Dogs, kids make most of event

Jack and Finley Von Bruggeman II rub noses during the Balboa winery dog show on Saturday.

Jack and Finley Von Bruggeman II rub noses during the Balboa winery dog show on Saturday. Photo by Alfred Diaz.


WALLA WALLA — Dogs, dog owners and dogs with no owners were the big winners at the first Balboa’s Best In (dog) Show, as were a large pack of kids who also attended the Balboa Winery event on Saturday.

Approximately 30 dogs were entered in 13 categories that included best trick, most handsome, lusty lady, waggiest tail and nine other quirkily named categories. And it wasn’t just the top dogs thato came out winners.

The event also raised several hundred dollars for the Blue Mountain Humane Society, with all proceeds from the $25 entry fee being donated to the nonprofit agency.

“People love to include their pets as part of their families. And to have the opportunity to bring their dog along for the day makes it a win for everyone,” Humane Society Executive Director Sara Archer said.

They didn’t just bring their dogs.

On Saturday, Balboa Winery had packs of kids romping on the grass with their dogs and enjoying a setting that is usually not brimming with children.

One of those kids was Talia Billingsley, 9, who on rare occasions has been dragged along to a winery or two.

“I usually stay with my parents and listen to them talk,” Billingsley said.

On Saturday, however, Billingsley and Finley Von Bruggeman II were the center of attention, as they entered a number of categories.

Finley’s owners — Alison and Brian Bruggeman — said they don’t normally visit wineries. But it was hard to turn down an opportunity to take out their dog and their niece and watch a dog show all in one afternoon.

“We don’t go to wineries too often, but the ones out here are beautiful and we thought it would be fun to bring Talia,” Alison said.

For Martina and Bianca Cruz, it was their first trip to any winery. And, again, it was the perfect chance to include their dogs and support a good cause, while cheering for their chocolate lab Jack and two Chihuahuas, Gucci and BB.

“I heard about it and told my mom,” Bianca said.

“So I said we are going to that dog show,” Martina added.

Even dogs that had no owners made it to the event.

The humane society brought two recently orphaned black lab mixes and had them on display for adoption. One got a new owner.

The other is waiting his turn at the humane society.

“A venue like this is really terrific to do something with all kinds of dogs,” Archer said.

Alfred Diaz can be reached at or 526-8325.


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