A rural Chanute dog returned home this week after competing at the 144th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City.
The two-year-old rat terrier, Cookie, won Best of Opposite Sex for her breed at the show, accompanied by her owner Karen Emerson and friend Peggy Ruble.
Emerson has been showing dogs since the early 1980s and this is her first time to enter a dog in the famous show. More than 3,000 dogs representing more than 200 breeds competed at Madison Square Garden, with a standard poodle, Siba, named Best in Show. All dogs compete in one of seven categories – sporting, hound, working, terrier, toy, non-sporting, and herding, with Best in Show picked from one of the winners in each category.
A wire fox terrier won the overall Terrier category. The winner of the rat terrier breed was registered as Grand Champion Champion Indigo Igo Legacy’s Next Phase Shake Ur Money Maker.
“The judges couldn’t have made a wrong decision,” Emerson said. “They were all wonderful dogs.”
Emerson works as office manager and executive assistant at Monarch Cement in Humboldt. She flew to New York Feb. 8 and returned to Kansas Wednesday.
She said Cookie competed in St. Joseph, Mo., the Saturday before the trip. Her biggest career win was the Best of Winners prize at the Rat Terrier Nationals in Colorado in 2018.
While Cookie is the name she is called, her registered name is Champion Felixville’s Cajun Cookie, because she was born in Louisiana. Cookie turned two in December.
“She’s still kind of a puppy,” Emerson said.
Cookie received the Best of Opposite Sex because the breed winner was male. Had Cookie been best of breed, the judges would have named a male as Best of Opposite Sex.
“At Westminster, you’re happy to get any kind of ribbon,” Emerson said. “I was very delighted.”
In dog shows, competitors gather points based on their wins. The top five dogs in the nation are guaranteed a spot at Westminster, although Cookie does not rank that high.
Her traveling companion Ruble operates a kennel and enters dog shows, but went along this time as a spectator.
“She wanted to see Westminster, too.”
One of the difficulties at Westminster was transporting all of the needed equipment to the event on public transportation, rather than simply driving up to the venue to unload.
“It’s a lot harder to show in New York than it is here,” Emerson said. “In New York, you don’t drive anywhere.”
But she said she would do it again.
“It’s Westminster, so it’s worth it,” she said.