144th Westminster Dog Show: Featuring Youthful Dr. Pol and the Ancient Azawakh!

New York City was minus one pier for the 2020 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. But that hasn’t stopped the club from keeping the flow moving over an added day of events at Pier 94. 

Pier 92 was disabled last year when a cruise ship made contact with it, causing the loss of its use as an adjoining Pier for the show.

This, plus record ticket sales and capacity crowds made a tight squeeze for members of the press, and long lines for the restrooms. But the dogs didn’t notice a single difference! Over 2000 grand champion canines participate over four days in Masters Agility, Conformation, and Masters Obedience events in the daytime at Pier 94 and during two nights of Group and Best in Show judging at Madison Square Garden.

144th Westminster Dog Show: Featuring Youthful Dr. Pol and the ancient Azawakh!

West African Sighthound Azawakh

144th Westminster Dog Show: West African Sighthound Azawakh

The new breed featured for the first time at Westminster is actually very ancient, the West African Sighthound Azawakh.

It is lightning fast, exceeding the speed of a greyhound, with a deep chest and lean body. Three Azawakh I met in the benching area were lovely, with beautiful eyes and an elegant presence.

The coat is smooth and fine, in any color or color combination. Height at the withers is 23-27.5 inches for bitches and 25 -29 inches for males. Weight is 40-50 pounds and life expectancy….well; it depends on who you ask! The breeders I met in the benching area told me 15-18 years and the AKC lists is as 12 -15.  The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle.

The photo of the standing Azawakh was today’s winner of the breed showing. The other 2 were beautiful but very tired after showing so I hesitated to ask their handlers to take them out, and visited with them while taking photos in their crates. Their lovely temperament is evident in pairs of soulful eyes looking back at me.

144th Westminster Dog Show: West African Sighthound Azawakh

Dr. Jan Pol

Another youthful soul at age 77, Dr. Jan Pol, star of The Incredible Dr. Pol on Nat Geo Wild. Its 15th season, was at the show on Saturday and Sunday, with his wife Diane.

They greeted long lines of adoring fans each day for about 2 hours. His PR specialist was kind enough to allow me a few minutes with them, for a mini-interview, and I knew I had to select my questions very carefully due to the limited amount of time.

“How do you manage to stay so youthful and strong?” “Work, he replied…lots of work” while he and Diane laughed. Viewers of his show can tell Dr. Pol enjoys his work and family, which is one of the many reasons he is so beloved.  

Dr. Pol’s new line of pet food products

I then asked him about the new line of pet food products he is launching and his head whipped around “you know about that!” (He seemed surprised and pleased) Before I could open my mouth again, he looked me right in the eye, pointed his finger for emphasis and said “I want you to know that all of the products are manufactured and packaged in America, in Sioux City, Iowa from Consumers Supply Animal Nutrition (with corporate offices in North Sioux City South Dakota). The products are distributed from a warehouse in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Each begins with a single source of animal protein with nutrients from other sources built around it.

The line covers food for dogs, cats, chickens, rabbits, goats, and horses.  The food is clean, affordable, practical and no-nonsense, just like Dr. Pol’s philosophy to veterinary care. 

Dr. Jan Pol

There is no meat meal, no by-products, no corn, wheat, soy or GMO.  The main ingredients are chicken, salmon, sweet potatoes, green lentils, tapioca, peas, brown rice, pearled barley, chicken fat, pumpkin, carrots, and spinach, plus digestive pre and probiotics. 

“I have a horse patient with terrible gas, bloat, and digestion issues and since we’ve started him on the food line, you should see how well he is doing!” exclaimed Dr. Pol. He is planning to add other livestock feed products, but some of these are not quite ready for distribution as he is working with the manufacturer to finalize ingredients. 

Digestion the key to health

Dr. Pol knows how important digestion is for all animals, especially ungulates that are ruminators and herbivores with a single stomach such as horses. Therefore special attention has been given to add amino acids, vitamins, and minerals to improve digestive comfort and reduce choke.  The chicken feed is cooked into unique shapes that help increase food intake and facilitate digestion. Rabbit food contains alfalfa in special pearls of food content.  

We were out of time but I had to mention the fact that I am an adopted child and love that their son Charles is too. Diane squeezed my arm and beamed…”all three of our children are! ”thrilled to share that joy. I blurted  “God Bless you both”…as my thoughts were only of how special these two people are and my hope that they have many more years on the planet to enjoy their family, help animals and entertain pet lovers everywhere. Dr. Pol grinned and patted my shoulder saying “That’s what I want to hear….thank you!” I certainly felt blessed to have the opportunity to chat with the very incredible team of Dr. Jan and Mrs. Diane Pol!

Related articles:
Canine Toplines and How They Translate to Function
Dr. Michelle Oakley: Yukon Vet Tackles Westminster with Ease and Grace
143rd Westminster Dog Show: An Old Hound, A New Hound, and a ‘Coy-ker-I can’t-pronounce- it-hond’!

Further reading:
Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Photo Galleries

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