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Westminster Dog Show rookies head to New York

Dogs like Kol and Rassa, two energetic fur balls from a Vashon Island, Wash. farm, have never been seen before at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.  That’s because in the 135 year history of the competition, Icelandic Sheepdogs have never competed.  Kol and Rassa’s owners, Donna McDermott and her partner Terry Warnock are going to change that.  


Two Vashon Island, Wash., women and their Icelandic Sheepdogs head from the farm to New York City for the 135th Westminster Dog Show.

McDermott and Warnock are packing up their dogs and leaving their farm on an island a ferry ride away from Seattle and heading for the Big Apple for their first Westminster experience.  "We've heard that it's crazy," Warnock says, "there are so many dogs and it's such a big dog show and it's in NYC and there's not really any outside area or places for the dogs to go run."

The women, both retired probation officers, stumbled into dog shows.  When Kol was a puppy, McDermott used to take her to work at a juvenile correction center in California.  "She was trained by the juvenile hall girls and we accidentally got into showing because we trained her to do tricks," McDermott recalls.   "Then they begged me to take her to a show, so I took her to a show and she won a little blue ribbon. So then I took her to another show and then I got the bug."

McDermott and Warnock say they have mixed feelings about the upcoming show. "I've never been to NYC so i'm actually a little nervous about, it," says McDermott. "We've heard there's just people everywhere you go and we'll be right down in Madison Square Garden.  We've heard when you go outside you kind of get mobbed and I think it's going to be a really fun adventure and I also think we'll be very happy to get back home."

Msnbc.com will be following Donna McDermott, Terry Warnock and their dogs Kol and Rassa as they arrive in NYC and head to the dog show.  We’ll also be filing regular updates from other stuff happening behind the scenes at Westminster right here in Photoblog.