BYA to host 37th annual youth dog show

By: Brendan Losinski | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published January 29, 2018

 Owner Allison O’Donnell poses with Benny, her Best in Show-winning dog, following the 2017 Birmingham Youth Assistance Dog Show. This year’s show will take place Feb. 4.

Owner Allison O’Donnell poses with Benny, her Best in Show-winning dog, following the 2017 Birmingham Youth Assistance Dog Show. This year’s show will take place Feb. 4.

Photo provided by Carroll DeWeese

BIRMINGHAM — Grab those chew toys, practice those shakes and find the best four-legged outfit: The 37th annual Birmingham Youth Assistance Dog Show is returning to Birmingham.

The dog show, a long-running favorite event for many residents, will take place 1-3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 4. Each year, the show allows local kids to bring their furry friends to compete in a variety of fun categories.

“This is a dog show specially for children age 4 to 14 who can bring their dog to compete in lots of fun categories, like Best Personality, Waggiest Tail and Best Costume,” said Ann Manning, the dog show organizer. “There will be prizes for each of the different categories. Participants also get to take home a goodie bag from Premier Pet Supply, and a $15 admission fee for each dog gets the whole family in for the whole afternoon.”

The event will take place at Berkshire Middle School. Those participating have to check in by 12:30 p.m. There is no cost to attend besides the $15 entrance fee per pet. Participants have to register by Friday, Feb. 2, at www.birminghamyouthassistance.org. They may choose to compete in up to two events.

The prizes for the competition are being provided by Premier Pet Supply in Birmingham. The business and its owner, Mike Palmer, have been longtime sponsors of the dog show. Palmer serves on the organizing committee and will be sitting as a judge for the event.

“We’re also providing the prizes for each of the categories and door prizes for everyone taking part,” said Palmer.

This year’s show will also feature a new competition with a special prize.

“Roop Raj, who was a celebrity judge last year, is starting a new category this year and will be roaming the audience during the show this year and selecting his ‘Roop Doggy Dogg’s Pick of the Litter’ from out of the registered competing dogs, and the winners will get a tour of the Fox 2 studios and get to see them film a news broadcast,” explained Manning.

Besides the kids who will be competing with their pets, there will be a variety of other attractions at the event as well.

“The Southfield Police Department will be bringing their K-9 unit and giving a presentation on what their dogs do. The Southern Michigan Obedience Training Club will also be there showing off some of their obedience training tips. They take untrained dogs there and teach them a trick.”

The dog show will take place shortly before Super Bowl LII. The organizers are hoping this will give people something to do before the game or that it can offer an alternative for people who aren’t football fans.

“With it on Super Bowl Sunday, people are in town with their families, and it’s a great way to break up the day with an enjoyable two-hour event,” said Palmer. “They’ve been doing this for almost 40 years, and I have adults coming to me and (talking) about doing this when they were kids and how they still look forward to it every year with their kids, and I think it’s something every family should check out.”

Manning said she believes the dog show provides something uniquely beneficial to the community and exemplifies the mission of Birmingham Youth Assistance, which is to aid children and strengthen families.

“Seeing little 4- and 5-year-olds leading dogs bigger than they are is always a favorite sight of mine, and I love seeing kids in the creative complementary costumes that they come up with themselves,” said Manning. “Our primary goal is to reduce neglect and abuse of kids, and we also provide counseling to kids facing challenges in their lives. We provide fun family activities, as well, to help bring families together. … (It) is unique to have a dog show where kids can compete against one another in a friendly and sometimes goofy atmosphere. I don’t think there’s anything else like that in the community.”