Last year, as you'll remember, Uno the beagle won "best in show" at the Westminster dog show. I remember the delighted shrieks of the crowd, and I remember tearing up because that dog was just so damn cute. I still tear up (sentimental old lady that I am) when I remember those words, "Can I have the beagle?"
Last night, more shrieks, more sentimental surprise, when Stump, a 10-year-old Sussex spaniel won. Ten years old! He'd been retired for four years already, and his owners entered him in Westminster this year just because they thought their boy would like one last stroll on the green carpet.
Stump has a sweet saggy face and this great long hair that looks as though it's been arranged to hide wrinkles. And he's ten! I love that.
I also love this line from the New York Times story: Stump was greeted with deafening applause each time he plodded around the ring
Plodded. Great word.
What makes Stump perfect now, at ten, when he wasn't perfect at four or five or six? Who knows? Boscoe, who is 13 1/2, says some dogs, like some people, just get better with age. He says, Put a coupla bows on my butt, sweetie, and I'll take Westminster next year.
Which is somehow reminiscent of the great Eric Clapton quote that we had tacked up on the bulletin board at the Duluth paper for a long time. Clapton had gotten sick and had been forced to cancel a concert at the Arena-Auditorium, albeit reluctantly. The quote: Give me an injection, and I'll make Duluth.
Anyway...Doug says if we happened to enter Riley at Westminster, and then if Riley happened to win (because of course, he's even cuter than Uno), the judges would say: "Give me the springer. The Lab. The bluetick coonhound. The beagle."
And Riley would prance forth, all of those things.
Now that's a winner.