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What to watch for at the 2019 Westminster Kennel Club dog show

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NEW YORK – The 143rd Westminster Kennel Club dog show begins judging Monday morning, with Pyrenean shepherds, Pembroke Welsh corgis and pugs among the early arrivals.

More than 2,800 dogs are coming in 203 breeds and varieties. Judge Peter J. Green is expected to make his pick for best in show Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden, right around 11 p.m.

Before we get there, what else to watch:

WILL MY POOCH EVER WIN THIS PAGEANT?

Anybody who owns a golden retriever or Lab or Chihuahua is absolutely sure the pet that curls up with them on the couch is the greatest dog in the world. No doubt about that. OK, then why are they, along with popular dachshunds and Dalmatians, always in the Westminster doghouse?

Total wins: zero. Underdogs, indeed.

Rather than any of the 57 goldens entered this year, the best in show bowl is more likely to wind up with a wired wire fox terrier or a perfectly primped poodle.

Goldens and Labs, people call them “honest” dogs – what you see is what you get. Too common, maybe. Easier to cut a champion from a pile of hair, some say.

But doggone it, no fair!

A FASHION FAUX PAW

While dogs stroll at the Garden, models will strut the catwalk – it’s Fashion Week in the city. And whether showing on the green carpet or the runway, it’s important to dress for success.

For savvy handlers in the ring, that means no flowing silk or flyaway fringe or sparkly outfits that could distract from the dogs. Leave those ensembles for the fashionistas down the street.

Michelle Scott has twice won best in show at Westminster, guiding a Newfoundland and a German shorthaired pointer. Her couture always complements a dog’s coat.

As for trying a supermodel’s look in the show ring?

“Oh, they’re all so beautiful,” Scott said. “But those high heels and short, little outfits, I don’t think that would work.”

THE BIG DOG

Whiskey the whippet won the National Dog Show televised on Thanksgiving Day and the AKC event shown on New Year’s Day. At 3, he already knows how to handle all distractions of being in New York, having done well in two previous trips to Westminster.

Whippets are incredibly fast, but Whiskey’s path includes a speed bump – littermate and sister Bourbon is a contender, too.

Crowd-pleasing Biggie the pug is back after drawing a big cheer at the Garden last year. Grant the black cocker spaniel is the nation’s top-ranked show dog and Billy the Lhasa apso comes from Hawaii, where he surfs with his owner.

Flynn the bichon frise won last year and is now retired.

YANKEE (GOLDEN)DOODLE

In the city where the Bronx Bombers rule the diamond, a bunch of Bronx bowsers have taken their swings in the Westminster ring. Newly minted Hall of Fame pitcher Mike Mussina sent his Irish setter while playing for the Yankees, famed slugger Lou Gehrig brought his German shepherd and current team president Randy Levine entered his yellow Lab several years ago.

“He’s like Derek Jeter. Very calm,” Levine said of his pet, Mitch.

Makes sense, this link between the national pastime and pooches. Baseball starts up this week, too, with spring training workouts – so along with pitchers and catchers, we’ll have pinschers and cockers.

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LIFESTYLES

Nobody would give this teen with autism a job, so he started a business

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A 17-year-old Australian teen with autism started his own business cleaning garbage bins after he was rejected for other jobs.

“I searched and applied for jobs for two years and did not get one interview,” Clay Lewis told CTV News Channel from his home in Brisbane, Australia.

As of January, his business, Clay’s Bin Cleaning, has made more than AUS$6,000 and has roughly 70 clients.

He charges AUS$10 for the first bin and AUS$5 for each additional bin. He regularly offers free bin cleaning to local charities.

“I’m very proud of him,” his mother Laura Lewis told CTV News Channel. “I knew that he could do it.”

She added that employers were unable to “see past their own judgments” and made “unfair assumptions” about Clay’s competency because of his disability.

Clay said that he is looking forward to attending his high school prom and may put some of his earnings toward funding a trip to Abu Dhabi to watch his first Formula 1 race.

Lewis said that Clay’s story has given hope to a lot of people, particularly parents of children with autism.

“All Clay is doing is living a 17-year-old’s ordinary life: working, going to school, having a girlfriend and hanging out with friends,” she said.

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Meet Jelly Bean, the deaf canine contender for World’s Most Amazing Dog title

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CTVNews.ca Staff, with a report from CTV London’s Sacha Long


Published Friday, February 22, 2019 7:50PM EST

A deaf Ontario dog is in the semi-finals of the World’s Most Amazing Dog competition, an interactive Facebook Watch show where dogs compete for a US$100,000 prize.

Jelly Bean, a three-year-old Australian cattle dog who lives in London, Ont., can catch and pass a ball with his front paws and jump on a stranger’s back. He follows the instructions of his handler, Melissa Mellitt, by sight because cannot hear.

“He is so highly intelligent,” Mellitt told CTV London. “He has no idea that he’s deaf. He doesn’t care. He’s just as happy as any other dog.”

Mellitt adopted Jelly Bean from the Deaf Dog Rescue of America when he was five months old. He has since gone on to travel across Canada as a professional stunt dog and works with Mellitt as an assistant to help rehabilitate fearful dogs.

“We knew that he had this potential,” she said. “This is exactly what I knew he was going to be.”

Mellitt hopes that Jelly Bean’s performance in the competition will help shatter some of the stigma around deaf dogs, who are often believed to be ill tempered and incapable of being trained. Mellitt said breeders euthanize many of them at birth, but she believes that Jelly Bean’s inability to hear is his “cool factor.”

If Jelly Bean wins the competition, Mellitt said that she plans to give half of the winnings to the Deaf Dog Rescue of America.

Viewers of the World’s Most Amazing Dogs competition get to vote on who should move to the finals.

“I think he could go all the way,” Mellitt said.

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Funeral held for sailor in V-J Day Times Square kiss photo

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NEWPORT, R.I. — The sailor photographed kissing a woman in Times Square at the end of World War II was mourned Friday at a funeral in Rhode Island.

George Mendonsa’s funeral was held at St. Mary’s Church in Newport, and he was buried at St. Columba Cemetery in Middletown.

Mendonsa died Sunday after he fell and had a seizure at an assisted living facility, his daughter said. He was 95 and leaves behind his wife of 72 years.

Mendonsa kissed Greta Zimmer Friedman, a dental assistant in a nurse’s uniform, on Aug. 14, 1945, known as V-J Day, the day Japan surrendered.

The two had never met.

Alfred Eisenstaedt’s photo of the kiss became one of the most famous photographs of the 20th century. First published in Life magazine, it’s called “V-J Day in Times Square,” but is known to most as “The Kiss.”

Another photographer, Victor Jorgensen, who was in the Navy, also captured the moment in a similar photo. The moment has been shared widely and is often seen on posters.

Several people later claimed to be the kissing couple, and it was years before Mendonsa and Friedman were confirmed to be the couple.

Mendonsa enlisted in the Navy in 1942, after high school. He served on a destroyer during the war.

Mendonsa was on leave when the end of the war was announced. When he was honoured at the Rhode Island State House in 2015, Mendonsa said Friedman reminded him of nurses on a hospital ship that he saw care for wounded sailors.

On Monday, a statue depicting the kiss in Sarasota, Florida, was vandalized. The phrase “.MeToo” was spray-painted on the leg of the statue.

Friedman said in a 2005 interview with the Veterans History Project that it wasn’t her choice to be kissed.

“The guy just came over and kissed or grabbed,” she told the Library of Congress.

She added, “It was just somebody really celebrating. But it wasn’t a romantic event.”

Friedman fled Austria during the war as a 15-year-old girl. She died in 2016 at age 92 at a hospital in Richmond, Virginia, from complications of old age.

After the war, Mendonsa became a commercial fisherman, like his father, and worked until he was 82. He died two days before his 96th birthday.

Survivors include his wife, Rita; and his children, Ronald Mendonsa and Sharon Molleur, and their families.

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