Samoyed aims for top dog on home turf
A Brandon woman has high hopes for Garland at the AKC Eukanuba National Championship in Tampa.
By ELISABETH DYER
Published January 6, 2006
Garland stands perfectly balanced. Ears perked, she wears what appears to be a smile as she looks into Laura Segers' eyes and wags her tail.
"She has that look-at-me attitude," Segers says.
Segers hopes that attitude will clinch Garland top dog at the AKC Eukanuba National Championship Jan. 14 and 15 in Tampa.
The young Samoyed has one of 2,648 invitations to the dog show, now in its fifth year. Award-winning dogs will compete for $225,000 in cash prizes, including a $50,000 purse for the best in show.
"It's definitely the most sizable award money in the world of dog shows," said Daisy Okas, spokeswoman for AKC.
The top prize will go to "which dog asks for it," said Segers, who started showing Samoyeds in 1992. "That's how the judges put it."
The judges will choose the best from 153 breeds from all 50 states and 20 countries. Lucky for Garland, the trip from her Brandon home is short.
At 20 months, Garland may be the youngest of the 36 Samoyeds in the competition. She placed high in about 10 shows to earn her AKC championship title, securing a spot in the competition. She will go up against her father who lives in Ohio and a cousin from Orlando.
While dogs compete, members of breed clubs will set up exhibits in the Tampa Convention Center.
At the Samoyed booth, visitors will learn how the dogs once herded reindeer and hauled heavy sleds in northwestern Siberia. On weekends, Garland herds sheep in Ocala.
Early next week, Segers will clean Garland's teeth and buff her nails.
Segers will rake a long toothed comb through her coat, which is wool, not fur. Then a bath and "she'll really fluff out," said Segers, who ponders what she will wear.
Probably a suit. Something with sparkles. Maybe sequins. In her pocket, she'll stash liver, fried with garlic, to ensure Garland's focus won't stray.
- Elisabeth Dyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 813 226-3321.
IF YOU GO
The AKC/Eukanuba National Championship dog show is from 7 a.m. to midnight Jan. 14 and 15 at the St. Pete Times Forum, 401 Channelside Drive. Daytime events, such as obedience and agility competitions and meet the breeds, take place at the Tampa Convention Center, 333 S Franklin St. The show will be broadcast live on Animal Planet and Discovery Channel starting at 8 p.m. both days, and viewers can vote for their favorite at www.animal.discovery.com during the competition. Click on Find a Show in the top center and scroll to Eukanuba Tournament of Champions. One-day tickets are $20, $17 and $7. For information call 813 301-2500.
[Last modified January 5, 2006, 08:50:08]
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