Doodle Takes Westminster

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A wirehaired dachshund from Pine took best of breed at the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Tuesday.

Champion J Luvs Schoolhouse Doodlebug, otherwise known as Doodle, waddled away with top honors at the 128th annual event at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

His handler, local Realtor John Mayhall, and one of his four owners, Patricia Nicholas, live in Pine.

Mayhall, who was en route with Doodle to Denver Thursday to compete in four more shows, said the dog was rated No. 1 in his breed going into the show.

"You have to qualify to get an invitation to go to the Garden," Mayhall said. "You have to be in the top five in your breed and you get an automatic invitation."

Doodle not only lives with Mayhall, he also sleeps with him.

"He actually gets to sleep in a bed at night, except when we're in a motel on show nights," Mayhall said. "Then he has to sleep in his crate, because otherwise he acts up the next day. He's spoiled and he's like, ‘Let's not go through this, alright.'"

Mayhall, a firefighter in Scottsdale for 29 years, says his competitive nature led him to dog handling.

"I started with Dobermans, and it took me seven years to start winning," he said.

Eventually Mayhall changed to Rhodesian ridgebacks and won many national events. Fifteen years ago, he "married into Dachshunds."

Doodle's other owners are Sharon Johnson of Texas and Fred and Carol Vogel of Connecticut.

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