How JetBlue Almost Ruined My Date with 160 Dogs

Over the weekend I found myself at the Javits Center in New York City for the third annual Meet the Breeds convention, a two-day event...


Over the weekend I found myself at the Javits Center in New York City for the third annual Meet the Breeds convention, a two-day event hosted by the American Kennel Club wherein the general public gets to rub elbows with some 160 dog breeds and around 50 kinds of cats.

I was excited about the opportunity to attend (thanks, AKC, for the full-access press pass!) because some breeds I’d only ogled via the Internet would be there in the fur. It’s no secret that this editor is wild about sighthounds, and on the list for the convention was the Cirneco Dell’etna — a breed so rare there are only 11 dogs of this variety listed on Dogster. I planned to make a beeline for that booth and get some Cirneco love.

I would also get the chance to hug Greyhounds, Whippets, Scottish Deerhounds, Italian Greyhounds, and Salukis. Hugging cute dogs is what I live for, obviously, so this was exciting stuff.

But anyway, the magical puppy-centric weekend I’d planned in my head almost blew up in my face because of the jerks at JetBlue. When my flight to JFK from San Francisco was delayed an hour, I didn’t bat an eye because most JetBlue flights take off late, but then, after three hours in the air, we were told that technical difficulties would force us to backtrack and land in Vegas, an hour and a half backwards.

When we got there, it took another hour to switch planes. While on the ground, we passengers were scratching our heads, wondering why the airline didn’t just go straight to New York with that hour and a half it took to get to Vegas. And we scratched our heads further when we noticed the “dangerous” plane we had evacuated was being filled with passengers for some other flight straightaway. Really, I will never understand.

All told, the delays and detours added around eight hours to the ordeal and I found myself groggy and defeated at JFK airport at 5 a.m. But hey, there’s no cure for a craptastic flight like 160 breeds of cute dogs, right? Here are some of the sweet critters we met at the convention:

You should have heard me shrieking in delight at the Italian Greyhound booth … it really wasn’t womanly. I met a little girl named Star (not pictured) who has been on Dogster for more than four years! I didn’t get the names of these little angels in their fancy pen, but check out those rhinestone collars!

When I reflect on the trip, I think the real reason I made it out to NYC was to meet (and pet!) this little Xolo puppy. You need to meet one in your lifetime. This little dear was grateful for the blanket and I was grateful for the chance to stare into those sweet little eyes! I am freaking out just looking at this picture, please excuse me.

The Cairn Terrier booth was a blast. In a nod to Toto, the entire booth was decked out in Wizard of Oz awesomeness. And Joyce, the breeder pictured, was kind enough to give us the lowdown on the breed, which we learned was meant to hunt vermin.

The Bulldog booth was one of the first ones I approached upon entry. I wanted to interview one of the breeders on camera, but she was all “I’m with the AKC, who are you with!?” and when I pointed to my all-access pass she still gruffly declined. This is going to sound really mean, but there was a sign at the Bulldog booth that had a picture of a Bully with the words “Built Like a Mack Truck” on it. Incidentally, all the ladies at the booth were similarly built (see photographic evidence above).

The Saluki booth made me happy to be alive. You hear so much about these dogs having a high prey drive, but the specimens at the event were lounging around, enjoying the attention lavished on them by visitors.

I met my beloved Cirneco Dell’etna at last and the breed was everything I dreamed of — sweet, smart, gorgeous. Sigh. I’ll take three!

I chatted up a Minibull breeder (not pictured) and asked her if it was true that the breed can only manage C-section births. She confirmed this but told me about some anomalies, including this pup’s grandmother, who managed a normal litter. The little tank pictured was strong but so very affectionate — he smudged my camera with his nose and covered my arm in kisses!

Here’s another breed I got to meet for the first time — a Keeshond! These guys are so friendly and by George, their fur feels like cotton candy!

While walking around, I ran into the Adventure Pups, a pair of Shih Tzus that like to travel with their equally cute parents. But theirs is another tale for another time.

And no collection of breed photos would be complete without a stately Greyhound. I think this one could be a rescue (not sure).

This Chow was a huge favorite. I had to get through a dozen camera-wielding fans to snap this picture.

This Dalmatian breeder is my new hero. Loyal to her breed and proud of her spots!

The Scottish Deerhounds thought the convention was a snooze. (All three of them were zonked out in their donut beds.)

And this mop of a dog was there to clean up afterwards. (I kid!)

So, humor me: What breed would you like to meet?

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