Those Lazy, Hazy, Dog Days of Summer

Santa Barbara Kennel Club (SBKC) recently hosted a three-day show with over 1600 dogs, along with their owners, handlers, trainers and judges for a grand doggie “do” at Earl Warren Showground. There was a lot of barking going on with 170 breeds represented.

The SBKC was founded more than 87 years ago and was the premier West Coast Show. The first show was held in August 1919 in The Palm Arena of the Belvedere Hotel. Only 38 breeds were judged at that show with Boston Terriers the largest entry. In the past, there were also shows at the Polo Club and in Hope Ranch. The present Club is rededicated to bringing back the prestige of a time when there were 4,000 entries. It’s working; there were 300 more canine entries this year than last. Besides Santa Barbara being a great venue, there are quality judges.

Leading SBKC is President Abbe Shaw with Carol Scott as Vice President. Carol was also Co-Chair along with Kathleen Wathen of the Judges and Patrons dinner at Ennisbrook Clubhouse in Montecito. All the splendid dog trophies form the centerpieces. It’s a lively, sometimes raucous, group of fun people.

This Sunday afternoon we started with an al fresco lunch for the judges and patrons under umbrellas in a grassy area. Speaking of grass, the SBKC lays down sod over the entire arena, which costs thousands of dollars. Some of the membership is Anita O’Berg, Charles Hamilton, Jean Austin, Ken Linberg, Richard Meen, MD, Show Chair David Powers, Assistant Charles Hamilton, Obedience Ray Gates and Match Chair Margie Hamilton.

The afternoons are reserved for the groups such as Terriers, Working, Herding, Toy, etc. The best of each group then competes in The Best of Show for that day. There’s lots of cheering and clapping for individual doggie favorites. My husband, Don, played his own private betting game with himself on who would win. We were honored to present the Best Group Award for the Toys. The high point of the day was Best of Show won by a Scottish Deerhound named Quija, from Walla Walla, Washington (I lived in the teeny town of Dayton, 30 miles from Walla Walla for half my childhood—now it’s famous for onions). This breed of dog is rare and there was only one in the local show.

Patrons have ringside seats under a tented roof and are served hors d’oeuvres and wine. A very civilized way to spend an afternoon! The SBKC also encourages responsible ownership and educates the public about the important roles canine companions play in our everyday lives. If you’d like to contribute by being a Patron, call Carol Scott at 969-1797 or log on


Habitat for Humanity invited folks to a fundraiser “Fiesta del Casitas!” reception to celebrate the completion of its first building project in Santa Barbara. Many had contributed toward this effort. Christine Garvey and George Gelles hosted the event at their Montecito home. The party was by the pool house, but guests were invited to tour the main house, which is being completely remodeled from its 1920’s days including a 1917 tower.

Habitat for Humanity of Southern Santa Barbara County has been here since 2000. It is an independent, locally run affiliate of the International non-profit interfaith housing group.

One of its most famous volunteers is former President Jimmy Carter, who will soon be in Los Angeles helping on a project. Volunteers do most of the labor. Money and materials come from individuals, churches and corporate donors. The families have to add “sweat equity” of 250 hours per adult family member.

There are now three occupied homes near upper State Street, the result of years of planning and site preparation. The slabs were poured in June 2006 and over the next ten months hundreds of people helped with the construction. Residents are carefully screened and only allowed to sell their home back to Habitat.

One of the new proud owners is a single mom with a child who went through programs at Rescue Mission and Transition House, earning a Masters Degree during the process. As she says, “I went from hopeless to hopeful and now I have a home I won’t be kicked out of.”

President of the Board Hugh Davis spoke to the group, as did Executive Director Joyce McCullough. When they gave roses to hostess Christine, she joked, “Did you get these from my garden?” The committee that made the event happen were Chair Angelique Davis, Gail Gelles, Emma Rollin Moore, Dianne Davis along with Christine Garvey.

There is a second project in the works–four condos on San Pascual on the lower Westside. If you’d like to help in any way, call 692-2226.