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Feb 14, 2013 12:51 AM by Jacqui Heinrich, jheinrich@koaa.com

Local pup takes runner-up at Westminster Dog Show

He was the underdog that stole the show: 'Bugaboo's Perfect Picture', better known as 'Swagger' by handlers and fans, took runner-up for Best In Show at the prestigious Westminster Dog Show on Tuesday.

Swagger, an Old English Sheepdog of just twenty months, became an overnight sensation and crowd favorite, appearing in a number of national news outlets and entertainment magazines. "I can't tell you the variety of types of makeup he went ahead and absorbed giving people kisses because he is a kisser. I always have a little sign there that says 'he cant hold his licker' because he goes ahead and kisses everybody," Doug Johnson, owner of Sunrise Kennels, told News 5.

Swagger is likely to be on the receiving end of some kisses when he returns home from New York; it's the first time the Westminster Dog Show has allowed dogs without champion status to compete. On a whim, Johnson's son decided it was time for Swagger's debut. "He's a young dog and with all those lights, all the maneuvering around and the audience and the cheering...I was like he's gotta compete against all those dogs, nationally ranked. After he went ahead and won the breed I had to eat some words, I had to say 'you were right'," Johnson said, laughing.

And so enters Swagger into the life of a top-dog show contender, and with it a life of luxury and pampering. But for this family, Swagger's success is a divine reward; during the Waldo Canyon wildfire the Johnson family took in more than two hundred dogs and fifty cats from fire evacuees and didn't charge a penny to look after them. "The community stepped up and we felt that it was our responsibility to go ahead and do the same. These are people who needed help. Just like I would want to be treated, we treated them the same way. You know, things have a way to go ahead and turn back around," Johnson said.

Swagger is now just one point short of reaching champion status. This weekend he'll be competing in the Denver Dog Show where it is hoped that he'll join the ranks of the doggie elite.

 

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