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Westminster show awaits for Cooper and Kathy

Cooper enjoys the limelight, so when he and Kathy Lockyer step onto the green carpet at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Monday in Madison Square Garden in the heart of New York City, the 4-year-old wirehair standard dachshund should be a hit.

“He is just a wonderful ambassador for the breed,” Lockyer said of her mustached, long-bodied dynamo. “He likes people and people like him. I like to see the smiles when they see his face.”

Cooper will compete with 21 other wirehair standard dachshund entries, one of the largest groups at the prestigious show and part of the hound category.

Like the other 4,000 dogs at Westminster, Cooper was invited.

“To go to Westminster; to be seen at Westminster; to get invited to Westminster is a big deal because you don’t get invited very often,” said Lockyer, who pointed out the top in the breeds are invited and then there’s a drawing.

“Stepping out on the green – it’s just a privilege to be there,” she said. This is her fourth trip to Westminster, but her first venture as owner, trainer and handler.

The Lockyers – Kathy and Tom, who have been breeding dogs for 20 years – have had other dachshunds get the call, but with professional handlers. This time Kathy will be leading Cooper through his paces.

Sam, a longhair dachshund, finished third at Westminster, with a professional handler, a number of years ago. Pechos, Cooper’s father, has also made the trip. All are part of the Lockyer’s Lockshire kennel in Buckley.

It’s hard to judge Cooper’s chances at the big show, but he’s been racking up honors for some time, including Best Bred at the Eukanuba National Championship, and is among the top in his breed in the nation.

Dogs gain points at competitions across the country by outscoring other dogs and winning majors. As in other sports, athletes, or dogs, work their way up the ranks.

“He’s probably the most successful dog in the show ring we’ve ever bred,” Lockyer said of the 27-pound dynamo.

Cooper is formally known as GHC Lockshire Detour to Sanlyn Cooper. The grand champion in front of his name is a new designation, which he and Kathy worked hard to earn.

It’s a hobby and passion for the Lockyers, whose day jobs are in education. Kathy is the Enumclaw School District’s human resource director and Tom is White River School District superintendent, where the dogs are often a topic of discussion. Lately, the talk has centered on Cooper and his rising star.

“Westminster is still thought of as the crown jewel of dog shows,” Lockyer said, because it’s the oldest and most prestigious.

Can Cooper be Best in Show?

“Westminster is a place where you see odd things happen,” Lockyer smiles.

WANT TO WATCH?

The Hound, Toy, Non-Sporting, and Herding group competition, which will include Kathy Lockyer and Cooper, will be televised live Monday on USA Network from 8 to 9 p.m. ET and continuing on CNBC from 9 to 11 p.m. ET. The Sporting, Working, Terrier, and Best In Show competition will be televised live Tuesday on USA Network from 8 to 11 p.m. ET.

Breed judging highlight videos are available throughout the day Monday and Tuesday on the Westminster Web site www.westminsterkennelclub.org. These highlights will be available after the show, as well.

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