The founding members of the Progressive Dog Club of New York were uncannily prescient when naming their club, “The Progressive” as it is not only rich in history, but also has steadily marched into the future with a sharper edge than ever. The club is “progressive” in every sense of the word.
On the Friday before Westminster, the Pennsylvania Hotel was packed with exhibitors eager to compete at the Progressive Dog Club Show; an event with one of the largest Toy entries in the country. The elevators were loaded with handlers and their dogs, and as the doors opened onto the 18th floor, they entered the venue of an event that not only carries the gravitas of its almost 100-year history, but also is perfectly in touch with the times, offering every amenity one could ask for.
A photographer was set up in the lobby of the 18th floor with huge urns of flowers and a bright red Progressive banner awaiting those who would be lucky enough to gain a win later in the day. Members of the Progressive Club staffed a table welcoming exhibitors and spectators and offering programs, monogrammed Progressive chocolates and raffle tickets. Speaking of raffles, the generous donors for this year’s show donated amazing gifts; huge baskets filled with gourmet items, unique and useful dog-related items, and the icing on the cake…a gorgeous Best in Show Trolley, perfectly sized for toy breeds, donated by Kim Prelovsky, Northeast distributor for Best in Show Trolleys. Susan Gile’s PawMarks store was packed with every kind of shampoo, brush, pet bed, lead and other show essential that you could imagine. The grooming area had plenty of space and outlets available for everyone. I was very happy to find the temperature of the grooming space to be very cool, so despite blow dryers whirring and a flurry of activity, the dogs and exhibitors remained very comfortable. There was even a water cooler equipped with mini plastic cups so attendees didn’t have to scurry around looking for bottled water to purchase.
The rings were surrounded by huge windows offering views of Midtown New York. The show’s organizers had thoughtfully set up the exhibition area with chairs for spectators and reserved seats for judges’ mentoring, as well as plenty of room to easily maneuver from ring to ring without stepping on toes. The ringside photographer had set-up a booth in another lobby area so owners and exhibitors could easily view the lovely ringside photographs available for purchase. In every regard this was a show set up to not only showcase the beautiful Toys present, but also make for a fun and stress-free atmosphere for all attendees. Huge kudos to Show Chair, Tim Lehman (who was working behind the scenes), and the hard-working members of The Progressive Dog Club for thinking of everything and putting on a first-class event.
Founded in 1922, the Progressive Dog Club is one of only three clubs joining Montgomery County and Mile High Kennel Clubs as group shows whose group winner is also regarded by the AKC as a true all-breed Best in Show Winner, and where the Group Two winner is recognized as Reserve Best in Show. This was an interesting tidbit of information that Group judge Mr. Fred Bassett thoughtfully explained to the audience before he made his picks. The group was filled with lovely representatives of each breed, but the ultimate prizes were awarded to: the young Pekingese, Ch Pequest Feel the Burn, yet another Peke breeder-handled to Best in Show at Progressive by David Fitzpatrick. Reserve Best in Show was awarded to the smooth moving Havanese, GCH Oeste’s in the Name of Love. Group Three went to the flashy Toy Poodle from Japan, Smash JP Louboutin. And, rounding out the coveted group placements was the Affenpinscher, GCHS Tamarin Tailback, as always, an eager and kinetic performer. Mrs. Kathleen Kolbert, president of Progressive, was a busy presence at the event and proudly joined in the official show photos for each group winner.
As the day turned to dusk, competitors were still happily chatting while breaking down their set-ups. Progressive banners and club supplies were busily being folded and packed away in anticipation of next year’s show. All in all, the overwhelming sentiment and feeling in the air was one of a competitive yet friendly dog show environment that hearkens back to the sporting spirit of the earliest days of dog shows. Somehow Progressive manages to honor the past while offering a first-class event for the present. This is a show you won’t want to miss in 2019!