By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
Like a pageant mom arriving without hairspray, it didn’t take Jordan Cravens long to realize she and bulldog Reggie were going to be out-glamoured at the pet show in City Park Wednesday evening.
“We can already see we’re way out of our league,” Cravens said as she looked out over the competition at the annual show sponsored by the Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Department.
Reggie had been signed up for the categories of cutest and best dressed – but both seemed out of grasp with the throng of dolled up dogs waiting to take the stage.
“I can see the bow tie is not going to be enough,” Cravens said. How could Reggie possibly compete with the golden retriever dressed as Harry Potter, the German shepherd as football player Johnny Manziel, not to mention the smaller breeds in their tutus and tiaras?
“Clearly, these dogs prepare year-round,” Cravens said with a smile.
On the plus side, Reggie had not yet puked due to pre-pageant jitters.
The pet show featured the furry and funny pets of the community. There were the customary dogs and cats, but also guinea pigs, hedge hogs and hermit crabs.
And as usual, the competition was fierce, and the judging was nerve-wracking.
Before any animals took to the stage at Needle Hall, judges Bowling Green Assistant Municipal Administrator Joe Fawcett and BG Police Animal Control Officer Tom Sieving agreed that some categories are always difficult to decide.
Take, for example, the cutest dog category. That’s really subjective, the judges said.
“The tough part is when the kids are really into it, and you let them down,” Fawcett said.
“Some of the parents are really into it, too,” Sieving added.
The pets were judged in categories like best pet trick, best dressed, birds that talk or tweet the loudest, and pet that looks most like its owner. There were also categories for shaggiest, longest ears, slimiest reptile and funniest name – which was won this year by Sir Oliver Purrsalot.
The feline beat out the hedgehog named Feisty, who lives up to his name, according to young owner Quinn Rader.
“He’s feisty at night and unfortunately at day, too – even though he’s supposed to be nocturnal,” Quinn said.
This year, the pet show had a new category of Pet Rocks, working with the Wood County District Public Library’s summer reading program called “Libraries Rock.”
Some kids stuck with squirming contestants. Kylah Crawford dolled up her guinea pig, Lilly, with gold beads and a pink skirt she swiped off her American Girl doll.
A Lhasa Apso named Beethoven’s Fifth was adorned with a more casual ensemble of a straw hat, bow tie and denim shirt tied off in the midriff.
Emma Walker took a page from literature, and decked out Villa the golden retriever with a Harry Potter scarf around her neck, plus black round eyeglasses and the famous lightning bolt scar drawn on her head. Villa seemed to take her role in stride.
“I she enjoys it,” Walker said. “She got all excited and started jumping around.”
Walker gave Villa a pep talk before the competition.
“Villa, it’s better to be smart than pretty – though you don’t have much there either,” Walker added.
On the pretty side of the show was Luna, the French bulldog, dressed up in a patriotic tutu.
“She doesn’t seem to mind it too much,” said owner Rachel Fletcher. The look seemed to impress Parks and Recreation’s Ivan Kovacevic, who was the master of ceremonies. He complimented Luna for “rockin’ the tutu” as she walked on stage.
On the regal side of the costumes was Tucker, who seemed very tolerant of wearing a lion’s mane on his head. Tucker is already a canine celebrity of sorts in Bowling Green – being the yellow lab who greets customers at Klotz Floral Design & Garden.
“Customers come to see him first,” when they come for flowers, owner Gene Klotz said.