By Ann Liguori
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Skye was watching the Westminster Dog Show with me last evening and was not fazed. The Scottish Deerhound who took home the Best in Show honors looks like a nice dog, but my three-and-a-half-year old golden retriever did not get overly excited as he normally does when he sees a ‘doggie’ on television. Normally, all we have to say is ‘Skye – doggie on TV, doggie on TV’ and he races to the television with tail wagging and jumps up, placing his big front paws up on the table to get as close as possible to the dog he sees on TV.
As talented as Skye is, he was not able to tell me why he did not get too excited over the Scottish Deerhound winning the Westminster Dog Show. Could it be that Skye was disappointed that a Golden Retriever has never won the Best in Show in the most prestigious dog show in the country? That is ludicrous! Golden Retrievers are one of the most popular breeds in America and for good reason. Golden Retrievers are among the cutest, most affectionate, smart, loveable dogs on the planet! How can a Golden never win the Westminster Dog Show? That’s as insulting as telling a Yankees fan that as talented and classic as your team is and can be, it will never win another World Series. (At least the Yankees have 27 World Series titles to think about!)
As much as Skye and I love all dogs, we agree that when a Golden enters a room, he/she lights up the place! They put a smile on every kid’s face. They can’t wait to go to a nursing home and make senior citizens happy. They live to love. They don’t know anything else but love! They are as loyal as any breed can be. They are gorgeous dogs with lovely dispositions.
When I am at home, Skye is always in the same room as me. He follows me around, seldom leaving my side. At night, he jumps on the bed to cuddle with me before finding the cool floor of the bathroom to sleep. In the morning, he is the first one to wake me up by jumping back on the bed, licking me incessantly. Skye runs with me every morning. When I stretch before and after my runs, and do sit-ups, he insists on putting his 75 pound body on top of me. He does laps with me in the pool. When I practice my golf swing, he runs after the ball and brings it back. When I’m watching television, he snuggles up to me with his warm, silky thick coat to keep me warm. When I have guests at the house, he is as hospitable as can be, making each person feel welcome and important by giving them a more than friendly greeting. He often accompanies me to the radio station when I do my show. He sits right by my side the entire time, sometimes jumping up with his front paws on my lap, panting into the microphone with a big smile on his face. When I plant flowers in the spring, he hangs out with me.
Most Goldens, when you throw the ball, bring it right back. Skye will run after the ball and bring it back, but won’t give it up, engaging me in a game, teasing me to grab it from him. When his girlfriend Izzy comes over, the lab next door, he is the perfect gentleman. He’ll race her to the ball but lets her grab the ball and bring it back to me. And then when she brings back the ball, he knows that when she drops the ball, she wants me to pick it up and throw it again so he does not interfere, acquiescing once again to her. (By the way, Labrador Retrievers are the number one breed in the country and have never won Best in Show at the Westminster Dog Show either!)
Remember in 2008 when the adorable beagle, Uno, won? It was the first time a beagle ever won Best in Show at the Westminster Dog Show. After winning, Uno made appearances at the White House, threw out the first pitch at a Brewers/Cardinals game, rang the bell to open the NASDAQ market and even rode on the Peanuts float in the Macys Day parade!
In 2009, a Sussex Spaniel named ‘Stump’ became the oldest dog at 10-years-of-age to win ‘Best in Show’ at Westminster. And last year, a Scottish Terrier nicknamed the ‘hottie Scottie,’ took home the honors. But since 1928 when Golden Retrievers first appeared in the show, none have won Best in Show.
In the 2006 Westminster Dog Show, Skye is proud to say that his father, Ch Chuckanut Party Favour O Novel, took first place in the Sporting Group.
2006 Group Results: Sporting
Judge: Mr. Michael Faulkner
1st: Ch Chuckanut Party Favour O Novel
Breed: Retriever (Golden)
AKC: SN 80494801
Date of Birth: December 31, 1998
Breeder: Beverly A Wagar
Sire: Madisons Stack The Deck
Dam: Chuckanut Justmoor Tequila
Owner: Wayne Miller & Ken Matthews
Photos: Breed judging / Group judging
Skye can’t believe his father did not win Best in Show that year but was happy that at least a Golden took home the top place in the sporting group!
The Westminster Dog Show is one of the oldest annual sporting events in the country, second only to the Kentucky Derby. The Show is grand enough, old enough and popular enough to show some respect for one of the top breeds in the country – Golden Retrievers!