11 Real-Talk Confessions Of A Dog Pageant Judge

Written by: Lisa Bernier

September 30, 2015

Early this fall, BarkPost was invited to help preside over the 3rd Annual Rusty Nail Dog Pageant. Yes, that’s right: a dog pageant.

Needless to say, were so there because a) it’s a dog pageant, b) the host, The Rusty Nail, is one of the most dog-friendly properties in Cape May (and open seasonally through October 12th), and c) IT’S A DOG PAGEANT.


‘Nuff said.

Here are 11 secrets we just have to spill now that we’ve pawficially been on the other side of that Miss Anmeripaw table. 😉

1.Forget wanting to save the world, these dogs ARE.


At least, the doge world! Each year, the pageant is hosted to raise awareness and donations for the Animal Outreach of Cape May. This year, over $3,200.00 was raised by the event (which was open and free to the public). Plus, the contestants are all about rescue themselves. One of them in particular, a gorgeous Keeshond named Kirby, works with his parents and doge sister to free other Keeshonds from the very same puppy mill they were rescued.

2.The outfits are as fabulous as you think they’d be.


One of the judging rounds? Best costume, and boy did these pups bring it! From clever to cute to just plain dazzling, it was pup after pup with their costume game on fleek.

3. There’s tricks. And then there’s TRICKS.


One of the contestants, a Goldie named Jackson, is not only handsome and a certified therapy dog at Rider University, he can read. Like, actual hooman words.

4. But there was strong walk-on talent too.


In the audience, we found three pups who wowed the crowd with THEIR tricks in the smartest dog competition, where they just walked on and owned it.

5.Everyone cries. Even the judges.


Especially when the pup parent of last year’s winner, Ron Chivarella, Jr., presented the Animal Outreach with a donation check of $2500! Sadly Bella passed away in December, so Ron spearheaded a crowdfunding campaign in her memory to donate to the shelter this year. Yes, you can cry too (we all did).

6.You can’t hate the playa, hate the game.

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Especially when the game is a version of dog musical chairs and it’s cutthroat to see who will win the round. Some pups took it suuuupper seriously. Some not so much. 😉

7. Some pups get so into it, they try to walk-on.


Sorry Terrier, maybe next year.

8. Really, all the pups are winners.


I mean, c’mon. There’s not an un-fabulous fuzzbutt in the bunch!

9. But since there did have to be a pawfficial one…


The crown went to Goldie Jackson who wowed the crowd with his style, smarts, and sass!

10. Not just the contestants know how glamourpup.


Like this pup, who, after the ceremony wrapped up, rolled out in style.

11.The after-pawties are wild.


One weird wiener came back to her hooman with a Playboy Bunny bejeweled on her bottom. Need we say more?

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Written by: Lisa Bernier

September 30, 2015

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