Cassie, my eight-year-old Chesapeake Bay retriever, and I were both pleased to see that Stump, a ten-year-old Sussex spaniel, won the Westminster dog show last night. Both she and I are retired show dogs (in this context the term "bitch" is entirely appropriate), which Stump was for a few years, and his handler did little to prepare him for the event.
It's the equivalent of me deciding to compete in this year's Miss America pageant - not that I'd want to (I hate the taste of smile-enhancing Vaseline) nor that I could (their current age cutoff is 24). But it's nice to know that, though dog shows are absurd (just like Best in Show) and a playground for scary eugenics, at least they don't discriminate on the basis of age.
One of Cassie's seven-year-old cousins won Best of Breed. Here she is (fourth from front) at Westminster, handled by Cassie's vet and breeder:
(Photo from The New York Times' Westminster slideshow.)