We're not rooting for a poodle at this year's Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. We're not rooting for a little Pomeranian or English bulldog or any of the hounds or dogs with fancy name (your Lhasa apsos and bichon frises and what not) either. They're all cute and we wish them nothing but the best in life.
But we're rooting for Emma, a mutt who defied the odds.
In 2010, Emma was found at an abandoned motel in South Carolina and brought to an all-kill shelter where dogs have only 48 hours for someone to claim them before they're euthanized (which is simply horrible and should not be a policy at any shelter anywhere).
With only a few hours left, a rescue group got Emma out of there and brought her to Christy Wrede in New Jersey. Christy tells The Globe and Mail, "There was something extra special, some intangible thing."
Christy had no background in dog training, but started teaching Emma agility training (and even got her into doggy modeling too). Three years later, she's officially competing in the biggest dog show in the world.
"Would you ever think it possible? From death row to Westminster?" Christy exclaims. "This dog has come from Redneckville to New York City. The chain of events has just been amazing."
And Christy hopes Emma's story will inspire others to adopt, instead of purchasing a pet from a pet store or expensive breeder: "You don't have to spend thousands of dollars on a dog for it to surpass your wildest dreams."
This is the first year that Westminster has added an agility contest and invited mixed-breed dogs to compete. Of the 225 pups who entered, Emma (who is "half Boston [terrier], a quarter Boxer, and a quarter mumble jumble of who knows what") was one of only 15 to make the cut.
David Frei, the Westminster Dog Show host, explains, "We like to say it's a celebration of all dogs—and this brings new, excited dogs, attacking the course, running through tunnels, jumping through tires, weaving through poles, across teeter totters—dogs being dogs."