faith, love, hope and joy. I’ve always loved to talk with everybody. I’m a real chatterbox—very expressive. Dad knew that when they got me from the shelter. I knew they would know me immediately. I was waiting for them.
TOC: What do you like best about the show?
Chow-Chow: I get to see kids and dogs running around. It’s better than Animal Planet. I get to be outside with them and enjoy the warm weather.
TOC: Are you in this contest to win it?
Chow-Chow: No, I’m not really competitive. If there’s someone else who finds joy in being the first on the block, that’s okay. I might be a little disappointed, but I know that all Mom and Dad care about is that I’m safe, happy and healthy. What I have is true. This is where I belong.
CANINE CONTENDER Paris
MIX German shepherd, malamute, Tibetan spaniel
GOING FOR THE TITLE Most Creative Pet Trick, Most Obedient
HUMAN COMPANION Jennie Ealds of Chicago
TOC: Vienna, as Paris’s sister who participated in the Mutt Show last year, do you have any advice for her?
Vienna: Have fun and enjoy the good food. And slow down. Don’t overthink things. You don’t have to chatter away about every little thing in your head. Paris needs composure, to hold it together and not be her all-out goofy self: Focus, focus, focus. Stay close to Mom and watch your doggy drool.
TOC: Paris, what motivates you as an athlete?
Paris: Joyful happiness: If I do well, I get rewards like hugs, pats on the back, kisses and more kisses. My mom is number one. I don’t want her to think that food is my only motivator. I just want to be there with her.
TOC: What do you two do when you’re not training for competitions?
Paris: People-watching. I like observing but not having to interact.
Vienna: My favorite thing is to have an adventure, to be out there taking risks and to have a good time. I’m not holding back. Be scared? Phooey. I can do anything.
GO THERE! Chicagoland Great American Mutt Show Morton West High School, 2400 Home Ave, Berwyn (708-788-8100, muttshow.com). Sat 16, 9am–5pm; $5, kids free, family $10, contest entry $10.
• More Museums & Culture articles