KENSINGTON, P.E.I. - Amid the echoes of barks at the Community Gardens Complex in Kensington, are two Shih Tzu’s quietly sitting on their prepping board as they wait to be put through their paces at the annual Lady Slipper Kennel Club dog show on Saturday.
Originally bred for royalty in China, the pampered pooches Anne and Lasya consider themselves regal among the other dogs. But this toy breed has no arrogance or aggression and what it lacks for in size, it more than makes up for in heart.
“They love people and are also therapy dogs,” remarked owner Andy Wedge, from Charlottetown.
“They do therapy in senior homes and also with children in palliative care. The seniors and the children love them and always want to keep the dogs because they bring so much joy and comfort to their lives.”
Wedge and his wife, Jill have competed in the Lady slipper Kennel Club dog show for the last four years.
“We love their (Shih Tzu) beauty and we want to share it with everyone,” he proudly stated, while glancing over to make sure his dog’s long flowing hair and ribbons were all neatly in place.
The two-day event, founded in 1979 with the purpose of supporting ethical breeding and responsible dog ownership, presents four all breed championship dog shows, one all breed rally obedience trail, and one all breed obedience trail.
Debbie Smith travelled with her bearded collie “Indie Lou” from Boston, U.S.
“We’ve been all over the United States, and in Canada we’ve been as far east as P.E.I. and as far west as Calgary competing in events like these,” she said, while flashing a warm smile at her four-legged companion.
The bearded collie, once used primarily for Scottish shepherds, is the ultimate shaggy dog.
“When this one was a puppy she would never stay clean and would always be running around the garden jumping in puddles and getting filthy, so I can’t believe she’s turned into such a beautiful and clean dog,” laughed Smith.
She continued, “I use take weekend trips with my four children for soccer and other events, but when they grew up and left home there was a void. Someone suggested we get involved with dog shows, so we took our bearded collie we had back then to one and were smitten.”
Dog shows promote an arena of “camaraderie, knowledge, and friendship,” according to Smith, who has been competing with her highly intelligent and active breed for 14 years.