Dog show marks milestone for local owners recovering from flood

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Jennifer Bell has been competing in dog shows for 21 years, so she really knows her way around the ring.

But this show in particular is very special to her... it's almost one year since her, and many of her competitors, went through the chaos of the August flood. Jennifer and her husband spent the first week saving dogs, and sometimes, their owners.

"Dog crates, dog leashes, people lost everything," Bell said. "Everything it took to take their dogs to a dog show. So this show being here this week is really exciting for the local owners especially, because they're able to come and show their dogs and not have to worry at home about not having the things they need to get into the dog show ring."

600 dogs competed in the annual Pelican Cluster Dog Show at the Lamar Dixon Expo Center - a fitting venue, given this was where many stray animals were housed after last summer's disaster.

Around 200 dogs are from Louisiana, including two pups owned by Greg and Dee Jones.

The Jones' are from Baton Rouge, and they say dog show competitors really came together after the flood, not just to help each other financially, but also to offer emotional support.

"We can be fierce competitors," Jones said. "But most of the time, we'll be out to dinner afterwards together or sometimes we'll host a party for our breed competitors because we all share the passion and the love of the breed."

Dog owners say there's still a long road ahead, but competing in this show is a great step.

Officials say Gonzales is a great host city, and they plan on coming back to his spot again... something local owners are looking forward to.

"They've been great to work with, a lot of space," Brown said. "The area itself has a lot of hotels, a lot of restaurants. So it's really a good venue and we're planning on coming back."

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