COLUMN:Yeah, but can she sniff crotches?

Tim Paluch

The 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team. The 2001 New England Patriots. The 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks. Harry Truman. Upsets of amazing proportions are remembered for many a years. And after last Tuesday, you can add a new name to that list – Surrey Spice Girl.

Surrey Spice Girl, a three-year-old miniature poodle, pulled the upset victory in the 126th annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden in New York. The win surprised everyone, including the favorite, a Kerry Blue Terrier named Torums Scarf Michael. “Mick,” as the dog is known, is appealing the decision to the International Olympic Committee, asking for a gold medal in pairs figure skating and a lifetime supply of Snausages. The Snausages, he claims, are merely for punitive damages suffered after the defeat.

Dog shows are interesting to watch. Sure, it may not be a “sport” you’d sit down with a 12-pack and watch with the fellas – like anything involving Anna Kournikova or professional wrestling – but it’s a sport nonetheless. After all, I saw highlights on “Sportscenter.” And the word “Sport” is right there in the title of that show.

So, on the assumption that it is indeed a “sport,” dog shows are certainly the only sport where yelling “bitch” at the athlete won’t get you a technical foul or a penalty. Male dogs are called “dogs.” Female dogs, however, are called “bitches.” It’s no wonder these events are sponsored by hip-hop album labels.

Surrey Spice Girl was flawless in her surprise win. Or, as Eminem would put it, “that `bitch’ had it goin’ on.”

With the victory, Surrey Spice Girl will be retired. Her owners, Ron and Barbara Scott of Mechanicsburg, Pa., plan to allow her to breed. Or, as Eminem would put it, “that `bitch’ gonna get some.”

The sport of dog showing is immensely popular. More than 10,000 people were in attendance at Madison Square Garden at last week’s event. There is even an American Kennel Club Hall of Fame. On Feb. 13, the year’s new dogs were inducted, in the categories of service, obedience, field trials and media. They will take their place next to the great dogs of the past, like Marmaduke and that dog from “Turner and Hooch.”

I watched a bit of the event, and got to thinking, how hard could this be? Why can’t I be on television dragging a dog around a table full of old white people in suits? I seemingly had all the qualifications:

1. A dog

2. A choke chain

But apparently, you need more than that. Dog shows like Westminster are too exclusive. In fact, they’re downright racist. Who’s to say that my dog back home – Duke, a 65-pound, nine-year-old, half German Shepard, half Chow – can’t compete because he’s a “mixed breed?” Who knows? Duke could very well dominate the dog show world. If they only give him the chance.

Apparently, these fancy fascist show dogs have “specialties,” a fancy fascist show dog word for “tricks.” Some dogs ride a bicycle backwards while juggling. Others can recite the state capitals in backwards alphabetical order. Duke’s specialty is eating styrofoam out of a trash can. His dry-wall chewing skills aren’t too shabby either.

I’ve taught Duke much in my years. He’ll bark at the mailman on command. He’ll bark at the mailbox all on his own. And he’ll usually stop biting if you just swallow your pride and let him have the last slice of pizza.

I’m confident he’d give dogs like Surrey Spice Girl a run for their fancy fascist show dog money. If for nothing else, because his name is “Duke,” and they have names like “Surrey Spice Girl,” “Blossom Hill Full Circle” and “Otley’s English Gent.” Judging from the names, there’s a good chance these dogs were getting swirlies in obedience school. What were their parents thinking?

Vetinarian: It’s a boy.

Papa Dog: Sniff his butt to make sure it’s mine.

Mama Dog: What shall we name him?

Papa Dog: Let’s see killer; Killer, Lucifer, Bear, Zeus .

Mama Dog: No, I think we’ll go with Otley’s English Gent.

I can see it now. I’d show up with my “My dog can beat up your fancy fascist show dog” bumper sticker. Final day of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. As the judge circles the finalists, the play-by-play announcers chime in:

“Princess Margaret’s Opera Glasses, a Scottish terrier, will most likely take the crown this year. The judge appears to have made his decision .”

“But wait! Duke, that mangly mutt from Illinois, has somehow gotten back into the building. And he appears quite angry about his early-round departure.”

“Didn’t they put him to sleep after he ate Surrey Spice Girl?”

“Duke is humping Princess Margaret’s Opera Glasses! I repeat, Duke is humping Princess Margaret’s Opera Glasses! I have never seen anything like this before.”

“Poor Princess Margaret’s Opera Glasses. Just days away from retirement.”

I have a feeling, though, that Eminem might put it differently.

Tim Paluch is a junior in journalism and mass communication from Orland Park, Ill. He is opinion editor of the Daily.