Local vet exhibiting dog in prestigious event

Niki WolfeNewcomerstown News Published:

The local area will be represented in New York City at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show this weekend.

Coshocton Veterinarian Dr. Catherine Darr will be showing her dog in the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden in New York City, Feb. 11-12.

Dr. Darr will be exhibiting a three-year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Grand Champion Orchard Hill Play For Keeps or "Parker." Dr. Darr said the male dog is also referred to as "Barker," for obvious reasons.

The tri-color dog will be shown in the Best of Breed Class. There are 34 dogs entered and the winner of that class will be the only Cavalier King Charles Spaniel shown in the toy group. That judging will be seen on television, USA Network, Monday, Feb. 11.

Best In Show at Westminster, the most-coveted award in the dog show world, was given for the first time in 1907. The dog show, which serves as a symbol or standard for purebred dogs, has survived power outages, snowstorms, a national depression, two World Wars and a tugboat strike that threatened to shut down the city, in the process becoming the second longest continuously held sporting event in the country. Only the Kentucky Derby has been staged longer -- but by just one year.

"At this level of competition, I do have a professional handler (Leonardo Garcini) who will groom and show him (Parker)," said Dr. Darr.

To get to this level, a dog must first qualify by being a champion.

Parker has gotten the first award of merit at the AKC National Specialty in Wisconsin in April and the Eukanuba Show (which was to be televised Feb. 2) in Florida in December.

Parker just won Best of Breed at the regional specialty for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels in Atlanta, Ga.

Dr. Darr is no stranger to the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. This marks Dr. Darr's third dog to be shown in this prestigious event.

"I show dogs to help satisfy my competitive drive but also to be able to genetically improve my breed," Dr. Darr said. "Showing helps me compare my puppies against other breeder's progeny."

And her breeding lines continue to improve.

"It is very exciting to go to New York City with my dog and show in the second oldest sporting event in history," Dr. Darr said.

Westminster has become America's Dog Show and our area will be represented on its grand stage.

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