I was irritated to learn last night that Mario Lopez has been asked to co-host the 134th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show this year. Let’s think about this for a minute. This is the one hundred-thirty-fourth year of the famous dog show. It is the second longest consecutively held sporting event in the US (only the Kentucky Derby has been held longer). Yes, it is “just a dog show” but there are a lot of people who take it seriously and spend lots of time and money to get to Madison Square Garden, whether it is a dog owner, breeder, handler, trainer, judge, groomer, or audience member. And this is who they want to be the face and voice of the show?
Now, me? I love the WKC dog show. I consider it my version of the World Series (the Oscar ceremony is my Super Bowl). But – I just watch for the dogs. I tend to prefer mutts and rescue dogs so I have no goal of ever being more than an audience member (which I did once and want to do again). I love seeing all the dogs and often end up tearing up just watching them prance around the ring and hearing the voice over about the history and temperament of the various breeds.
I also really love the philanthropic side of the WKC. The organization supports a variety of charities and non-profits such as animal rescue groups, therapy animals, future veterinarians, and guide/assistance dogs. I was a sobbing mess when they honored all the dogs that worked at Ground Zero after 9/11 and the one police dog that died in the attack. Even the Pedigree dog food commercials voiced by David Duchovny that tend to run during the show make me cry.
I feel like the WKC and the dog show are a long-running, honorable tradition, and Mario Lopez cheapens it. I am sure there are Lopez fans out there, and I imagine he is a nice enough guy, but he is a “celebrity” known for hosting things like ridiculous reality shows, junky celeb news shows, and silly talk shows. If USA hired him in hopes of getting better ratings, I can’t imagine this is really the right move; it’s not like he has a rabid fan base like Twilight or something similar. The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is not Dancing With the Stars, and it deserves better.