Top Dog!: Co-Owner Lives in S.P.
There was "glee" in the Garden Tuesday night.
The audience erupted in cheers as CH Clussexx Three D Grinchy Glee, more familiarly known as Stump, won Best in Show at the 133rd annual Westminster Dog Show at Madison Square Garden in New York.
The Sussex spaniel, co-owned by Beth Dowd, of Southern Pines, Cecilia "Ceil" Ruggles, of Connecticut, and Scott Sommer, of Texas, competed with six other dogs for the title, beating out a Scottish deerhound; a Scottish terrier; a standard poodle; a puli; a giant schnauzer; and a Brussels griffon.
"I am hoarse from yelling and screaming," Dowd said in a telephone interview Wednesday.
Dowd said she knew Stump was going to do well when he entered the ring.
"If he is 'on,' he'll get a placement," she said. "He is the epitome of the standard for his breed, so it's hard for a judge to pass him by."
Judging Best in Show was Sari Brewster Tietjen, a second-generation dog fancier and lifetime participant in the sport of purebred dogs. She has been judging for more than 40 years.
"We are so excited and proud," said Nona Burrell of the Moore County Kennel Club. "Beth and Carol are an example of members who uphold the integrity of the purebred dog, which is the aim of the club."
The dog competed Tuesday afternoon in the Best of Breed category, trumping, among others, his son, CH Lexxfield Twilight Hunter. In Tuesday night's sporting group, Stump was chosen by Judge Robert Ennis over 27 other dogs as winner of the group.
Born Dec. 1, 1998, Stump is the oldest dog ever to win Best in Show at the event.
It's a miracle that Stump is still around. In 2004, he was diagnosed with a bacterial infection, spending 19 days at Texas A&M University's Veterinary Teaching Hospital.
"It shut down all of his systems," said Dowd. "They finally figured out the problem and took good care of him."
The owners decided to retire Stump for a while so he could rest.
"He seemed to be doing well," Dowd said, "so we decided to bring him to Westminster as a trial run for possible competition in an upcoming special show."
Stump was sired by CH Three D Genghis Khan, and his dam was CH Clussexx Sprinkled With Dew. Breeders were Douglas Horn, Douglas Johnson and Dee Duffy.
Dowd, Ruggles and Stump had very little sleep last night.
"We've been up since 4 a.m.," said Dowd. "We've been to the 'Today Show,' 'Martha Stewart' and 'The Early Show.'"
Dowd and Ruggles have not appeared on camera, leaving that to David Frei, who handles publicity for the Westminster Kennel Club and Sommer -- and Stump, who seems to be taking it all in stride.
Stump will be traveling around the country over the coming year, representing the club and serving as a "spokesdog" for "Angel on a Leash."
"The program sends therapy dogs into hospitals," Dowd said.
Angel On A Leash began as a charitable activity at the Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of New York-Presbyterian for the Westminster Kennel Club less than three years ago. Beginning with a handful of teams, the program quickly grew to include nearly 30 teams at MSCHONY, and soon expanded into the Ronald McDonald House of New York City and Providence (Portland, Ore.) Health Care Center as well.
In the summer of 2007, Angel added two more hospitals to its facilities list. Recently, in partnership with Mid South Therapy Dogs, Angel On A Leash teams have begun to visit at the world-famous St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and many more facilities in Memphis, Tenn.
In October 2007, Angel teams became part of the Caring Canines therapy dog pilot program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.
Dowd is also pleased with the awards won by two other dogs she co-owns.
"Ranger (the Lakeland terrier) won Best of Breed, and Pixie (the bichon), took a fourth in her group," said Dowd.
No final decision has been made, but Dowd thinks this might be Stump's last show.
"He would probably enjoy being at home and playing with the Corgis," she said.
It's not likely that Stump will visit Moore County. The dog makes his home in Texas with handler Sommer, with whom he has won 51 Best in Show awards over the years.
"They really have a special bond," said Dowd. "Stump is a pet to Scott; he even sleeps on Scott's bed."
Contact Faye Dasen at 693-2475 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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