Augustana students Mary Kiolbasa and Allie Roehrenbeck sat on the floor at the QCCA Expo Center in Rock Island on Saturday, loving on a dog that happily returned their affection with big, wet kisses to the face.|
"You are so soft," Ms. Kiolbasa cooed.
"You are so sweet! Yes, you are," the Willowbrook, Ill., woman continued, patting its head.
"Yeah!" added Ms. Roehrenbeck, stroking the dog's back.
Out with Augie's new group called the Viking Pups, which is a partner of Pups Assisting with Disabilities, the women were enjoying the Scott County Kennel Club AKC Championship Dog Show going on this weekend at the Expo Center.
Ms. Roehrenbeck, of Columbus, Ohio, said Viking Pups helps to train and socialize therapy and service dogs, raises funds and more.
Ms. Kiolbasa said the group brought puppies it is working with to the PAWD booth at the dog show, which she said has been an excellent chance to socialize them.
"It's awesome," Ms. Roehrenbeck said of the show.
The Center was filled with hundreds of pooches that ranged from tiny balls of fluff to big and lean and everything in between. There were plenty of humans there, too.
Some dogs strutted their stuff in competition while others proved their obedience and ability to recognize their owner's scent. Many also sat nicely on grooming tables while those that were tuckered out slept soundly in crates and kennels.
Kateri Nesbitt and her boyfriend, Travis Mowery, of Davenport, were out to support their dogs' trainer who was showing German Shorthaired Pointers. They have pointers themselves, so they were supporting the breed, too, Ms. Nesbitt said.
The two also enjoy watching the dogs compete in agility, as well as ability to recognize their owner's scent on tiny objects that look similar to small dumbbells, they said.
John Blumer, of Eldridge, brought his 15-year-old daughter, Ashley, to the show because "she's a dog-lover," he said.
The two said they like all dogs and have a Beagle named Harley at home.
Mr. Blumer said he was expecting to see a variety of dogs with "some very loving owners."
"It's really neat," he said.
The Heileman family also came out to see the variety of dogs. Jess and Jessica brought their girls Paige, 9, and Peyton, 4, to hang out with the dogs and attempt to find obedience training for the lab and pitbull mix they just adopted.
That makes three doggies for the family, Ms. Heileman said, adding that the family also has two labs.
Paige said she loves "everything" about dogs. Well, "except that they chew on things," she said.
The family has watched dog shows on TV before, but has never seen one in person.
They figured they'd come out and "see what's going on," Ms. Heileman said.
Renee Cooper, of Urbana, Ill., was out to show her Italian greyhound, Nelli, with her mother, Lucille Becht, of Osco, and her daughter, Morgan.
Ms. Cooper said Nelli is a puppy and learning how to show.
"She loves it," she said, adding that she hopes Nelli gains more experience with the puppy event that was coming up later in the day Saturday.
"It looks easy" to those who are watching, Ms. Cooper said, but essentially, owners are out there with "a little mind of its own on a string."
There are so many things to do and remember, she said. "It's a lot harder than it looks."
Check out the dog show tomorrow
The Scott County Kennel Club AKC Championship Dog Show will continue Sunday from 8 a.m. to about 4:30 p.m. at the QCCA Expo Center, 2621 4th Ave., Rock Island. There will be two obedience and two rally trials, as well as a celebration of veterans. Spectator admission is $5 for ages 12 and older, or $10 per family.
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