|Local dog paws his way to Westminster|
|Friday, December 06, 2013 9:04 PM|
BY ERIN COX
Each day, he follows the same schedule — walking with his trainer, trotting in a circle and practicing when to stop, how to stand and being social.
This young competitor from Delphos is a dog, a Neapolitan Mastiff, training to compete in the Westminster Kennel Club 138th annual Dog Show, which takes place Feb. 10-11.
“It’s very unusual for this to happen with him being only 16 months old,” Carlisle’s owner Sherry Subler said. “He will only be 19 months when he competes and the other dogs in his breed will be 3-4 years old.”
Two weeks ago, Subler received an invitation from the Westminster Kennel Club inviting Carlisle to be part of the dog show at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
“I knew he was up there and it’s just an honor to go there knowing your dog was chosen,” Subler said. “I was excited, very excited when I got the invitation. I came out to show my daughter and I was crying, I was so happy.”
Subler, owner of The Animal House Boarding Kennel, got Carlisle’s mom three years ago as a guard dog.
“My husband passed away and I was afraid to be out here by myself,” Subler said. “I had done some research and found that this was a good guard dog but it was a very expensive guard dog and I decided to show, too.”
Subler’s friend, Deanna Knighten from Indianapolis, Ind., had taken her to a dog show around that time and it had sparked an interest in Subler, so she decided to take Carlisle’s mom to dog shows.
“The first time you go in the ring, you’re scared to death and even now, I still am,” Subler said.
A couple of years later, New Moon Carlisle of Amazing Love was born from his mom’s first litter.
“I was really into ‘Twilight’ then and usually people name litters by the letters of the alphabet with ‘A’ names first and so on, but there was no rule saying I had to do that, so I named them ‘Twilight’ characters,” Subler said.
Subler now shows three dogs and tries to have each compete at least once a month.
“They’re all already champions but Carlisle is going for a grand champion, which is just a higher grade of champion,” Subler said.
The Westminster Dog Show picks the top five champions of each breed; Carlisle is chosen as number four.
Each breed has a set of standards for each breed of dog.
“When the judges judge, it’s not against the other dogs, it’s how well he meets the standard of his breed,” Subler explained.
The Neapolitan Mastiff is a massive breed that should have strong, straight bones, loose skin and wrinkles. Carlisle does not take much grooming, like poodles or other long-haired dogs do, to prepare for his shows.
“This is a short hair dog, so he’s an easy dog to get ready,” Subler said. “I just get him up, make sure he goes potty so he doesn’t go poop in the ring and I have to bring a drool rag so when he slobbers, I can get it off.”
The other four dogs will have professional handlers escorting them into the ring and with such a big stage, Subler decided to do the same. Knighten, who took Subler to her first dog show, will take Carlisle into the ring.
During the day, the judges narrow down the dogs in each breed to just one. All breed judging can be available through a live stream at westminsterkennelclub.org.
During the portion of the dog show that is televised live at night, from 8-11 p.m. Monday on CNBC and 8-11 p.m. Tuesday on USA, only the best will compete.
“I think it’s going to be real intense and everyone will be nervous because it’s the ‘big show,’ let alone I’ve never been to New York so I’m going to have that nervousness too,” Subler said.
Subler is not worried about Carlisle’s nerves, though.
“He loves to show,” she said. “His tails up and his head is up and he just floats around the ring. He’s fun to show.”
With Carlisle being half the age of the other competitors, Subler doesn’t know how well he will do but continues to train him every day as usual — working with him on walking beside her, stopping when he is suppose to and making sure he is social.
“It’s an honor,” Subler said. “I might not have a chance in hell to win but it’s an honor.”