The first thing I want to say about the Dog Lovers Show is: what a grammatical quandary. Where does the apostrophe go? Is there an apostrophe? Does the show belong to us, the dog lover? Is there one of us, or are there many of us? (Stupid question: there are way too many of us; more on that later). Is this show just for people who have bestiality dispositions? Why would you host an event for these people?
The motto for this show is “for the love of dogs” and features a very excited young woman herding a mass of Yorkie Terriers, one of whom is barely noticeable in the scrum of fellow teacup dogs because he is crammed between her two hands. Just his little light brown nose peeks out. Does she love all her dogs except for this one? What did he do?
The Dog Lovers Show took place last weekend in a big exhibition building in Melbourne. There was a long list of terms and conditions to read on their website, for those of us who like to do pre-expo research so as to have the best experience ever, because why wouldn’t you want to be over-prepared at all times? (Also why wouldn’t you google the menu of every restaurant you ever go to, in advance, so you can know exactly what to order the minute you sit down, because, really, spontaneity is nice and all, but only when it comes to things like designer bag purchases. Food and dog lover shows are way to important to treat so flippantly).
Anyway. One of the rules of the Dog Lovers Show was that you could not BYO-dog, BYO-puppy, or BYO-furious-and-confused-cat. This show was for lovers of OTHER peoples’ dogs, and we don’t care how much you love your own dog! (Except for the fact there are lots of things here for you to buy your dog, pretty please, and plenty of courtesy ATMs on premises).
Another rule of the Dog Lovers Show pertained to patting and otherwise. Each stand had a laminated sign on the wall establishing a few key rules when it came to dog-interaction. Talk to the owner before touching a dog, ensure the dog is totally fine with any sort of dog-loving you are proposing, and calm the fuck down, I know you’re excited, but for the dog this is just another long day in a moist room having to be leader and spokesdog for its species, and it really doesn’t give a fuck about you and your novelty bichon frise t-shirt.
The excitement of this consensual petting zoo lasted for a few minutes, until we realised how flagrantly Utopia was being disrespected. Kids were running up to dogs and grabbing their butts with glee. Their parents were right behind them, patting heads TOO VIGOROUSLY for the taste of a small-terrier expert like me. There was a throng of dog lovers humming around every dog, forming an impenetrable and overwhelming circle of attention for each dog.
Look, I get it. Dog lovers shows only come once a year. The room was thick with pent up excitement, as well as the erotic energy of Dr Harry Cooper being in the building. People were meeting every flavour of dog out there, and emotions were running wild. The dogs were tired, but were also acting as ambassadors for their breed, teaching people what these dogs are like, so that if these people get the same breed dog one day, they know everything important about care and temperament.
While parts of the day were overwhelming, I regret none of my exorbitant ticket price, except for wondering who made money out of it. I learnt a lot about how smart kelpies are, I made eye contact with a celebrity dog, and I got the new profile picture of my dreams.
Would Jess Like It? …sorta.