Source: Nanaimo News Now (Extract)
Posted: April 22, 2023

Local eyes will be on one of the world’s most famous dog shows.

The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show runs May 8-9 in New York and will see an entry from Nanoose Bay-based breeder Carolyn Kool.

Her four-year-old Silky Terrier Pixie is one of just 63 Canadian dogs to enter competition this year and will mark Kool’s first trip to the show as a competitor.

“I’ve had them for 30 years, but I’ve only bred for about nine years. Pixie is second generation of my breeding, her father Ricky was the top Silky Terrier in Canada for three years and now Pixie is coming up on her third year and the number one…in Canada.”

Pixie will compete against six other champions from the United States at the event, which dates back to the 1870’s and started as a way to identify breeding stocks for the next generation of a particular breed.

It’s hoped Pixie’s winner personality will score her some extra points with the judges.

“All my dogs here are champions but Pixie and Ricky had that little extra that when they’re in the show ring, they’re up on their shows, they’re looking at the judge, they’re alert, they’re happy and they just kind of sparkle as they go around the ring. They’re just saying ‘look at me, look at me’.”

Even making the show required a lot of luck and some last minute scrambling from Kool, Pixie and her handler Nicole Simpson.

A quick 10-day trip to Florida saw Pixie compete in a show circuit in January, earning an American championship and the opportunity to enter a lottery for a spot in New York.

Luck favoured Pixie and her spot in the Silky Terrier group was secured.

Kool said the goal is to advance into the main event.

“What we hope to do is to beat all the other ones of her…breed, and take ‘best of breed’ so that we can actually go into the group which is the televised event at night time that everyone can watch.”

At the other end of Pixie’s leash will be Simpson, also from the central Island, who has been working with Kool since 2017, first with Ricky and now Pixie.

She said the challenge for Pixie will be taking in all the new sights and sounds of New York and the show itself.

“She’s beautiful, she’s an absolutely gorgeous dog and she’s ever so deserving to go to Westminster. Every day is different. There are days where she just shines on her own, she’s upbeat, she’s happy, she’s out to win and then there’s days where I have to work a little bit to get her up and showing off.”

Simpson said most of the work she puts in with Pixie is before a particular show, ranging from grooming to exercise, training and proper diet.

Regular six to 10 kilometre walks are also essential for keeping Pixie in shape.

The nature of competition at Westminster or other dog shows means Pixie is surrounded by other, often larger, dogs with different personalities.

Exposure to different scenarios is a vital part of Simpson’s prep work.

“Getting them exposed to other breeds of dogs outside the toy group is very important. Things like people coming towards you, all those sorts of things are stuff that we do every day here to expose them to the different things that (translate) into the ring when you’re showing.”

Both Kool and Simpson are confident however.

“Some dogs are just show dogs and they acclimatize to all sorts of stuff quite quickly because it’s just in their blood,” Simpson said. “I think she’s going to be great, it’s going to be a learning experience for all of us, it’s going to be fun.”