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  Best in Show (2000)
Christopher Guest and friend; Photo courtesy of Castle Rock/Warner Bros./The Kobal Collection/Doane Gregory
Dogs, cats, snakes. It doesn't matter. They're not pets, they're part of our family. Sometimes costly family members.

Our devotion, both emotional and financial, to our pets is chronicled in "Best in Show." Christopher Guest's mockumentary follows the proud and preening owners of a group of pooches vying for best in show at the Mayfair Kennel Club Dog Show.

The contestants include an anxious Weimaraner owned by a yuppie couple, who prove that we project our neuroses as well as our affection onto our pets. Also in the trophy hunt is the lethargic bloodhound and his good ol' boy owner, clearly demonstrating that our pets really do resemble us, sometimes more than we like to believe.

And, of course, there's the eventual winner, the saucy Norwich terrier that manages to overcome during the show-ring promenade the literal two left feet of owner Gerry Fleck, a classic Eugene Levy character. Of course, Gerry and his ditzy wife Cookie aren't surprised by the victory. They knew the title was preordained because, as they sing, "God loves a terrier ..."


Sure, most of us aren't as obsessive as the characters seen through Guest's slightly cracked lens. And we don't face the travel and competition costs associated with a show animal. But in order to keep our furry friends happy, we spare few expenses.

And between laughs, "Best in Show" drives home the money message that if you're not careful, pampering your dog or cat could cost you much more than you expect.

There's premium pet food and regular veterinarian visits that, unless you've shelled out for pet medical insurance, often rival those of your personal physician. And some dogs could cost you the minute they move in if your property insurer is one that hikes homeowner insurance policy premiums in homes sharing space with select canines.

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