NEW YORK, N.Y.— On ordinary days, Mara Flood and her 18-year-old daughter, Becca Flood, interact like any other mother and daughter might, but on days like today, they’re more like colleagues—and rivals. The Floods, who breed and handle smooth collies together, have brought their dogs Cherry (whose full name is SugarNSpice Cherry On Top), Poe (Travler SugarNSpice Witches Do Come Blue), and Tiger (SugarNSpice Hear Me Roar) from Orange County, New York, to Manhattan to compete in Monday’s events at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
Becca and Mara came to Pier 94, on the west side of the city, on Sunday afternoon to set up their dogs’ grooming tables and then have dinner out together in the city (their annual pre-Westminster tradition). Monday’s workday started at 5:30 a.m., when Mara began bathing the dogs and then woke up Becca to ask her to start blow-drying them. And then at noon, the two Floods faced off against each other (and seven other handlers, one of whom was showing Cherry) in the Best of Breed competition, five-year-old Tiger at the end of Mara’s lead and two-year-old Poe at the end of Becca’s.
Mara, whose female dog Gretel won Best of Breed in 2016 at Westminster, wanted to win it again. This time, though, she says, Poe was a little squirrelly in the ring, and Tiger faced stiff competition from the other females. In the end, Tiger and Poe took home the Best of Opposite Sex and Select Dog titles, respectively; in other words, they placed second and third behind the dog who eventually went on to compete in the Herding Group round at Madison Square Garden.
“You’re always hoping to win Best, and you never, until you walk into that ring and get a ribbon, know how it’s gonna go,” Mara said later. “But we’re thrilled with what we got. Our dogs went in there and they showed well, and you can’t ask for more than that.”