ShowSight January 2019

Keeping The Focus On Man’s And Woman’s (And Child’s!) Best Friend Now, More than ever – we need our dogs! BY MICHAEL AND CATHY DUGAN

Even more than that, we all have noticed the growing use of canines in every form of advertising. I don’t know exactly what a cute dog has to do with selling insurance or tooth paste, but big companies don’t like to waste money on ads that don’t sell their products and appeal to a broad base of consumers. They have figured out that the pooch in that 30 second spot attracts and humanizes the “pitch”. Like every- one, we actually pay more attention to a clever ad with an adorable engaging dog, regardless of whether we could care less about the product being hustled. In the 30+ years we have been breeding dogs we found that the demographic of the buyers has subtly changed. While we still place dogs with families with relatively young children much of the time, the numbers of families without children or whose children have escaped or been evicted from the home have grown big time. Couples are looking not just for a dog but for a new type of family member to enhance and contribute to their lives. Families are searching for dogs with “intent”. By that we mean that the days of casually picking up a pup at the mall or pet store are over. As breeders, we are delighted to experi- ence the seriousness and planning that families show us as we talk about placing a puppy with them. When I was a kid, we had many dogs but having a dog was more of a neighbor- hood assumption—heck, everyone had a dog or cat—than a planned family decision with a clear thought about what we were going to do with the dog. Now, when we have a family fill out a detailed application form and meet with them in our interview process, they have multiple questions for us based on how and why they think a dog will fit into their lifestyle and family structure. They know this is a big decision, not to be taken lightly. While most of the applicants have had dogs, in almost every case, they are viewing this decision in a new light. By the way, we don’t “BEING ON THE FLOOR OF THE GARDEN WATCHING ONE OF OUR PORTUGUESE WATER DOGS COMPETE FOR BEST IN SHOW IS A RUSH WE WILL NEVER FORGET. THERE’S NOTHING QUITE LIKE IT.”

W e’ve had the great honor to compete many times at big shows like Westminster in New York City. Being on the floor of the Garden watching one of our Portuguese Water Dogs compete for Best In Show is a rush we will never forget. There’s nothing quite like it. But wait, there’s more! But there’s lots more to the world of dogs and canine com- petitions around the world. Not so long ago, it was difficult to find accommodations that would allow our dogs to join us. We became experts about which Motel 6’s were available; they at least would take a dog. Today, the hospitality industry has figured out that there is real money in welcoming dogs, not just to hotels but in many restaurants and attractions as well. Here in California, places like Carmel, Monterey and Mendocino—popular vacation spots—all have embraced people who travel with their dogs. It’s common to visit a store or restaurant and find water dishes out for our canine family members and cookies ready.

Ladybug competed for Best In Show at Westminster in 2011

104 • S how S ight M agazine , J anuary 2019

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