Every dog’s a king at Crownpoint dog show

Two dogs hog picture as handler wrestles one of them.

Navajo Times | Ravonelle Yazzie
Squirt, left, proudly sits with his first-place ribbon at the Crownpoint Dog Show on Oct. 22.


Dog stands on box with fur sticking up, while two girls stand behind it.

Navajo Times | Ravonelle Yazzie
Iinanibah, 10, and Haniibah, 7, pose with their dog Narin at the Crownpoint Dog Show on Sunday.

Ainsley’s owner was about to abandon her at the dump when a good Samaritan intervened and took her home.

Matted and starving, Squirt was minutes away from euthanasia at the Many Farms animal shelter. Pip was almost hairless from mange when her rescuer saw her in the road on her way to work and scooped her up. Oscar had a broken leg and was caught in a barbed-wire fence, coyotes howling in the distance.

None of them are the kind of dogs the American Kennel Club would look twice at. But at the Crownpoint Dog Show Saturday, they were all winners.

The annual event had been on hiatus in recent years after its founder, audiologist and animal rescuer Mary Vitt, took a job off the reservation. She came back this year and resurrected the show, since she feels there’s still a need for it, based on the number of neglected dogs she sees across the reservation.

“What I’m trying to do is get people to take pride in their animals,” Vitt explained. “If they see the value in them, hopefully they’ll take better care of them.”

To some extent, the show is howling to the choir. The canines that showed up all looked exceptionally well cared for (and in several cases, well dressed in cute sweaters and costumes).

Almost all the owners interviewed said their pets were fixed and up-to-date on their shots, thanks largely to the nearby Navajo Technical University veterinary clinic.

“I wanted to come just to see some dogs that were being taken care of,” said Ainsley’s owner, Jason Joe, who added that his wiry-haired Chihuahua cross had helped him get over post-traumatic stress syndrome. “I see so many dogs in bad shape around here.”

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Categories: Community

About Author

Cindy Yurth

Cindy Yurth is the Tséyi' Bureau reporter, covering the Central Agency of the Navajo Nation. Her other beats include agriculture and Arizona state politics. She holds a bachelor’s degree in technical journalism from Colorado State University with a cognate in geology. She has been in the news business since 1980 and with the Navajo Times since 2005, and is the author of “Exploring the Navajo Nation Chapter by Chapter.” She can be reached at cyurth@navajotimes.com.