Westminster Dog Show and the Puppy Bowl: A Tale of Two Doggie Events

Two white dogs: shelter dog and purebred dog show dog at Westminster Dog Show

I’ll admit: I’m not a “plush toy” person.  By night I’m a sport photographer for The New York Times, covering all the teams in the four main sports.  I also shoot other sports stories, and one of my first assignments many years ago was to shoot the Westminster Dog Show.

“Really?  That’s a sport?”, I asked.

“Yes.” said my editor, used to the question.

I’d covered several Westminster Dog Shows until the year I stopped to consider what the AKC really stands for, and stopped shooting the show altogether.  (This was a couple years before Westminster pulled the plug on some wonderful Pedigree ads that showcased homeless shelter pets.)

Last year, though, I was more than happy to photograph the Times’ story on the Puppy Bowl.  A record number of pit bull pups and mixed-breed dogs duked it out on a mini-gridiron, and I met about a hundred volunteers from shelters across the country, from as far as the SPCA in Los Angeles.

Taped well in advance (October), most — if not all — of the pups you’ll see on the Puppy Bowl today will have been placed in loving homes and will most likely be surrounded by adoring fans in their own homes during The Big Game, as they gnaw celebratory ham-bones out of monogrammed dog dishes.  Believe me, shelters will tell you when one of their charges is a first-round draft pick in the Puppy Bowl.

Two dog shows today, and they couldn’t be more different.

One advances the old argument: that some dogs are here to be coveted, multiplied and cloned, bred to physical deformity, while others — no less sentient, loving, and dependent upon us — are disposable.

The other one is a celebration of human interaction with and stewardship of nature’s beautiful creatures and our best friends, and a model of what creativity brings to bear on the shelter crisis in America.

And it’s a blast.

Puppy Bowl referee holding homeless rescued shelter dog in black and white

CharlieDog and Friends makes plush animal rescue soft toys, to raise money and awareness for America's homeless pets.

CharlieDog and Friends makes plush animal rescue soft toys, to raise money and awareness for America’s homeless pets.

Find all CharlieDog and Friends plush toys that save shelter lives! 


Find CharlieDog and Friends at our New Website!

Murphy Plush Toy Pit Bull

Murphy is a plush pit bull toy from CharlieDog and Friends. His Super-softness was inspired by a real-life pit bull rescue named Murphy, who now spends his time as therapy dog in a hospital in Virginia.

Hi there!

CharlieDog and Friends is up and running over on www.charliedogandfriends.com

We’re crazy about animal rescue causes, misunderstood breeds, people working their tails off on weekends and evenings to find homes for abandoned and homeless pets.

And CharlieDogs is our little part of the solution.

Here, you can see our unique representations of real-life animal rescues, fosters, and adoptions.  We’re raising money to help rescues that are just getting by, and smaller shelters that rely on donations from so many different sources (we’re just one of them).

We have just about the only “Pocket Pitties” to be plushified, and go on to make donations to some really special animal rescues and causes.  We donate five dollars for every 17″ plush, four dollars for every “Pocket Pittie”, and two dollars for every “Adopt” collar bracelet we sell.

And we also make a habit of sending boxes of our toys to where they can be put to good use: to classrooms and hospitals, right alongside some of the very best therapy pit bulls and former shelter dogs in the business.

Please visit us!


CharlieDog and Friends

Pocket Pitties, plush stuffed animal pit bulls

Our Pocket Pitties are plush toy pit bulls based on real-life, last minute rescues from New York Animal Care and Control. Our first seven releases complete our “Bruised Not Broken” edition, honoring and benefiting the tireless pit bull advocacy work of Bruised Not Broken, in New York City.