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Northampton group’s dog show gears up for seventh year

“I look at their teeth very carefully. I saw it done once at the Westminster dog show and the judge looked very studious,” Fleishman joked this week.

She is one of the judges for an event called “March Forth with Your Dog — Not Your Typical Dog Show,” planned for Saturday at Northampton High School.

Fleishman has more criteria that she looks for in children attending: “animated smiles, hope and bright, young faces.” A parent of students in the Northampton schools and a school volunteer, Fleishman has been a judge for each of the seven years the event has been held as a fundraiser for Volunteers in Northampton Schools Inc. Each year the show has only become “more fun, it’s only gotten more popular,” she said.

The dog show will be held from 12:30 to 3 p.m. in the Northampton High School gymnasium.

Last year, the dog show raised more than $5,000 for the organization, which is a nonprofit that recruits and places volunteers in Northampton public schools by request of teachers. More than 300 people attended and about 100 dogs competed in categories ranging from Best Smile to Fastest Tail Wagger.

Susan McCreary, the VINS board member coordinating the dog show, noted that “competing is a loose word.”

“If you are looking for something serious, you don’t want to come to the VINS dog show,” McCreary said.

Lynn Barclay, VINS coordinator, said the show gives participants “a chance to show off their dog, how beautiful or clever or funny their dog is.”

And for the onlookers, well, “it is hilarious,” she said.

As for the dogs, McCreary said, “They love it, they don’t even realize they are competing.”

Stan Pollak of Florence has attended the dog show several times, entering his dogs Syndey and Dice. Syndey is the reigning champion of the Most Obedient category, while Dice holds the title of A Pooch Who Can Smooch, he said. Pollak says that his favorite part is the fetching competition.

“It’s so comical. Dogs take off into the audience or just sit there,” he said. The event is also a great place to meet other dog owners, he said.

It is suggested that participants pre-register because categories fill up quickly. The cost to register is $8 by Feb. 29, and $12 after that date and on the day of the show. Admission is free, but donations are accepted. Admission for non-competing dogs is $5.

The Most Photogenic category requires owners to submit a favorite photo of their dog. Pictures must be accompanied by a registration form and mailed to VINS, 498 Ryan Road, Florence, MA 01062.

In addition to watching dogs show off their best outfits, there will be vendors with pet-related items for sale and information pertaining to pet services, refreshments and a silent auction.

For more information, or to request a registration form, contact Lynn Barclay at 587-1332, visit vins.northampton-k12.us or email vinsvolunteer@gmail.com.

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