COTTAGE GROVE, Ore. (KMTR) – A Cottage Grove woman is in the national spotlight right alongside her four-legged companion for their teamwork which just won them a coveted title in the show dog world.
Charlene Sayles and her dog “Gus,” recently won one of the top honors at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
Since 1989, Charlene says she's dreamt of getting all the way to the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show just to participate . Winning would be a consolation prize.
So it came as an honor when Charlene was invited to the 2012 Westminster Dog Show with her pup Gus. But even better, the outcome was a win.
Gus, a 3 year-old Swedish Vallhund (a herding dog which looks similar to a Corgi) beat out 2,000 fellow Vallhunds from all over the United States to win the “best in breed” honor.
Judges look for things like body proportions, movement, energy level, expression, color and more. Charlene says she trains Gus almost daily, taking him to a couple shows each month.
“You see the groups and you're just in awe. So we felt very privileged to be in the company of the top breeders and handlers of dogs in the nation, we were very humbled to be invited, it was just an honor to be there. Then to win best of breed, you just feel so privileged,” says Charlene.
Since Charlene and Gus have arrived home, Charlene says the reception has been great in the local community. Sunday, a local church even threw a special celebration to honor her and Gus.
Charlene is planning on continuing to keep Gus in the show circuit and hopefully one day take home “Best in Show.” She's also working to become an American Kennel Club mentor to help promote dog showing in the Northwest.
This year's Best in Show went to a Pekingese dog. The 136th annual AKC Westminster Dog Show airs on CNBC on Monday, February 20th, 2012.
Click the following link for a video of Charlene and Gus in the competition: http://www.westminsterkennelclub.org/videos/#/Breed%20Judging/2012/Herding/vid:17889376