While our love of dogs and snark originally brought The Dog Snobs together, it quickly became apparent that we shared several other interests (read: morbid fascinations). Namely, all three of us are regular “Toddlers & Tiaras” viewers and have spent many an hour dissecting episodes of that trash-tastic tv show. Upon reflecting on “Toddlers & Tiaras”, we realized that there really isn’t much of a difference between pageant moms and dog moms (Completely ignoring the similarity between weave poles and other kind of poles…). In fact, we find it hard to differentiate between the two in most cases. Much to our own shame, it’s not just with others that we see these similarities. We have accepted the fact that we also routinely play the role of the Pageant Mom. In this post we will highlight 10 Reasons why Dog People and Pageant Moms aren’t all that different.
1. Motivational catch phrases: Like the battle cry of many a demented pageant mom (“sparkle, baby, sparkle”), we’ve found that most dog owners use specific motivational phrases to bring the best out of their dogs. Within The Dog Snobs, we use phrases varying from “Up, Up”, “Hurry, Hurry”, to “Go, Go, Go”. There have been several times while shrieking these words to our dogs that we’ve all realized how ridiculous we must sound to outsiders. But does that stop us? Of course not. Much like the pageant mom, we have no shame in being the loudest person in the room.
2. Regimented Diets: Fang routinely refers to herself as a Texas Cheerleader mom when it comes to her dogs’ diets. Every calorie is accounted for on a daily basis and weights are managed extensively. The super-high performance kibble she feeds has an embarrassingly high price-bracket. The protein boosters to keep weight on her skinny dog, the bone and joint supplements, the fish oil… Their bowls look like something akin to a four star bistro in processed kibble form. Trial days? It all goes to hell. Hotdogs, Pupperoni, BillJac, whatever her little princess demands she gets and she gets it RIGHT NOW! Or rather she steals it out of her cooler because that’s how cattle dogs roll. BusyBee and Potnoodle are not immune from this diet obsession, as both of us feed raw diets and are incredibly aware of every morsel of food that passes their lips. We have been known to keep journals containing meal plans, nutritional facts, and general feeding guidelines. Anyone who has ever watched “Toddlers & Tiaras” will instantly see the similarities. While she’s yet to funnel Mountain Dew and Redbull (Go Go Juice!) down their throats, Potnoodle’s dogs have been known to get an energy boosting powder on long trial weekends.
3. The classes: Attending classes, assisting in classes, volunteering to get discounted classes–you name it, we’ve done it. While pageant moms invest thousands of dollars in coaching, dog people spend just as much time and money finding suitable classes and trainers. People involved in the dog world know that there each town has a hierarchy of trainers, and in case you wonder, going to the “best” trainer in the area is a badge of honor for many owners. Similarly to those gossiping pageant moms, dog people are not immune to bragging about working with certain trainers, receiving extra help, or dropping the names of the amazing people they work with.
4. The Appearance Enhancing Products: Whereas pageant moms rely on hairspray, spray tans, and buckets of makeup, conformation dog owners use hairspray, chalk, dye, nose coloring and an incredibly disturbing product called a “Wiggie”. All of these are, like blue eye shadow in a ‘natural’ pageant, illegal. That doesn’t stop dog show exhibitors, of course. They go right on spraying up those topknots and dying those mismarks like it’s their job… which it is, come to think of it.
5. The Cash vs. Reward Paradigm: Much like pageants, dog shows are not a place of profit. One might invest three hundred dollars in a comparatively cheap weekend. National level or invitational level competitions (much like pageants) have costs that increase exponentially. With that much cash invested, the most you can hope to win is a bag of dog food you won’t feed (See above), a stuffed toy your dog will destroy on the car ride back home, or if you’ve gotten really lucky enough cash to cover maybe one of the classes you entered that day. This fact makes us a more than a little jealous of the toddlers and their cash taped to paper plates.
6. Maximizing Potential: This is one of the few ways where as dog owners, we have it made over those pageant moms–we can select our dogs. The moms are just kind of stuck with (really it’s the kids who are trapped, but keep with us here) whatever pops from their hoo-ha, slime and all. There are puppy tests from the earliest days to pick out the best prospects. Imagine trying to test for glitter affinity or most vacant expression in newborns.
7. Bribery and Begging: While we’ve yet to offer our dog a pony for a successful weekend, we aren’t above pointless begging. “Just one clean, fast run and I’ll buy you a hamburger on way home” has been uttered Potnoodle on many weekends. The dogs don’t get it, but that doesn’t stop her from trying. Fang has resorted to promising to buy a sheep for her herder if she’ll just maybe not sit with the judge and watch the heeling pattern rather than doing it. Upon further reflection, she realizes this is disturbingly close to a pony. BusyBee just asks that Mr. T not embarrass her, which sadly, is often too much to ask.
8. Judges: At least the dog’s judges aren’t creepy possible pedophiles, or so we hope. Anyone that has ever thumbed through an edition of ‘Dogs In Review’ or ‘The Dog Chronicle’ knows that the judges are a big deal and being well known to judges is the way to go. Every dog show ad has a “Thanks to Judge Fancy McSnootypants for a great weekend” shout-out. None of us are subscribed to ‘Prostitot Weekly’, but we’re pretty sure those ads are in there too.
9. Disappointment: As in all competitive endeavors, disappointment arrives and it’s not always well received. Tantrums thrown by children are not entirely different than dog tantrums. Both involve flopping on the floor, whining, and generally just being a lousy sport. Owners are not necessarily immune to it either though they will more frequently resemble the child.
10. SO. MUCH. GOSSIP. You cannot get away from it. You just can’t. These are both ridiculously tiny communities and everyone knows, knows of, or knows someone who knows everyone. Conveniently, someone always manages to hate someone in the trial you’re attending and are not shy in letting anyone else know what’s going on, ringside. Preferably in front of as many people as they can gather in their corner. No single event is immune from this and bad-sportsmanship abounds. If TLC were interested in a reality show, getting involved may be worth the paycheck, but as they haven’t called any of us, it’s good practice to just nod, smile and walk away.