Massages, Coffee, Curlers: Secrets of the Dog Show

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Domino, whose kennel area is decorated like the brand of sugar he shares his name with, deserves a little extra care after the year he has had. Last year, Domino was paralyzed after he ruptured a disk jumping out of his crate.

Potash said, "We worked a whole year to bring him back." Wiping tears from her eyes, Potash watched her daughter — armed with a pink hair iron and Static Guard — take Domino for final preparations.

Amid the rows of dogs, vendors and grooming stations, doggie versions of portable potties are scattered. Most dog shows are held outdoors, but Madison Square Garden had to modify its indoor accommodations.

Little aisles of sawdust were gated off, with sheets of plastic guarding against splatter, so that dogs could take care of business.

Except some dogs turned their noses up at using the dusty stalls.

"She says 'this is disgusting!'" said Amelia Gredy of her dog, a whippet name Saltine. "She's used to grass and doesn't like walking in other dogs' waste."

Instead, Satine, walking with an arrogant swagger, troops up and down the concrete streets searching for a patch of grass.

"It's definitely not easy to find grass in New York City. She's still getting her exercise on vacation," said Gredy.

No matter how Satine places in the judging, she seems to be the people's choice.

Strutting down the street in her leopard-print coat, she is stopped "about every 10 steps," Gredy said with a laugh. "She thinks she's all that."

Back outside the judging was under way and Flash, the Shetland sheepdog, with more hair products than a tween, was showing his stuff.

Like a rock star, Flash strutted to the throngs of camera flashes, fans and other dogs. He was led around the green carpet by MacDonald, his handler, who had swapped her backstage apron for a business suit. She brushed his neck and spritzed him with water while rounding the perimeter.

While he ultimately failed to advance to the finals, Flash pranced like a pro and yes, the fur around his collar looked just fine.

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