By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
Godzilla the guinea pig managed to upstage the dogs performing tricks at the annual Bowling Green Pet Show Wednesday evening in City Park.
The guinea pig, with an alias of the “fuzzmeister,” perched on the hand of his owner, Fran Flores, 15. Fran took aim with her finger, said “bang,” and Godzilla dramatically fell backwards and played dead. The judges seemed stunned by the performance, and one said “bang” to test the guinea pig – and once again Godzilla collapsed upon command.
The guinea pig stole the show from the dog who waved with his paw, and the other who weaved in between her owner’s legs as she walked, spun in circles and then played dead. The dogs were no match for the furry rodent.
More than 60 pets were walked, carried or dragged to City Park for the annual pet show sponsored by the Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Department.
There were 22 categories for the pets to be judged in, like shaggiest pet, biggest rodent, best dressed pet, and best behaved. No entries competed in the categories of most interesting farm pet, slimiest reptile, or loudest bird. A couple kids did try to win for having pets that looked most like their owners.
Sitting on the Needle Hall stage for the competition were judges Tom Sieving, the Bowling Green Police Division’s animal control officer; Joe Fawcett, the assistant municipal administrator; and Melissa Hill, from the Wood County Humane Society.
“We don’t take it too seriously,” Sieving said before the competition began. But all the categories weren’t as cut and dry as who had the longest ears – the coonhound or the spaniel.
The area in front of the stage was full of people with their talented – or at least lovable – pets.
There was Baxter the bulldog, who competed in the categories of cutest boy dog and best behaved. His owner, Jennifer Gutierrez, agreed that Baxter might have stood a better chance if there was a category for longest tongue.
There was Minnie the Pomeranian, who strutted her stuff for the best groomed and prettiest girl competitions. She wore two bows on her tiny head. “We just happened to have a grooming appointment today, so it worked out perfect,” said her owner Holly Cordes.
In the feline category, there was Queenie the hairless sphynx, shown by T.J. Boonie. Queenie tolerated being shown in the prettiest girl and most unusual pet categories.
On the other end of the cat spectrum was Dexter, who easily won the biggest cat category – weighing in at 27 pounds. Dexter showed up on the doorstep of the Zeisloft family with his whiskers burned off and other injuries. He was a normal size, “he just grew into this behemoth,” LeAnn Zeisloft said.
Dexter’s favorite activities are eating and sleeping – taken to the extreme – sometimes refusing to walk and preferring to be dragged. He does, however, show brief spurts of energy.
“If he hears the food dish clink, he is freakishly fast,” Zeisloft said.
Dexter was not the only pet motivated by their palate. Brutus, a mastiff mix, was being coaxed along with a dish of vanilla ice cream from Sundae Station. His owner lamented that fact that there was no category for laziest dog.
“It’s his favorite,” said Suzanne Swoap, adding that the huge dog does have discriminating taste. “He won’t eat McDonald’s anymore now that he’s had Sundae Station.”
Competing in the category of most unusual pet was a little girl who had collected several “roly poly” bugs for the occasion. The 15 or so came in a bug carrier, complete with leaves and twigs added to make them feel at home. And of course they were all named, including Cupcake, Strawberry and Blueberry.
“She was so excited to bring them to the pet show,” said Diana Hensley, the little girl’s mom.
A little boy showed off his hermit crab, named Piraty, who went from waving to the crowd to pinching his owner. “Ow, he bit me,” the boy said from the stage.
And a few children paraded their rodents – leading the announcer to issue a warning.
“Everyone who has a dog, hold onto the leash tight,” joked Ivan Kovacevic, recreation coordinator for the city parks and recreation department.
Some pets went the extra mile to please their owners and the crowd. Bella the black lab mix donned a grass hula skirt and a flower lea. And Lola the goldendoodle got dolled up in some princess dress up clothes, with a sparking pink dress and jeweled tiara.
“Oddly she seems OK with this,” Annette Estep said.