Treadmill, organic treats spur top dog to victory

Mon Feb 22, 2010 10:35am EST
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By Chris Michaud

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Just like big Hollywood stars who often insist that behind the glamour they're just plain folk, the teams behind champion show dogs tend to portray these pampered pooches as family dogs at heart.

Take Sadie, the Scottish Terrier who made history last week by securing the third jewel in the show dog world's triple crown, winning the gold-standard Westminster Kennel Club dog show before an enthralled, capacity crowd at Madison Square Garden.

After trotting to victory at both the National Dog Show in Philadelphia and the AKC National Championship in Long Beach, Sadie came into Westminster the odds-on favorite, bearing the mantle of No.1 dog in the country with 79 wins in 2009.

Sadie, formally known as CH Roundtown Mercedes of Maryscot, was no stranger to Westminster's bright lights, but she got spooked in earlier appearances by the show ring's false floor and the elegant white tablecloths draping the stands on which smaller dogs are judged. And there were vases of flowers -- everywhere.

Sadie lost, then came back to make it to last year's best-in-show round. Finally, on Tuesday she entered the winner's circle.

The key? Training and work, said her handler, Gabriel Rangel, with whom she lives in Rialto, California -- along with another dozen or so dogs he handles.

"We worked on that, to get her used to these floors," Rangel said, explaining that he trained the Scottie on false floors like the one at the Garden, surrounded by cloth-draped tables, and moved flower arrangements around to the point where the sprightly Terrier was unfazed.

Sadie's hectic, winning schedule would seemingly leave little time for anything but training, travel and showing, but during downtime she snuggles down on the couch to watch shows like "Animal Planet," Rangel said.   Continued...

<p>Roundtown Mercedes Of Maryscot, or Sadie, a Scottish Terrier, stands in the winning circle after winning Best in Show at the 134th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden in New York, February 16, 2010. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton</p>