On Tuesday night, Flynn nabbed the big trophy at the 142nd Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show and I'm still a bit disappointed no one put the lil pup inside the cup for a photo opp. (It took every last bit of restraint for me to not shout this out when I got close to the winner.) Of course I stuck around to the very last minute to gather any info. I could to share with you! Here's what I learned:
- "This dog is just pure joy."
There’s something about seeing Flynn close up that really made Bichon Frises earn a new place in my heart. This breed will henceforth be known as a marshmallow cream puff teddy bear cotton ball cloud (trademark pending).
I'm not the only one who was all heart eyes over the pup. His handler Bill McFadden said “this dog is just pure joy” and that Flynn “has had my heart from the beginning.” Even Betty-Anne Stenmark, the Best in Show judge, remarked how well the dog sold himself in the ring. It’s no real surprise as Bichons were bred to entertain people with their super expressive eyes (like when he instantly dismissed all the journalists for not having any treats).
- There’s a special sweetness connecting the dog’s win to February 14.
Flynn’s registered name is Belle Creek's All I Care About Is Love — especially apt today, seeing that it’s Valentine’s Day after all. Although there was no official confirmation of retirement as of press time, Bill McFadden called this “the perfect way to end his career.” A sweet ending for real.
- Bichon Frises are the polar opposite of “I woke up like dis."
Bill McFadden — and his wife Taffe — are experienced dog groomers and handlers, and even have their own magic products like a shimmery white powder they call “Fairy Frost” to get the pooch looking tip top. And, after Flynn won the Non-Sporting Group on Monday night, the pupper needed to go through the whole grooming process again.
“If you’re showing a beagle, a half an hour before the show you can … put a little chalk on it and show it,” said McFadden. Flynn “had to get re-bathed all over and I spent about two hours being teased by everybody in the back [to] ‘stop scissoring him!’ but literally ... it was just kind of air guitar-ing over the top of him ... and it calmed him down and it calmed me down."
- There’s no special “trick” to winning, though Flynn is no stranger to ribbons.
Flynn — who will turn six in March — has already defeated more than 60,000 other dogs during his career and was rated the No. 4 dog in the country by Dog News (and the No. 1 Non-Sporting Group dog) as a platinum grand champion.
And, about that big moment in Madison Square Garden before the judge wrote her decision in the final book, McFadden explained “I tried to get zen and not show a whole lot of emotion because they’re just ready to rock and roll. Even when you know the book has been written in and it’s not going to be changed you’re still like ‘stand still!’”
- Winning Westminster catapults dogs to instant star status.
While Flynn is staying at the TRYP and not the Hotel Pennsylvania like many other dogs, Bill McFadden commented to one Westminster official “You’re letting me sleep in this time.” He said last time he had to get up at 4 a.m. to start the press day after winning Best in Show (which he won after handling “Mick,” the Kerry Blue Terrier who won the title in 2003).
Flynn's big activities will include visits to several TV news shows and, of course, the trademark special steak lunch at Sardi’s. How amazing would it be to have this pooch as your Valentine's Day lunch date? No judgment if you sneak over there RN.
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