Greyt Inspirations Life

A little about our life, our business and our pets.

Westminster and therapy dogs


Who says dog shows are boring?  If you watched the Westminster Kennel Club show on TV last night you were probably surprised by the result.  The new king of Westminster is none other than a ten-year-old rare breed dog named, of all things, “Stump.”  He’s even been retired for the last five years and just came out of retirement last week to give Westminster one more shot.  If he wasn’t a longshot winner then I don’t know who would be!



Stump enjoying his victory.

Stump enjoying his victory.

Stump is a real cutie but he’s not the kind of dog you will see on the street very often.  He’s a Sussex Spaniel.  They were ranked 145th out of 154 breeds registered in 2008.  Very few litters are bred and registered in the United States each year.  And, they are not a dog for everyone.  They are long and low to the ground.  They are not as fast as many dogs, though they are very sprightly as you could see in watching Stump motor around the ring.  But people should keep in mind that dogs with flews like his (that’s what dog people call the long lips and jowls on the face) are also prone to producing a lot of drool!  As cute as he is you could still see Stump doing a little drooling while they were taking his picture.  The Sussex Spaniel is also a longhaired breed and sheds a lot, so the breed is not for people who don’t like to deal with dog hair.



Of interest, the Sussex Spaniel was one of the first ten breeds accepted into the American Kennel Club in 1884 but this is the first time the breed has ever won Best In Show at Westminster.


Stump’s win was a triumph for old-timer dogs everywhere.  At ten-years-old common wisdom says that Stump is the equivalent of a 70-year-old man.  So the little guy just came out of retirement and whipped all the young kids in the ring with him.


Stump will be off making the talk show rounds today so you can see him on TV in many interviews.  He’ll spend the next year doing many of the things that the previous winner Uno did — visiting Ronald McDonald Houses in various cities to meet kids and their families who are going through medical treatments; being an ambassador for dogs; and doing some therapy dog work with children.


If you watched the show on Monday night then you also saw some other good things that dogs do.  Angel on a Leash is Westminster’s therapy dog program.  The show honored two of the people that Uno met during the past year, a little girl named Jessica Kuebler from the Ronald McDonald House, and Lance Corporal Joshua Bleill who suffered devastating injuries in Iraq.  The salute was so touching it brought tears to my eyes.  Dogs do so many wonderful things for us and they can bring life back to us when everything seems lost and hopeless.



Angel on a Leash

Angel on a Leash

Therapy dog programs, like Angel on a Leash, are one of the very best things people can do with their dog.  You don’t have to have a purebred dog or be a show dog like Uno.  Any dog with the right temperament can become a therapy dog.  It just takes a dog with a good personality who likes people and a little training.  And it takes a commitment from the dog’s owner to make the visits to places that welcome therapy dogs.



If a dog can pass the AKC’s Canine Good Citizen test that is usually a good sign that the dog has what it takes to become a therapy dog.  The CGC is open to all dogs, including mixed breeds, and is often given at dog shows.


You can find some good information about testing to becoming a therapy dog at this site.


February 11, 2009 - Posted by | dogs, Pets | , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: