Now that the NFL's Super Bowl is fading into the past, it's time for the Super Bowl of dog shows. The 138th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show begins Feb. 10 in New York City. The show, one of the oldest competitions in America, attracts dogs, owners, breeders and fans from around the world and is one of the highlights of the $55 billion pet industry. At the center of attention alongside the champion dogs are the talented handlers who show the dogs to the judges. Handling a dog is an art, a science and a skill.
Ernesto Lara has been a dog handler for more than 25 years, initially exhibiting in his native Mexico. Lara is hired by dog owners who want to make sure their animals make the best possible impression on judges. In 2013 Lara won the coveted WKC Best in Show award with an affenpinscher named Banana Joe (though the dog's full name is GCH Banana Joe V Tani Kazari). This year Lara will be showing as many as 10 dogs while trying to add to his roomful of awards.