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How do Westminster Dog Show Participants Travel to New York? With Planning and Plenty of Treats.

How do Westminster Dog Show Participants Travel to New York? With Planning and Plenty of Treats.

The A-listers who traveled to New York this past weekend, gathering for the biggest event of their careers, arrived by car and driver, or on planes surrounded by entourages. They didn’t even carry their own passports, much less pack their kibble or squeaky toys.

Each and every one of them, though, is a very good dog.

Some 2,500 top-ranked dogs are in New York City to compete in this year’s Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Breed judging, the marquee event, will begin on Monday, while several hundred other dogs have already battled it out in events testing agility, obedience and the ability to dive the farthest off a dock.

Getting into the show takes years of training and effort. Getting to the show requires extensive organizing by owners and handlers, who plan hours- or days-long road or plane trips, pack thousands of dollars worth of gear — grooming tables, industrial-strength hair dryers, leashes, collars, toys, kibble and more — and pray that neither delays nor cancellations disrupt their itineraries.

Treats are nonnegotiable.

“I try to stock up on healthy, single-ingredient treats such as freeze-dried duck or freeze-dried liver,” said Shell Lewis, 71, who came to New York with a Russell terrier and a Cairn terrier. On show days, however, her dogs receive “something special and high value.”

“It involves a drive-through McDonald’s to pick up two sausage biscuits — I eat the biscuits, they get the sausage,” she said.

Here’s how a few show dogs, and their entourages, traveled to Westminster.

Spangle, left, is a Russell terrier who competed in Westminster’s agility event. Nora is a Cairn terrier along for the ride. They both like McDonald’s sausages.Credit…Christine Chung/The New York Times

In the United States, accumulating titles at local, regional and national dog competitions require constant driving, with long journeys the norm. Most dogs, their trainers say, are used to the road.

Ms. Lewis drove 14 hours from Geneva, Ill., for Spangle, her 2-year-old Russell terrier, to compete in the agility event (Alas, Spangle was knocked out in the preliminaries.) Ms. Lewis also brought along Nora, her 7-year-old Cairn terrier.

“They haven’t learned to drive yet,” said Ms. Lewis, “but they are excellent travelers.”

Krysthel Moore and Quinnzel, her Border collie, who with a 15-foot jump made it to the finals in dock diving, drove eight hours from their home in Quebec. Quinnzel snoozed most of it, Ms. Moore, 40,…

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