Last Update: 2/13/2013 2:03:00 AM
Puck shows his bad-boy persona
Ruscombmanor Twp. owner says one of her 'fur children' is a kleptomaniac for other dogs' toys, her cellphone
Sharon Deputy laughed when she described Puck, one of her "fur children," as a kleptomaniac.
While the 40-pound, 4-year-old field spaniel's pettier thefts include nabbing and mutilating toys that belong to other dogs, one of his bigger heists involved a more expensive item.
"He stole my cellphone one time," said Deputy of Ruscombmanor Township.
Apparently, Puck's charm and bad-boy persona helped him land a spot in the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club's 137th annual All Breed Dog Show, which will be held today and Tuesday in Madison Square Garden in New York.
He's one of several show dogs entered in the competition that have a connection to Berks County, either through owners or handlers.
More than 2,700 dogs in 187 breeds are expected to compete at the event, marking the show's largest entry in 15 years.
Deputy, who has shown dogs at Westminster in recent years, said the level of competition at the event is fierce, but the incentive to win isn't about money.
"When you do win, you get a little medallion and a $2 ribbon," she said. "We do it for the love of the dog. These dogs are our pets."
Cumru Township resident Joe Roland has owned Irish wolfhounds for more than 30 years.
"My dad rescued an Irish wolfhound," Roland said of a dog that was scheduled to be euthanized in the early 1980s. The family fell in love with the breed and has been raising Irish wolfhounds ever since.
"They're very docile, good family dogs," Roland said.
Roland planned to show Lyre, a 170-pound Irish wolfhound, at Westminster this week. Lyer's sire, Tip, placed second in the hound group at Westminster several years ago.
Last week, however, the 3-year-old Lyre developed a prostate infection and needed emergency medical care. Roland couldn't be reached Sunday, so it wasn't clear if his dog was well enough to compete.
Another Berks County entry in the show, Joe, an affenpinscher, headed to New York on Thursday.
Six-year-old Joe is a top-winning affenpinscher in the United States and Europe, according to Ernesto Lara, the dog's handler.
In 2011 and 2012, Joe won his breed's title and took second place in the toy category, Lara said.
"He's a wonderful little dog, like a little person," Lara said. "You can tell when he looks at you he understands what you're telling him."
Lara, an American Kennel Club-registered handler, who lives just over the Berks County line in Bowmansville, Lancaster County, has been showing dogs for more than 35 years.
"I started doing it when I lived in Mexico," he said. "I was a very shy teenager. Showing dogs helped me a lot to interact with people."
Lara said he's made many friends on the dog show circuit over the years.
"It's just like a big community that's very unique and very nice," he said.
Lara said this year's Westminster show will end Joe's career.
"He's done all he can do," Lara said of the champion dog. "It's time to have a retirement and be a normal pet."
A 2-year-old Rhodesian ridgeback, Whirlaways, Ida Belle's A-Ringing, co-owned by Christine Kitsch of Brecknock Township, also will compete at Westminster.
The dog is co-owned by Kitsch; Jen Lazowski of Mount Joy, Lancaster County; and Lynn Fitzgerald of Great Falls, Va., where the dog lives.
This will be Ida Belle's first appearance at Westminster. She was ranked as the No. 1 ridgeback nationally and No. 9 hound after participating in more than 200 national competitions this year, Kitsch said.
Joy Graham of Birdsboro originally intended to enter two dogs in competition, a 5-year-old German shorthaired pointer and a 7-year-old miniature wire dachshund, but the dachshund wound up with a bruised left eye. He had to be pulled from the show.
"She was playing around with some other dogs and she ran into something," Graham said, noting the frisky dachshund's name is Rock Hollow's Li'l Miss Can't Be Wrong.
The chocolate-brown pointer, named Champion Lahrheim's Talk the Talk, is co-owned by Patricia Wikstrom of Williamsport, Graham said.