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Gift of a Day Feature Story October 2016
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Awarding the Top Dog

It is estimated that there are 80 million domesticated dogs sniffing around this country. But, only a small fraction of these beloved pets make it to the annual Westminster Kennel Club Show – the second longest continuously running sporting event. Here, judging the top dog comes down to the tiniest deviations from their parent breeds.

 

But, not all canine competitions are so finicky.

Patient Ruth Ledwith had a lifelong passion for tail-wagers and had always wanted to attend the famed dog show in New York. She lived a life wrought with strife, but always found comfort in the unconditional love of dogs.

Still, at age 93, Ruth adored dogs so Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care surprised her with a personal dog show. Her face lit up when three dogs and their handlers were paraded in to her nursing home – a bubbly white German Shepherd, Lassie-look-alike Border Collie, and mixed-breed rescue dog all bounded in for belly scratches.

No time for nuzzling, though…Ruth needed to judge! She watched carefully, and finally awarded each participant top marks in their own special category: Cuddle Bug, Best Behaved, and Show Stealer. After, Ruth enjoyed playtime with the pets – giving out treats and receiving sloppy puppy kisses in return.

Ruth went home with a new stuffed dog, which she named “Junior.” She now sleeps with it every night, enjoying sweet dreams of her special day with new furry friends.