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For the love of dogs

The dog show held as part of Bidhannagar Mela on February 3 attracted visitors from all over the city and participants from even the suburbs. Visitors thronged the venue — Bidhannagar Municipal Sports Complex — for the day-long event and were bowled over by the cute Chihuahuas, handsome Rottweilers and magnificent German Shepherd Dogs.

Perhaps the oldest contestant was Max, a 14-year-old Pomeranian. That’s 98 in human years! Max, the very senior citizen, suffers from arthritis and vision problems but is young at heart and had come wearing a red top and blue jeans. “I got the jeans from a pet store in Bangkok,” smiled owner Jasleen Kohli of Ballygunge. “My other Pom Eva is also here but she’s overweight and we can’t find clothes for her.”

Sweety the Labrador may not have worn clothes but had a pink neck band, pink leash and red bindi on her forehead. “I wanted her to come decked up,” smiled her owner Minu Chakraborty, who is also the councillor of Purbachal.

Most of the dogs were extremely friendly. St Bernards Raja and Rani nudged visitors till they massaged their heads and rolled their eyes and drooled in the pleasure. And before the visitors bid them goodbye Raja gave them licks so affectionate that their clothes would get soaked in slobber.

Visitors also had fun discussing the unusual names of the canines. There was a Great Dane called Mango; his trainers claimed he was named so as he was sweet like the fruit. A Doberman was named Tyson. In physique, Tyson sure resembled his namesake in the boxing ring but trainer Biswanath Roy assured us that he had never ripped off anyone’s ear. For that matter, neither had Gillette, a Bull Mastiff of EE Block named so after his razor-sharp teeth.

And then there was Haripada. Haripada wasn’t a dog-owner, he was a dog. A loveable sausage-like Dachshund. “My grandfather thought that if we named him after a god, we would be calling out the god’s name all day,” smiled 15-year-old Amrika Mitra, who took Haripada to the ring as junior handler.

The show had a stage for mongrels too and mongrel owners proudly brought their pets forward. Jinia Gupta had come all the way from Patuli with her mongrels Rajkumar and Ramola. “I’ve been bringing Ramola to this show for three years now and she always wins a prize. Rajkumar was born outside our house and we took him in. He’s so happy today. He wants to play with everyone he sees.”

Some participating Labradors and Golden Retreivers put up a show and jumped through rings of fire too. “This year the show also had a special category for differently-abled dogs and there showed up seven dogs with amputed legs and an eighth with a back problem,” said Tapas Sengupta, an organiser. There was also a kiosk called Cheers to Adoption, for visitors who wanted to adopt homeless animals. The Best of Show prize went to Pradip Ghosh’s female GSD.