Along with Supervisor Christina Olague, a cute couple from Dallas, and a bunch of degenerate soda-swilling 6-year-olds, I had the privileged of ranking over 20 of San Francisco's most effing adorable dogs in SF SPCA's DOGMA dog talent competition Sunday afternoon.
The competition was a lot of what you'd expect: dogs playing dead when shot, ample handshakes and rollings over, and dogs in cute costumes. However, there were two outliers: Biscuit and Fiona.
Biscuit was an fluffy, happy-go-lucky Pomeranian whose similarity to Boo was difficult to overlook. Biscuit wasn't all looks either, he (she? it?) could also kick a mini tennis ball into a goal—without looking—and do a bunch of jumps through her owner's arms and legs. An impressive, yet clearly rehearsed, routine:
Fiona similarly killed it, but wasn't the looker like Biscuit. After doing some handshakes and other boring-ass tricks, Fiona's owner sneezed, prompting the dog to go fetch tissues for her runny nose. I was immediately taken in, as the dog played at my “slobbering mutt that fetches me beer” fantasy. But it didn't end there, Fiona then started playing a mini piano:
Both dogs clearly destroyed the field and deserved the top slots, but there was a problem: all 8 judges gave both dogs perfect scores. There was only one way to settle this…
After deciding a dog fight would be inhumane and beneath the standards of the SPCA, we had both Fiona and Biscuit get back on stage and repeat their perfect performances, giving each judge an opportunity to pick a winner.
Now, it is worth noting that Mayor Ed Lee-appointed District 5 Supervisor Christina Olague was always the first person to rank an animal during the regular season. Despite never giving an animal “1”, the lowest score possible, even when a pet froze on stage and the 6-year-olds said “pass” and threw down 1s, her scores generally seemed in line with everyone else. Not artificially inflated or anything suspect like that, just honest appraisals of the mutt's talents.
So when it came down to making final decisions, I was really interested to see how a politician up for election would rank the dogs. In the dog-off, Biscuit and Fiona threw down perfect performances yet again. So, without any blunders to make the decision easy for the judges, we were left up to our own gut. Would it be an adorable athlete or the tortured artist with compassion for the sick?
In a shocking twist, the judges voted in reverse, leaving Supervisor Olague to vote last. Biscuit picked up an early lead in the polls, racking up a couple of checks. Then Fiona received some crucial votes to keep her in the running, but one of the 6-year-olds voted for Biscuit, giving the furball a lock on the win.
When the ballot was passed to Olague for a largely symbolic final vote, she began to throw her support behind Fiona. But, after looking at the depth of support for Biscuit, she changed her vote and marked one off for the sporty Pomeranian, rubberstamping the 6-year-olds decision.
In psychology, they call this phenomenon “groupthink”, a pull towards conformity in decision-making situations that subverts critical thinking and appraisal of alternative solutions. In politics, they call this something much, much less flattering.
Anyway, Biscuit was goddamn adorable and this marks my one and only visit to Hayes Valley in the year 2012.