It’s a cliché to refer to the Christopher Guest mockumentary when talking about dog shows and dog lovers, but there was a point Monday morning after Meteorologist Ron Trotta put miniature sunglasses on Schmitty, his weather-predicting Yorkshire terrier, that I had to ask:
“What did you think of Best in Show?”
“We loved it!” Elly McGuire, Ron and Schmitty’s other third exclaimed. She was checking her Flip cam, reviewing the weather “pawcast” Ron had just breathlessly reported with the shivering Yorkie tucked in his coat.
I had asked to tag along with the three Monday morning for their annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show forecast. What I got was a front row seat to what life is like for a celebrity dog.
Steve, a publicist, greeted me outside of an Upper West Side Starbucks and took me to meet Schmitty. A four-person documentary crew was waiting to follow us out to Central Park. They were filming a behind-the-scenes look for Schmitty’s website, GottavisitNYC.com.
It’s a busy couple of weeks for Schmitty. On Friday, Elly, Ron, and Schmitty are hosting the Big City Little Dog Fashion Show at the New Yorker Hotel, which will benefit Angel on a Leash, an organization that trains service dogs. February 14th and 15th marks the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Schmitty isn’t a show dog — “her ears are too floppy,” says Elly — but she (yep, she’s a she) will be serving as the show’s official weather dog.
While walking out to the park to film the weather pawcast for the week leading up to Westminster, we run into a woman walking Sanjo, a dusty brown dog wrapped in a blue-and-yellow knit sweater. Elly invites the two to Friday’s fashion show, which promises to feature “an Oscar winner, a football player, and a celebrity chef.” Little ol’ Runnin’ Scared will be there too.
Schmitty wears many hats — philanthropist, model, and New York tour guide, as well as literal hats — but predicting the weather seems to be where she has found her niche.
Ron gives Schmitty all the credit — “she has a nose for weather” — and says she tells him the forecast subliminally. His background doesn’t hurt the accuracy of the pawcasts, though. A freelance meteorologist, Ron often works behind the scenes at ABC’s World News with Diane Sawyer when they cover big weather stories. Before every pawcast, he introduces himself as “Meteorologist Ron Trotta,” but the prefix isn’t necessary: he looks, speaks, and has the energy of a TV weatherman.
On Monday, Ron and Schmitty are able to complete the pawcast in one take, but do another to get the lighting perfect. Commotion erupts on Central Park West and Ron gleefully ad-libs that “even garbage trucks are honking their horns” for the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
The quick takes are key — despite a sweater, raincoat, and Ron’s coat, Schimitty is getting cold. They want to rush her back inside because, after all, it’s all about Schmitty.
If you want to support Angel on a Leash at the Little Dog Big City Fashion Show at the New Yorker Hotel, tickets are still available.