Local Westminster Dog Show Participant

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The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show kicks off tonight. It is considered the most prestigious in the country, if not the world. Nearly 3,000 dogs will be competing for Best In Show including a dog from Phoenix. We meet Zen, a flat-coated retriever, his owner, and his handler to see what it takes to be top dog.

TED SIMONS: TONIGHT AND TOMORROW, NEW YORK CITY WILL BE GOING TO THE DOGS. THE 141ST ANNUAL WESTMINSTER KENNEL-CLUB DOG SHOW WILL TAKE PLACE AT MADISON SQUARE GARDEN. PRODUCER SHANA FISCHER AND PHOTOGRAPHER ROB MCJANNET INTRODUCE US TO A DOG FROM ARIZONA THAT'S HOPING TO TAKE HOME "BEST IN SHOW".

BLOW DRYING, BRUSHING, IN THE HIGHLY COMPETITIVE WORLD OF DOG SHOWS, EVERY DETAIL MATTERS. IT CAN BE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GOING HOME WITH A BLUE RIBBON AND SETTLING FOR SECOND PLACE.

HE'S A RETRIEVER. HE'S FOUR YEARS OLD.

IN HIS SHORT LIFE THE RETRIEVER HAS RACKED UP A RECORD.

BY THE TIME HE WAS ONE HE HAD A CHAMPIONSHIP. BY THE TIME HE WAS TWO HE HAD A GRAND CHAMPIONSHIP.

AND ALL THAT WINNING PAID OFF. THIS WEEK HE'S AT THE WESTMINSTER KENNEL CLUB'S DOG SHOW. THE SHOW IS CONSIDERED THE MOST PRESTIGIOUS IN THE UNITED STATES, PERHAPS THE WORLD. THE WESTMINSTER WAS STARTED IN NEW YORK CITY IN 1877 BY A GROUP OF BUSINESSMAN THAT MET FOR DRINKS. THEY AGREED TO START A DOG SHOW. TODAY THE WESTMINSTER KENNEL CLUB INCLUDES THE DOG SHOW, CHARITIES THAT HELP DOGS AND EDUCATING THE PUBLIC. THIS YEAR, 2,970 DOGS REPRESENTING 200 BREEDS WILL BE COMPETING FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD. A DOG CAN MAKE ITS WAY TO WESTMINSTER TWO WAYS, IF IT'S THE TOP FIVE IN THE BREED OVER ALL IT WILL BE INVITED. IF IT'S EARNED ENOUGH DOG SHOW WINS, IT CAN ALSO COMPETE.

GOOD BOY. THEN WE'LL FACE 30 OTHER FLAT COATED RETRIEVERS.

HE'S BEEN A GREAT SHOW DOG. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT MAKES HIM SPECIAL, HE LOVES TO SHOW. HE GETS IN THE RING AND LOVES TO SHOW.

EVEN THOUGH IT'S HIS FIRST TIME AT WESTMINSTER, HIS HANDLER HAS BEEN HERE BEFORE. SHE'S COMPETING IN THE BIG RING.

MY JOB IS TO PRESENT THE DOG TO THE BEST OF ITS ABILITY. DOGS THAT ARE FLAT COATS ARE RETRIEVERS MEANT TO CARRY BIRDS BACK. THEY WANT TO HAVE A LONG REACH AND DRIVE TO COVER AS MUCH GROUND AS POSSIBLE WITH MINIMAL EFFORT. I WANT TO EXTEND THE CHARACTERISTICS FOR THE JUDGE TO SEE.

DOGS ARE JUDGED BY THE BREED STANDARD OUTLINED BY THE GOVERNING BODY OF WESTMINSTER KNOWN AS THE AMERICAN KENNEL CLUB OR AKC. THE DOGS COMPETE IN BEST OF GROUP. THERE ARE SEVEN GROUPS. THE WINNER OF THE SEVEN GROUPS COMPETE FOR BEST IN SHOW. SARAH SAYS JUST MAKING IT TO WESTMINSTER IS A VICTORY.

NO MATTER WHAT YOU HAVE DONE UP TO THIS POINT, THAT IS THE MAIN POINT OF YOUR SHOWING CAREER. IT'S A REALLY REWARDING EXPERIENCE.

ZEN'S APPEARANCE AT WESTMINSTER IS BITTERSWEET. FOR YEARS, DEBORAH AND HER DAD WATCHED THE SHOW TOGETHER.

IT WAS THE STANDING JOKE, WOULDN'T IT BE GREAT IF WE HAD A DOG IN WESTMINSTER.

HER DAD BECAME ILL FIVE YEARS AGO AND THERAPY DOGS CHEERED HIM UP. SHE DECIDED TO GET A THERAPY DOG WHEN HE PASSED AWAY. WHEN PEOPLE SUGGESTED SHE SHOW HIM, SHE THOUGHT WHY NOT? SHE ONLY WISHES HER DAD WAS WITH HER WATCHING HIM MAKE THE GRAND ENTRANCE.

BEING THERE IS AN HONOR.

THAT IS IT FOR NOW. I'M TED SIMONS. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US. YOU HAVE A GREAT EVENING.

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