Excitement was in the air on Level 6 of Bloomingdales on Thursday night, February 7, when Ch Palacegarden Malachy, winner of Best in Show at the 136th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in 2012, made himself available to pose for photographs with his adoring fans, including me.
Malachy and his constant companion, David Fitzpatrick, were infinitely gracious, warmly welcoming each fan and helping them feel at home during the photo shoot. One would never know one was rubbing elbows with dog show royalty from Mr. Fitzpatrick's easy manner and genuine enjoyment at meeting each of Malachy's fans.
Photography services were provided by dirty sugar. Each person photographed received a print of the photo at the event (I intend to frame mine and wish I had thought to ask Mr. Fitzpatrick to sign it!) and can purchase additional prints from the dirty sugar website. The photos may be downloaded for a fee, for personal use only.
Dog trainer Deborah Bonardi of Good Dog U, Inc. worked with Mr. Fitzpatrick to help Malachy look his best in each photo.
It is easy to underestimate the amount of self control that Malachy's task required: he was comfortably poised atop a white column, lying down facing the camera, with Mr. Fitzpatrick's comforting hand resting lightly on his back. Malachy was in a new environment meeting a parade of new people, each of whom was coming very close to him and a person he values very much (Mr. Fitzpatrick) in a situation in which he had no opportunity to move away. Add to that the flash of the camera (which he is likely used to by now but may still be a bit unnerving) and the length of time (over an hour) and it is a lot to ask of any dog. Malachy, to all appearances, seemed to do quite well.
It was a bit distressing to hear some of the passersby comment that they would like to trade their jobs for his because it is so easy. Although some people may disagree, I beg to differ. When species differences are accounted for, I think that Malachy's job is very demanding indeed and he performs it with great poise.