Thursday September 20, 2012
Dogs shows continue to draw crowds
By ANTHONY THANASAYAN
Dog shows remain ever popular and continue to draw crowds wherever they are held.
I HAD a terrific time at the Malaysian Kennel Association’s international championship dog show which was held at a shopping mall in Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, last weekend.
I found myself in the company of more than 300 dogs and about 1,500 people.
There were four events running concurrently over two days. Five judges from Sweden, Australia, India, the Philippines and Singapore presided over the occasion.
All the canines were vying to be selected for at least two upcoming prestigious dog competitions in the United States and Britain.
The showcase was launched by Datuk Dr Abdul Aziz Jamaluddin, Director-General of the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS).
I was invited by the organisers in my capacity as chairman of the Canine Advisory Team of the Petaling Jaya City Council. I was also there as president of Petpositive, an animal-assisted therapy society for people with disabilities and the elderly.
I was thrilled to be invited. As I mingled with the crowd, a few people approached me and told me they were inspired to see me there in my wheelchair – that my disability didn’t stop me from having fun.
What an encouraging remark. This sure beats asking a disabled person what is “wrong” with them at first meeting, which some people annoyingly do.
Why should anything be “wrong” with anyone just because he or she sits in a wheelchair? How does someone continue a conversation with a person after such a remark?
As for the canine participants, they were waggy tails all the way.
Curious at first, probably on coming in contact with a “chair on wheels” for the first time, they quickly settled down with generous licks of understanding.
I was surrounded by scores of German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Dobermans, and even Bull Terriers which our society has unfairly tagged under the “dangerous” and “banned dogs” list and I emerged without even a scratch.
Taking to the press after the launch, Dr Abdul Aziz brought home the point that dogs were never the problem; the real issue was errant owners.
He stressed that more people, especially the disabled and the elderly, should explore the use of canines for animal-assisted therapy. He said that DVS is fully behind such a move.
Dr Abdul Aziz said the elderly, infirm and disabled have greatly benefited from having pets which helped them achieve a higher quality of life.
However, he was quick to point out that every dog, no matter what size or breed, comes with a heavy responsibility. No one should think of owning a dog if he or she is not prepared for the hard work that comes along with it.
Dr Abdul Aziz said that whilst the use of dogs should be encouraged for health benefits, no one should keep dogs purely to protect their home without showing them love and care.
“Keeping a dog should never be done on impulse. They may look cute and cuddly at first but it is not at all like buying a fish from the pet store,” he warned.
After the press conference, I followed the DG and the organisers around the performance rings and the exhibition area to meet the canine participants and their owners.
It was there that we met Bosnia, a huge and magnificent Rottweiler which belonged to Chan Oi Keng. We couldn’t resist patting and playing with the Rottie.
Indeed, it was an insightful day for everyone. Not only did the canines come out champs, it was a day when awareness triumphed over ignorance and prejudice.