Hanine El Mir
Senior Staff Writer
The animal welfare NGO BETA – Beirut for the Ethical Treatment of Animals – hosted its 10th annual dog show on Sunday, June 18. It took place in one of Beirut’s very few remaining green spaces, the Sioufi garden.
The event served as a small fundraiser for the NGO’s shelter, all while bringing together animal lovers to experience the happiness petting a dog could bring. In addition, some of the dogs who were competing were entered by the NGO in hopes of getting them adopted.
In the upper part of the park, the organisation had set up a small food court made of stands that were selling Lebanese flatbreads, sweet crepes, orange juice, and dog treats. Downstairs, some stands were selling dog accessories as well as t-shirts and jewellery for people. Money made from the sales of the accessories went to the NGO.
Al Wadi Al Akhdar, a sponsor of the event, had two stands with a tasting game where participants could win jars of jams and chocolate spread.
The show was hosted by radio personality Olga Habre alongside two BETA volunteers, one of whom also took on the role of DJ.
The competition consisted of nine categories, and people were permitted to register their pets in one or more. Three winners were to be chosen from each category which would result in a total of 27 winners.
First prize winners got a trophy, a bag of Friskies dog food, and a grooming session courtesy of DoGroom each. Second and third prize winners each got smaller trophies and Purina dog treats.
The competition opened with the category for Best Senior, for dogs over seven years old. The winner, Carlito was an 18-year-old rescue, adopted from BETA. Lucy, 14 years old, came in second place, and Diego came in third. To shift gears completely, the second category was Cutest Puppy, for dogs between four months and one year old, won by Pepper, Sam and Rocky.
The third category was Special Needs. Dogs with disabilities have less chances of getting adopted even though they are fully capable of loving their humans just as much as “perfect” dogs. Some people find them uglier or worry that they might require extra care so they often don’t consider adopting them.
This category had only two contestants, Iris and Moet. Iris, is a 4-year-old mixed dog adopted from BETA, was shot on the streets and had to have her back right leg amputated. She can only use her two left legs. Moet is 11 months old with a dislocated shoulder from an accident. Iris won first place and Moet won second.
Next came Arminell Von Nachstenliebe in a superhero costume, who won first place in the category Best Dressed. Jordi in a pink dress came second, and Scooby Doo dressed in a frog costume came third.
Found, a two-year-old Bichon, won first place in Most Beautiful Female under 15 kilograms. Cookie, a three-year-old adopted from BETA, came second while Zara, a one-year-old Chihuahua, came third.
Most Beautiful Female over 15 kilograms was dominated by the Chow Chows. Snowy, a black Chow Chow came first, while Dubbie, a blonde Chow Chow came second, and Sasha, Chow Chow, and Stella, white Labrador, tied in third place.
The sixth category was the perfect mixed breed. Usually mixed dogs, commonly referred to negatively as mutts, have less chances of being adopted from shelters, and even less at being sold in pet shops, due to the prestigious reputation that comes with having a purebred dog. This category aimed to break misconceptions around mixed dogs being ugly or not good enough.
This category’s first place was awarded to Nova, a 4-year-old who had lost her previous guardians. Her current guardian adopted her almost a year ago from BETA. Callie and Mimbo, Husky mixes, tied in second place, while rescue dog Hoover placed in third.
Zeus, a Shiba Inu, won first place in Most Beautiful Male under 15 kilograms. Dobbie, a cavalier, and Teddy, a toy Poodle, tied for second place while Luxo won third.
The last category had three dogs tied for the first place of Most Beautiful Male over 15 kilograms: Casper, a Swiss Shepherd, King, a German Shepherd, and Hogan. Alexander, a Husky, came second and Arminell was a winner again as he came third.
BETA’s dog shelter in Hazmieh is open for visitors all weekdays, for those who wish to spend some time playing with the dogs or those who hope to one day find their perfect match to adopt.