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'Sweet Spot' With Mike Sugerman: Humans Who Bring Character To The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

"Sweet Spot," by Mike Sugerman

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) New York City is going to the dogs this weekend with the 142nd annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

But it's really the humans who give the event its character.

Mike Sugerman took to the lobby of a big New York hotel that was full of people and dogs this week. Thousands are gathering in the area for the iconic show.

"I've been coming here for 40 years," said Erica Lanasa.

She missed the first 102 shows – but only because she wasn't alive for most of them.

"It's the Olympics of our sport," Lanasa said by way of explanation. "We look forward to it. We make a pilgrimage every year."

So she drives from Florida every year with eight dogs.

Lanasa is one of the humans of the dog show which make it such a colorful event. So is Jerry Grymek.

"I am the doggie concierge in charge of pooch relations at New York's Hotel Pennsylvania," he said.

Grymek even has a nametag identifying him as such.

This week, the Hotel Pennsylvania was a five-paw hotel, as Grymek will tell you. Half the 1,600 rooms had dogs in them this week, and Grymek's job is to cater to them – literally.

"It could be chicken sandwiches; seven cheeseburgers with no onions," he said, "or if someone wanted an opera singer to serenade their dog in the lobby."

Gail Ricany didn't want any of those things, as she invited Sugerman to her room. But she apologized for her blue Merle Pomeranian, Demi.

"She might be a little snippy right now," Ricany said of Demi.

But it turned out Demi was happy to let Ricany show her off in her pageant outfit. It was red and flowing with sparkles.

They will be parading around together like they were at the ball.

"It's like being Cinderella," Ricany said. "I cannot even tell you – the fact that cannot even tell you how – the fact that I get to be blessed to be part of the show with all the amazing people and the animals."

Ricany continued: "I love my doggies. I have three, and like they're my children. And that's how these people are. For them to be dressed up all the time is an everyday occurrence."

The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show runs in various spots throughout New York City until Tuesday. It's fun to watch the humans too.

Find more from the "Sweet Spot" here.


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