VERONA, Miss. (WTVA) -- The Gum Tree Classic Dog Show attracted over 430 dogs, featuring some 50 different breeds.
A lot of resources and time is put into making sure man's best friend is at its very best during a show such as the one this weekend at the Lee County Agri-Center.
When you look closely you discover right away that people who work as professional dog handlers and groomers for fancy dogs put a lot of money into the profession.
"Probably $10,000 at least that goes into those dogs throughout the year being shown, groomed, exercised fed all the nutrients and what not, so there's tons of money that goes into these animals before they go to the big show," adds Trudy Golden Atkins, professional dog handler. "They [also] have to condition the dog and get them exercised and muscled up; they can't go in fat and flabby."
Even though dog handlers and groomers don't own the dog outright, they say over the course of time you develop a team chemistry before, during and after the shows.
"You develop a very close bond with the dog," adds Donna Hills, professional dog handler. "It's sort of like having a dance partner in ballroom dancing as you all become a team."
When it comes to people who work as professional dog handlers and dog groomers, they say you need to have a love for the dog, a love for travel and the key to success: you have to look your best at all times.
"He has to have his makeup on, he has to have his hair done," added Sarah Krickeberg, professional dog groomer. "He has to have a pedicure/manicure kind of thing, so it's anywhere from a regular basis [to what he gets] toward the week; he's [groomed] anywhere from one to three hours."
For some people the profession of dog handlers and grooming is an investment, while for others, it's a way of life with certain perks.
"You get to experience a lot with them, whether it's the weather or the surroundings in the show venues," adds Hills. "It's neat. They're your best friend."
The two-day Gum Tree Classic concluded on Sunday.