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AT LAST, A SHOW FOR DOWNSCALE DOGS.

Byline: DENNIS McCARTHY

So, where is it written that only purebred dogs get the blue ribbons and airtime? What about the mutts?

Those lovable, stubborn, indeterminate breeds that run our lives and never listen to a word we say unless there's food involved.

So what if they're scruffy, overweight and waddle instead of strut while pulling us down the street on their morning walk. Big deal that they refuse to sit and heel until we buy them off with a treat.

No, Bobby Dorafshar's right. Mutts have been getting short shrift for way too long. They deserve their own show, like the purebreds at Westminster.

That's exactly what Dorafshar, founder of New Leash on Life Animal Rescue in Newhall, thought a few years ago as he walked out of a movie theater after seeing ``Best in Show.''

The dogs he and his volunteers were rescuing were far from the best of any show, but each had its own talents and charm.

It wasn't the dog's appearance or how well it listened to commands that made it special. It was having someone who loved it for exactly what it was - a mutt.

``We decided to have a dog show that was the exact opposite of the American Kennel (Club) show,'' he said Thursday as he prepared for the fourth annual Nuts for Mutts Dog Show, set for March 20 at Pierce College in Woodland Hills.

``Animal Planet,'' a cable TV network, is taping the event for future airing, and all proceeds will go to animal rescue and promoting people to adopt animals from shelters.

Only nonaggressive, mixed breeds - no purebreds - that have been spayed or neutered can enter the show, in such categories as Best Kisser, Fastest Eater, Worst Breath.

You get the idea. Fun categories. This mutt show isn't serious and stuffy like Westminster.

Last year, Claire Dore's 8-year-old border collie mix, Dana, won Best in Show after winning the Best Trick category for jumping rope and climbing a ladder.

``I got her from a rescue, and we just fell in love,'' the 25-year-old Antelope Valley woman said. ``We began spending so much time together that I started teaching her tricks as a hobby.

``When a friend told me about the show, I thought it would be fun to bring Dana and see how she'd do. I never imagined she'd win anything, let alone Best in Show.''

That's how it is with mutts, Bobby says. You just never know what kind of hidden talent lurks in their shady backgrounds.

For more information on entering your mixed breed in the Nuts for Mutts Dog Show and Pet Fair, log on to www.nutsformutts.com. Or call the New Leash on Life Animal Rescue offices at (661) 255-0097.

Dennis McCarthy, (818) 713-3749

dennis.mccarthy(at)dailynews.com
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Mar 4, 2005
Words:465
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