London: The Show Dog That Almost Wasn’tPublished February 3, 2012
London the Poodle: Sara Bogush
Three-year-old Standard Poodle “London” has amassed an impressive 51 titles, most recently snagging Best-in-Show at the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship in Orlando, FL.
Three-year-old Standard Poodle “London” has amassed an impressive 51 titles, most recently snagging Best-in-Show at the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship in Orlando, FL (Airing on Feb. 4 on ABC). But London’s rise to top dog almost didn’t happen.
As anyone familiar with the dog circuit knows, it often takes a village -- and a significant amount of money -- to show a dog, resources his Jaset Poodle breeders and “two moms,” Chris Bailey and Sandra Tompkins, simply didn’t have.
Fortunately, fate intervened.
London was “discovered” while exiting Bailey and Tompkins’s car by handler and fellow breeder Ann Rairigh--who was in California to assess other dogs.
Rairigh took one look at the way London carried himself and envisioned a star.
The rest was not quite history.
Financing continued to be an issue. “London was barely advertised during his first few years. And he was winning!” says Sarah Dulski, a Chicago-based designer, who began handling his ad campaign after getting to know Rairigh at shows. But with a limited budget, starting a London Facebook page was pivotal.
London quickly racked up more than 3200 Facebook fans and over 400 followers on Twitter. That’s where Michele Molnar came to know and love the poodle. Now she and her husband, Jamie Danburg, share ownership of the dog with retired attorney Beth Harris.
These days, London likes to pay his good fortune forward. “There’s been talk of the lion’s share of the $50,000 Eukanuba purse going to the Poodles Club of America Rescue,” says Dulski. “He also hopes to set up a college scholarship fund for junior handlers.”
In addition to being charitable, staying active on his days off keeps him grounded. Swimming and messing up his Continental Clip cut -- AKA “his formal wear” that takes two days of prep with shears that can cost upwards of $600 to coif ahead of competitions - is a favorite pastime.
He’s also a sucker for squeaky toys. His current main squeeze? “A green snake he loves to tease other dogs with,” says Dulski. “He runs along the paddock at Ann’s house in Louisville, KY like ‘na, na, na, na you can’t catch me.’” Other guilty pleasures include counter surfing to see what he can get into on the shelves.
Of course, this happy-go-lucky pup is not without his pet peeves. “The sound of blowing raspberries gets him all hot and bothered. It’s like his nails on the chalkboard,” laughs Dulski.
But music is music to his ears. No wonder: London was named after his father, Jagger, as in Mick of the Rolling Stones. Jaset's Satisfaction, London’s registered name, is derived from Can't Get No Satisfaction. “Lady GaGa is his favorite,” says Dulski. “He only wishes he had video-editing skills, because he’d love to create a fan video tribute to her with his anthem: The Edge of Glory.”
London’s certainly proven he’s got the moves like Jagger, moves he also likes to show off while waltzing with Ann and watching his favorite show, Dancing with the Stars. He was really rooting for Kirstie Alley, who’s among his many fans and Twitter followers, and who went out of her way to engage him.
But right now there’s another “ALLY” on his mind. Brighton Lakeridge Encore, “Ally”, is a white, female Standard Poodle with whom he shares a friendly rivalry. Absent at the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship, Ally holds the #1 poodle in America slot for Best-in-Show honors in 2011; however, London placed first in breed points. The two go mane to mane at Westminster later this month.
“Ally beat him in Best of Breed there last year. It should be really interesting,” says Dulski. “A black Standard Poodle has never won Best-in-Show.”
Watch London strut his tufts at the 11th annual AKC/Eukanuba National Championship, Saturday, February 4th on ABC.