Westminster Dog Show opened Monday despite Super Winter Storm Nemo wreaking havoc across New England and making headlines around the world. For many who are showing their dogs this year they had to endure more than just this week’s blizzard to get here. We wanted to share some of the compelling stories of the people and dogs behind our show. Here are the real Newsmakers…
CAN WESTMINSTER PROVIDE NORMALCY?: Superstorm Sandy in late October wrought havoc on the lives of thousands, including Lois Cohen-Goldstein and her husband, Herman Goldstein. The Freeport, N.Y., couple has struggled since, losing the entire first floor of their home and all of its contents. After a week without power, they eventually moved to a nearby motel. But they weren’t alone throughout the ordeal. Alongside them were Keaton, their Tibetan Terrier and his certified therapy dog brother, Wil, as they huddled together for warmth. “As the dangers within our home continued to increase,” says Lois, “the boys were taken to stay with Keaton’s handler where they would be safe. We are hoping Westminster will provide us a sense of normalcy, as we struggle to regain our lives.” Both Lois and Herman are licensed clinical social workers and she enjoys a second career as a flight attendant.
GCH Panchen’s Great Ball of Fire, Tibetan Terrier #6
JOEY’S COMEBACK: Joey, an American Eskimo Dog, titled quickly in his show career and was retired from the ring in 2008 by his owners Sue Lunsford and Mary Ellen Eichelberger, of Santa Rosa, Calif. In December 2011 Joey was diagnosed with intestinal lymphoma. Surgery and chemotherapy followed and Joey was given a prognosis of six months to live. Through prayers, lots of love, excellent nutrition and consistent exercise, the little guy is strong and healthy today. His veterinarian calls him “the miracle dog.” The owners are bringing Joey out of retirement for one final fling.
CH AWD Island Joy Ride, American Eskimo Dog #5
POLAR OPPOSITES: Owner Chris Chirdo, of Temple, Texas, is a 6-foot, 300-pound body builder/power lifter who owns a tiny hairless Chinese Crested named Elmo. “While the breed frequently gets made fun of for being ugly and girly, people are afraid to tell me that,” the transplanted New Yorker laughs. “I am very mean-looking and you would never think I own such a prissy dog. But I am a really nice guy, though.” Chirdo is a supervising charge nurse at a busy emergency room in a local medical center.
GCH Solaris Tickle My Fancy Gingery, Chinese Crested #19
FROM THE RING TO THE BOND: Tracie Laliberte, the 1983 best junior handler at Westminster and 1984 top junior at the Crufts International Dog Show, took some time off from the ring after those huge accomplishments to pursue a formal education. She earned a Doctorate in Animal Naturopathy and is currently writing her Ph.D. dissertation for a second doctorate at Salve Regina University in Newport, R.I., on the spiritual aspect of the human-canine bond. A resident of Attleboro, Mass., she will be in the ring with her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, BK. Her dissertation examines how an individual’s relationship with his/her family dog may serve to connect a person to the “greater-ness of being interconnected with the mysterious universal, yet invisible something more.”
Grandville Butterscotch Kiss, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel #7
VERSATILE DOG: Steed, a Borzoi owned by G. Ariel Duncan and Ralph Jamison, of Cherry Hill, N.J., is the perfect “Gentle Giant” and a great ambassador for his breed. In addition to being a specialty and hound group winner, he is a licensed therapy dog, has performed with the Borzoi Club of Delaware Valley Drill Team and has appeared on stage at the Met in the American Ballet Theater’s production of “Giselle.” Steed is also the cover dog for Animal Planet’s Borzoi 101. He has also donated over a gallon of blood to help other dogs in need at the Penn Animal Blood Bank bloodmobile. While Steed likes straight racing, he doesn’t quite fit in the starting box. One of his at-home duties " or at least he thinks it is " is protecting the koi pond from a blue heron. The owners have been involved with the breed for 40 years.
GCH Aashtoria Wildhunt 4 Your I’s Only RN, Borzoi #25
HAIRS TO YOU: Rosita, a Xoloitzcuintli owned by Anna-Maria Barfoot, Debbie and John Caponetto, of San Antonio, is quite the diva at home, but this national and sacred dog of Mexico has a favorite job outside the home, hanging out with children undergoing the side effects of cancer, namely those losing their hair. Rosita, hairless herself, teaches them with a very loud “You can be hairless, beautiful and a grand champion, too!”
GCH Blanchos Rosita Fernandez, Xoloitzcuintli #7
WHAT A GUY: New Yorker Michael McLoughlin splits time between the city and his parents’ home in Stamford, Conn., which means his dogs sometime ride back and forth on the Metro North train line with him. McLoughlin, a breeder-owner-handler of a Tibetan Terrier named Rosie, is legally blind.
CH Lukilu Everything’s Coming up Roses at Kiara, Tibetan Terrier #22
ALL OVER THE MAP: Daile Wei and Jeff Qu and their border collie Magic are top candidates for the most-traveled entry at this year’s show. The two came to El Cajon, Calif., last year from Qingdo, China. Magic, 4, was in Australia almost a year before being brought to China, where she competed in numerous shows and “won a lot,” says Wei. The two also have a 3½-year-old male border collie born in China entered at Westminster.
GCH Borderfame Miss Magic, Border Collie #16
ON ALERT: Mia, a Smooth-Coat Chihuahua, is a fulltime service dog (medical alert) for owner-handler Virginia Eisenhardt, of Lockport, N.Y. “Shows are our play time,” says Virginia. The dog was bred by a friend in St. Petersburg, Russia, and came to Eisenhardt last March. “She almost immediately began to alert to my medical condition and has learned a lot from my now-retired service dog Moo, also a Chihuahua. “Mia is proof that a Chihuahua can do more than just look cute.”
GCH Vladistar Ma Donna Mia, Smooth Coat Chihuahua, #20
A DISTANT DECISION: When Josh and Megan Fields, of Sioux Falls, S.D., were deployed in Kuwait from 2009-2010, they decided to get a puppy together upon returning home. Not just any ordinary breed, but a Dogue de Bourdeaux, which they seldom see in their state. They didn’t waste any time, either. Three days after returning home, they drove nine hours to Illinois to meet their puppy. Upon seeing her “big ball of wrinkles” Megan “lost it. Tears, tears and more tears streamed down my face. I couldn’t believe it was her in my arms. It felt like we had to jump through a million hurdles to get to this point but every second was worth it.” Hazel’s show career began in October 2011, where the Fields met their handler Daryl Cooper, who will be guiding the dog at Westminster 2013. The Fields are both in the South Dakota Army National Guard. He is also a diesel technician at Butler Caterpillar and she is a stay-at-home mother for their two young girls.
CH Northland’s Hazelnut, Dogue de Bordeaux #14
PLAYING IT TIGHT: Candice Foti, of Harwinton, Conn., has been involved with all the intricacies of grooming and handling Bedlington Terriers for years. This year she will bring Jazzy, a grand champion, into the Westminster ring, if Foti recuperates from total knee-replacement surgery performed in early January. The surgeon, Dr. Stephen Haas, of New York City, says, according to Foti, she will make it. “It is very scary having this operation so close to the show, but without it, I will not be able to show.”
GCH Sandon N’ Oakhill Jazzy’s Top Secret, Bedlington Terrier #5
A BONDING BERNER: Juliette (Juju) is a healer and bonder. The Bernese Mountain Dog, groomed, shown and finished by Danielle and Rachel Meyers, of Southbury, Conn., is also a therapy dog and was part of the second therapy dog team allowed into nearby Newtown, Conn., following the ghastly killing spree at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December. “Juju was asked to sit in on sessions to help ease tensions,” says the twins’ mother Lynn Meyers, a teacher. “Even just for a moment minds opened again to relay their feelings while petting Juju.” For the next month, including Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, either Lynn Meyers, or her husband Adam, and one of the girls drove to Newtown, five minutes away, with Juju to provide hands-on therapy for the children and parents alike either at a school during the day or therapy center at night. Now the charismatic Juju, the family’s first champion Berner, will show off her character and conformation in an entirely different venue, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
CH Hickory’s Where For Art Thou My Love V Lefleur, Bernese Mountain Dog #15
PENNY FROM HEAVEN: Penny is the most recent of her family’s Brittanys. When her best friend and co-owner, Dr. Ione A. Kourides, of New York City, became gravely ill last year, the dog never left her side, comforting and loving her 24/7. After a courageous battle with cancer, Dr. Kourides died in October. One of her fervent wishes was for her beloved Penny to compete at Westminster, and it will be happening this year in front of Kourides’ husband, Charles G. Zaroulis, and many of the late doctor’s friends.
CH Swift River’s Good Victory of Bretagne JH, Brittany #19
RESILIENT KOMONDOR: Chauncy went through Superstorm Sandy with his owners, Scott and Denise Wilczewski, of Wall Township, N.J., a couple of miles from nearby beach communities that were heavily devastated by the storm. The couple were without power for two weeks, but “Chauncy was a trooper through it all,” says Denise Wilczewski. The affable Chauncy was featured in a Miller High Life commercial at 10 months of age. The dog recently won the Komondor Club of America national specialty and was featured on the front page of the Philadelphia Enquirer last November on the weekend of the National Dog Show in Philadelphia.
GCH Quintessential Chauncey, Komondor #6
BOUNCING BACK: CJ, a Newfoundland owned by Pamela Ruegger-Danielson and Roger Danielson, of Beloit, Wis., was paralyzed as a puppy and was adopted to become a family pet, as the breeder was uncertain about his recovery. Surprise! By the time CJ was a year old his recovery was complete and it was decided to give conformation a try. He is now 5 and is the No. 1 Newfoundland in the country.
GCH Bright Str Berrin Charles Jager, Newfoundland #14
A TRYING YEAR: 2012 was a trying year for Sam, a Bullmastiff owned by Jean Robinson and Janet Ekstrom, of Lafayette, Ind. Robinson was diagnosed with a rare bile-duct cancer in 2011 and succumbed last June. She was a breeder of champion Bullmastiffs for more than two decades, and Sam was her “heart dog.” It was Robinson’s wish that Team Sam keep him in the Top 10 in breed points last year, and handler Holly Eldred managed to do so, finishing fifth, with limited showing when he wasn’t at the hospital visiting his beloved owner. Robinson’s husband Reggie and many in her Bullmastiff family will be cheering Sam on at Westminster this month.
GCH Ishanna’s Singular Sensation at Leatherneck, Bullmastiff #21
AN INTERNATIONAL ENTRY: Matisse, a Portuguese Water Dog, comes to Westminster with plenty of worldly credentials. The dog was bred in Canada, lives in the United States, boasts bloodlines from England and is 100 per cent Portuguese. A Canadian champion at 6½ months and an American champion at 8½ months, Matisse was best in sweeps at the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America national specialty as well. The dog is owned by Milan Lint, Peggy Helming and Donna Gottdenker.
GCH Claircreeks Impression De Matisse, Portuguese Water Dog #27
SHE’S THE STORY: For four years, Laura Fourre has been a cheerleader for the Minnesota Vikings. In her spare time she shows her own dogs, including Westminster entry Kendra, a 4-year-old Bernese Mountain Dog. Employed in the medical-sales field, she grew up riding and showing horses with her father, a horse trainer and judge. In addition to putting a grand-champion title on Kendra, Fourre qualified the dog in the top 20 for the Bernese Mountain Dog nationals in May in Colorado.
GCH Cameo’s Centerfold, Bernese Mountain Dog #9
BUBBA THE LOVEBUG: While this Bubba’s first trip to Westminster, the Dogue de Bordeaux, owned by Lauren and Sue Struzik, of North Quincy, Mass., gets around plenty. The 160-pound “sweetheart” is a therapy dog with Pets & People Foundation and regularly volunteers at Tufts Medical Center Floating Hospital for Children in Boston. He brings smiles and plenty of happiness to the young pediatric patients, and also spends time at the hospital visiting adult patients in the Cardiomyopathy Unit, some of who spend months awaiting a heart transplant. Last March, Bubba was awarded the title of Breed Ambassador (a lifetime award) by the Dogue de Bordeaux Society of America. He is featured in a Modern Molosser Magazine article entitled “The Doctor is In” and the newly released “The World of Dogues de Bordeaux book highlighting the importance of therapy dogs for hospitalized patients.
CH Country Road’s Bubba the Lovebug, Dogue de Bordeaux #12
A FIRST-CLASS ASSISTANT: At 4 weeks of age, Teddie James, a Newfoundland, visited a 10-year-old cancer patient who was sent home with hospice care. The youngster had been unconscious, but when Teddie kissed her cheek she opened her eyes, says Teddie’s co-owner, Dr. Sheri Russell, of Lexington, Mass. Teddie was able to spend time with the family that day but the child died shortly after that meeting. In addition to being a grand champion, Teddie is in Russell’s sports-medicine center (she is a chiropractic sports physician and certified athletic trainer) daily. “He does more of the therapy work than I do,” says Russell. Co-owner is Julie Patino.
GCH Annisquam Light’s Perfect Gentleman, Newfoundland #10
SAY WHAT?: Seymour, a Clumber Spaniel owned by Wayne Holbrook, Beth Dowd, Adriana and Patricia Jaramillo, Missy Capone and Jeane Haverick, is bilingual. He was born in the United States but spent his early years with the Jaramillos in South America. He returned home to Alpharetta, Ga., last year and has nine bests-in-show, in addition to being the No. 1 Clumber Spaniel last year. His father, grandfather and great grandfather have all won best-of-breed at Westminster. He was bred by Clussexx Kennel, which produced the 1996 (Clumber Spaniel, Brady) and 2009 (Sussex Spaniel, Stump) Westminster best-in-show winners.
GCH Clussexx in Collaboration with Traddles, Clumber Spaniel #14
OSCAR’S BACK: Remember Oscar, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog that walked with his owner David Moskowitz to the Garden for last year’s show. Moskowitz began writing a blog about Oscar and the dog has nearly 75,000 fans today. Oscar’s web page can be accessed at www.CentralBark.com. Superstorm Sandy brought its set of challenges to Moskowitz and Oscar, who were up 44 flights of stairs when the storm took out the building’s power and water. Moskowitz was faced with finding a hotel that would accept dogs. Ultimately, asset manager found one across town, then return to his powerless building, get Oscar and head for the hotel with as much food as he could gather, which was no easy task. Oscar eats four pounds of raw food daily, which posed another challenge during the blackout. “Once on the West Side, we had to get used to a new part of town. Oscar realized how to get home and only wanted to go back,” recalls Moskowitz. Despite all of these challenges, the two return to Westminster this year.
GCH Matterhorn’s Oscar the Grouch, Greater Swiss Mountain Dog #20
A MIRACLE DOG: Nando, a Leonberger owned by Peter and Cathy Schneider , of Needham, Mass., and Lucie Perron, of Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, Canada, came to Perron from Germany and finished his Canadian championship quickly before heading to the U.S. in hopes of doing the same. At the Cape Cod Kennel Show in August 2011, he spotted a squirrel outside, jumped through a window, climbed a fence and a roof and escaped. He was found an hour later by a local police animal officer. While Nando was being transported back to his owners, the police received frantic cell-phone calls saying the rescue vehicle was dragging a dog down the highway. Nando, too big for police crates, had been double-tied in back, had broken one tie and pushed out the window and was being dragged. Burns jumped out and found Nando dead. He gave the dog CPR and managed to get a breath, so rushed him to a nearby emergency veterinary hospital. He was in shock with all four legs and his left side stripped of skin and back feed down to the bone. Nando survived and a lengthy rehabilitation process but not without plenty of setbacks in the first week. He was soon transported to Angel Memorial Hospital in Boston, where he was admitted in critical condition. After several surgeries, skin grafts, physical therapy and chiropractic treatment, Nando was ready for his first show in June 2012, where he took Best of Winners.
AKC and Canadian CH Weiland vom Ossmannstedter Grund, Leonberger #11
A TRUE FIRE DOG: Indy, a Dalmatian owned by Kathryn FC Ryan-Hogan, of Walden Spring (St. Charles), Mo., loves visiting local firehouses and participates in many community outreach programs with local fire districts. She helps teach and demonstrate fire-safety techniques to local children and through her “not-for-profit organization that raises funds to provide pet oxygen masks to first responders and fire districts in the St. Louis area, items that are not funded in local fire-department budgets. The affable Indy supports chase Away K9 Cancer by wearing a donation vest at fund-raising events. Indy loves obedience and agility practice and will likely start training alongside in horses in Road Trial " bringing her back to the basics of the Dalmatian breed as a coach dog.
GCH Insignia IndyGeaux Dotts, Dalmatian #15