By Della Hasselle
MIDTOWN — Hundreds of pooches pawed their way into Midtown's Hotel Pennsylvania Friday afternoon in preparation for the 135th annual Westminster Dog show next week.
Dogs and pups from all over the country enjoyed some pampering before their big day while they checked in for the much-anticipated event to be held Monday and Tuesday at Madison Square Garden.
Some Manhattan pooches even came to represent and enjoy the hotel's canine-inspired amenities, which included miniature doggie treadmills, a spa-style salon, and a dog-themed craft fair.
Lounging among the pups was veteran showgirl Schminky, an Upper West Side Havanese and past dog show champion who has returned this year for Saturday's special Veteran Sweepstakes.
"She's coming out of retirement," owner and judge Kris Glen said while relaxing with Schminky on a hotel lobby couch. "She's going to have one of her last moments of glory in the ring."
Even though she stopped competing seven years ago, Schminky will still have a slew of supporters rallying her on Saturday, including her doorman.
"It will be like the opera, when everyone stands and cheers," Glen said.
While Schminky is an experienced showdog, many of the 800 to 1,000 dogs were there for the first time and feeling nervous, pet psychic Annie Germain, who offered her services as part of the weekend-long festivities, said at her table in the spa.
"They pick up the pressure that's going on around them," Germain said. "They really pick up the anxiety with other dogs."
To ease pups' nerves, the hotel often runs errands for the doggies and their owners right up to before the show, in addition to the regular spa treatments they offer, Hotel Pennsylvania Pooch Relations spokesman Jerry Grymek said.
Requests often include specialty diet food orders, and even the occasional red carpet.
But, Grymek says, that's just par for the course.
"They're showdogs," Grymek said. "They want that entourage, that kind of special treatment."