NEW YORK — Many youngsters dream about walking the red carpet, but Mandy Ferris always envisioned herself on a stretch of green.
Ferris dreamed of being the owner of a show dog that could make it all the way to the to the heart of the green-carpeted arena at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
This year, that dream became reality for her, as Gabby, also known as Daybreak’s Country Chic, a wire-haired Dachshund Ferris co-owns with breeder Debby Krieg, competed at the dog show in New York City.
Gabby won Best of Variety for the wire-haired Dachshund category and made it on national television with her handler, Carlos Puig of Round Lake, Illinois.
Though Ferris wasn’t in the ring with Gabby, she was in the audience, feeling like Dorothy in Oz.
“It was hard to believe; there I was in Madison Square Garden, watching my own dog on that green carpet,” she said.
Ferris has shown has shown miniature Dachshunds at dog shows around the nation, but she noticed bigger dogs tend to get the most attention from judges. She began looking around for a reputable breeder, and that’s when she found Deborah Krieg of Raymond, Ohio, owner of Daybreak Wires, who offered her co-ownership of Gabby.
Ferris said she sought co-ownership of the dog and a handler for her because it takes many people to make a dog a champion. Getting a dog to Westminster requires “campaigning,” which includes advertising in show dog magazines, which can be an expensive undertaking.
It also is important to Ferris that the dog has fun doing shows, which is no problem for the wire-haired Dachshund.
“Gabby’s like a party on four legs,” Ferris said. “She loves to show.”
Gabby is about 2 years old, which means she has a year or two more of showing before she will “retire” to be bred and live out her doggy days, Ferris said. In the meantime, Gabby will split her time between Greenfield during the off-season, and Round Lake during show season.
Not only does it take a village to prepare a dog to compete, it takes years of expertise to reach Westminster, Ferris said.
The handler and the dog must perform well together, almost like two ballroom dancers, and the breeder’s knowledge leads to a dog that looks the part.
“It’s kind of a beauty show; it’s the Miss America of dog shows,” Ferris said. “I watched the show like a lot of people have, and wished that someday I could be there. By golly, I was there.”