There were fewer dogs at the Bidhannagar Mela Dog Show this year but those that turned up were adorable.
The stud of the show was a French Mastiff called Bailey (picture top below). He was massive, with brown eyes to match his brown coat. Soon word spread around the Bidhannagar Municipal Sports Complex that “Salman Khan’s dog has come” and everyone flocked to see Bailey.
“Bailey is not Salman Khan’s, but my dog,” corrected owner Prem Banerjee to the steady stream of visitors coming to click pictures with the dog. “Salman’s too is a mastiff.” The gentle giant lovingly posed for snaps with anyone who mustered the courage to come close to him.
A show-stopping scene was Dum Dum’s Majumdar family making an entry into the park. Daddy and mummy Majumdar hurried in, carrying bags and baskets and holding two leashes for two dogs and the hand of their five-year-old son as son and puppies tried their best to escape their clutches.
“Ke potty korlo!” exclaimed Pushpendu Majumdar, but a moment too late. He had already stepped on what his St Bernard puppy Diana was later accused of having relieved.
Once they found a shady corner, mummy Doel spread a sheet on the ground but Diana slipped under it. Her son Spandan and Dalmatian Daisy were at that point engaged in a fearsome tug-of-war over an open bottle of water. “That’s the puppies’ water Spandan, don’t drink out of it!” said Doel urgently, snatching the bottle from the boy’s hand.
“We’re one big, happy family,” Pushpendu laughed once they had settled down.
A Bulldog named Bulti had been cooling her heels inside her crate all morning but at lunch time her owner brought a packet of Chilli Chicken for himself and, owing to lack of space, kept it on top of Bulti’s crate. The whiff of meat immediately made the lazing dog spring up. She went into a tizzy trying to reach the packet above her by head-butting it, but it was no use.
“Spicy food is no good for you, Bulti. Especially on show day,” owner Imtiaz Qasem shook his head and removed the pack.
And then there was Maggie, the mongrel who stole everyone’s heart. “Maggie is a rescued dog whose hind leg has had to be amputed,” said owner Sukanya Dey, a resident of Sraboni Abasan and the in-charge of Ashari animal shelter in Mukundapur. The three-legged dog has since then been trained for canine therapy and visits schools for special children.
Gargi Bhaumik could not believe how her Pomeranian Spitz Liza walked away with the Best of Breed prize on debut. “My husband was dismissive of her chances as we don’t have a trainer. Not only did she win, she won me the Best Lady Handler title as well,” beamed the BE Block resident on getting the prize from actress Debasree Roy.