In beautiful New York, in one of the most famous venues in the world, seven dogs were about to enter a ring through purple gates with a gold emblem onto a floor awash in green. It is a spectacle like no other in the dog world. For those few moments until the Best In Show Judge announces her decision, the dog world stops and waits, concentrating only on who will be best, not just best, but BEST IN SHOW AT THE GARDEN. The fast approaching storm that will halt 2500 planes shortly, not a concern. Unable to access on cable, not a concern, SocialMedia was lit with posts, chat & photos. Each person waiting, discussing, critiquing the dogs, announcing their favorites – all for who would be BEST.

Into that glorious ring where amazing dogs have been previously crowned like Mick the Kerry Blue, Carly the German Short-Haired Pointer, Coco the adorable Norfolk Terrier, Rufus the Coloured Bull Terrier and crowd-pleasing, absolutely most popular winner and second only to Snoopy as beagles go, Uno, seven dogs with multiple Bests in Shows waited for their turn. And then, as it can only happen at Westminster Kennel Club, Mr. LaFave said these magical words “Ladies and Gentlemen, introducing the seven group winners competing for Best In Show at the 138th Westminster Dog Show. And seven magnificent animals with their handlers, to great applause and fancy lighting, burst into the ring. The dog world stopped and held their breath. Who would it be?

Would it be the Number One Dog by any measure piloted by Gabriel Rangel, the Wire Fox Terrier? Would it be the Number One Sporting Dog piloted by Michael Scott, Matisse? Would it be the Herding Group upset of the previous night with four Bests In Shows, Cardigan Corgi, owner-handled Coco? Would it be the record breaking Irish Water Spaniel and Number One Sporting Dog, Riley, her owners first show dog – ever. Would it be the Bloodhound, Nathan, that on his go-round the noise from the crowd broke all records for decibels as they roared their approval? Would it be the record setting Miniature Pinscher and Number One Toy owner handled by Armando Angelbello “Classie”. Or would it be that racehorse of a beauty, brilliantly white Standard Poodle “Ally” with carriage like no other, planning her retirement and showing to her home town by the long-time poodle specialist Tim Brazier. This collection of dogs produced 520 Bests In Shows; only 38 or so dogs have won more than 100 Bests and this ring has four of them tonight! Who would Mrs. Leininger choose as the dog most deserving of this year’s Best In Show trophy?

Mrs. Leininger, resplendent in purple satin, is well-known for her expertise as an All-Breed Judge, greeted her exhibitors. She immediately got down to business. Each dog was sent round the ring, thoughtfully examined and then, the final consideration, each dog was asked to free stack. They were impeccable. Mrs. Leininger proceeded to her Judge’s table where her book, trophies and those coveted ribbons were set. Accompanied by Westminster Kennel Club’s Show Chairman Mr. Tom Bradley, she thanked her breed and group Judges for sending her “seven magnificent dogs”, thanked her exhibitors for presenting such beautiful dogs to her, asked for a little direction from her steward and said “Reserve Best In Show to the Standard Poodle”. The crowd, quiet is now waiting for that next, marvelous announcement “Best In Show to the Wire Fox Terrier.” The crowd exploded in cheers and clapping as Sky took her place among the pantheon of great dogs. We congratulate the breed & group winners, their owners and handlers and we especially congratulate Sky’s owners Victor Malzoni, Jr, Torrie Steele, Scott and Mary Olund, and Diane Ryan and her handler Gabriel Rangel; and Ally’s owners T. & M. Sosnoff and Tim Brazier.

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