Friday, December 11, 2009

Photo shoots, meet-and-greet, dinner parties ... the life of a star

They say it's not easy being a star. They've never talked to Mandy. As the dad of a diva, I can tell you that little girl can do just fine in the spotlight.

Our blonde bombshell and her canine friend, Poodle, have taken Southern California by storm. Her smile lit up Long Beach, Calif., today as preparations were completed for their appearance in the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship, which begins Saturday.

Mandy, Poodle, and Natalie joined the other winners of the AKC Humane Fund Awards of Canine Excellence for a dinner party Friday night. Poodle is among great company; these are some wonderful dogs that are being honored this week.

I realize that you're not here to read my turns of phrase; you're here for pictures. Here are some snaps Natalie sent back:

Poodle and Mandy on their way to their photo shoot

Poodle doing what she does best. Once a champion, always a champion.

Mandy playing tug-of-war with Sage, the ACE honoree for search and rescue. This border collie from New Mexico has worked jobs from New York City on Sept. 11, 2001, to Aruba, to post-Katrina, to Iraq. Quite a résumé, I'd say.

Mandy and Poodle, ready for the dinner party. (Unfortunately, Poodle wasn't invited to dinner.)

At 7 p.m. PST on Saturday, Natalie, Mandy and Poodle will walk into the ring at the AKC/Eukanaba National Championships to receive Poodle's honor. For those of us who are missing it live, the show will be broadcast several times on Animal Planet starting on Feb. 6. For all the show times, click here.

When I talked to Mandy on the phone this afternoon, I was struck by how much joy I heard in her voice. She's loving this experience, and after the last couple of years, well, it's great to hear a little girl just enjoying being a little girl. Even if she's being a little girl on a big stage.