Friday, September 10, 2010

Purina Events Center -- Gala Opening

On Aug. 18 I paid a visit to Dog Heaven for a few hours, the grand opening of the Purina Events Center, dedicated to dog events, at Purina Farms outside St. Louis.

Getting to hang out and hear stories from some of the most historic dog owners, breeders, handlers and rescuers was amazing. But getting to hold, pet and hang with six of the greatest Westminster champions and be the first to experience what many call the best dog events center ever? Awesome.

The champions arrived in individual limousines, and then walked a red carpet among all the gathered guests. It was fun talking to the owners and handlers, and learning everyday tidbits like J.R. the Bichon and Stump now living together, and sleeping in the same bed every night!

Though champions, they are still dogs. Sadie barked in her crate at dinner until she got to come out and join a table. Uno the Beagle and Rufus the Bull Terrier came close to getting into a tussle after Uno starting baying. But they were all on their best behavior.

There were some surreal moments, such as during dinner when there were six dogs under nearby tables, and then I realized it wasn't just any six dogs, but six Westminster champions. Sadie, the current champion, sat at the table next to me and her handler Gabriel and his wife broke down and gave her a bite of the beef tenderloin. Fun stuff.

The events center is really wonderful. There is a huge main exhibition hall, with adjacent coffee shop, deli, restaurant and meeting rooms. Then adjacent to that is a 13,500 square foot grooming area, with 160 grooming stations, all with electrical hookup. Off the grooming area is a dedicated bathing room for the dogs, with six stainless steel tubs set up for left handed groomers, and six for right handed groomers.

Above all the halls is a huge suite-like banquet room, with glass walls overlooking the halls so you can enjoy dinner and watch all the action below.
Ernie Slone
Vice President, Cairn Terrier Club of Southern California

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