by Winston Chua
San Marino’s own Gail Katz and her dog Benson will be competing at the 138th Annual Westminster Kennel Club All Breed Dog Show in New York City February 10th and 11th.
Katz, a 27-year resident of San Marino, has been showing dogs for 15 of those years. Benson is one of Katz’s three dogs and is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. For those who will be following along with the Westminster events, Benson’s registered name is Briarcrest Burberry.
“Knowing you have a beautiful dog and having judges appreciate what you see in your dogs is the best part about dog training,” said Katz, who puts in about 10 hours per week to train her two toy dogs (the other one’s name is Royce, an obedience dog). In addition, she has a German Shepherd.
There are typically two classes of competition for dogs: obedience and confirmation. Benson will be competing in the confirmation category, a kind of beauty pageant for dogs that is based on both looks and personality.
“I first started training with my German Shepherd,” Katz recounts. “I needed to do obedience training with her because she kept knocking me down.”
Roughly a dozen years later, she has worlds of experience showing dogs in the obedience category; Benson will be competing in the confirmation category in February.
Royce has been competing for three years; Benson has been competing for close to a year and a half.
Benson won a major competition in November in Arizona, qualifying him for Westminster. The upcoming competition will feature around 2,800 dogs, 28 of which are Cavaliers.
In her previous life, Katz was a registered nurse of 36 years, spending the bulk of her career at Huntington’s ICU. Her husband Steven is a vascular surgeon and she has two children, both of whom went through the San Marino school system.
Her son Michael works as a sports reporter and her daughter Tracey works for an educational company that works with the charter schools of California. Katz can be seen walking her dogs about a mile per day around the streets of San Marino.
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