Salilyn English Springer Spaniels
The time had come to enter the ring. Toby and I took our place in line - I purposely moved him near the back of the
line to give Bobby more time to make it to the ring before Toby was judged. Finally, it was our turn, still no Bobby
in sight. My heart was pounding! I moved Toby into position for the judge to examine - as I had done hundreds of
times before. We got through the examination, and then we had to gait. Whew, Toby performed beautifully! Still no
When the judge, Joseph Faigel, had completed his examination he stepped back and looked at his large group of
competitors. He began to make a cut - he narrowed his group by pulling some dogs to the center of the ring. Toby
and I were pulled - but I wondered - was this the good group or the losing group? I looked around, saw all the top
names in the center along with me, and breathed a sigh of relief - we made the cut!
Before Judge Faigel did anything further, Bobby arrived at ringside and politely asked the ring steward if he could
enter and take his place with Toby. The steward asked the judge for permission, it was granted. I felt as if the
calvary had arrived! I handed Toby to Bobby and quickly exited the ring.
The judge continued on with his decision making process. My heart was pounding as I stood alone at ringside - my
group of friends were sitting in their seats where I had planned to be before learning that I would have to show Toby
myself. The judge made a second cut and excused more dogs from the ring, Toby was still in contention. Finally
Judge Faigel had everyone remaining gait around the ring - he had made up his mind.I couldn't look.a gasp
and a cheer went up from the crowd - Judge Faigel had pointed at Toby and Bobby! We won! We won Best of
Breed at Westminster KC!! I cheered, I cried, I jumped up and down in my borrowed sneakers!!
But the excitement wasn't over yet.now we had to wait until that evening to compete in the Sporting Group. But
there was a problem - Bobby had also won the Breed with his Vizsla, who he had been showing longer than Toby.
That meant he could not show Toby in the Group and would actually be competing against Toby with the Vizsla. We
had to find another handler. Bobby asked the well respected handler (and now AKC judge) Damara Bolte to handle
Toby in the Sporing Group that night. She agreed.
Evening came, judging time arrived, and this time I was in my seat with my friends watching the glorious sporting
dogs compete in the group. The judge was Mrs. Augustus Riggs IV. Her entry of Best of Breed dogs represented a
whopping 541 sporting dogs that had been entered that day. She could pick only four to win a group placement.
And pick she did! She placed a top winning Irish Setter first, another top winning Labrador Retriever second, then
she pointed to a beautiful black and white English Springel Spaniel proudly gaiting around the ring with his brand
new handler for third!! Bobby ultimately placed fourth with his Vizsla. Words cannot describe the range of pride,
love and emotions I felt when Toby took his position in third place to receive his Westminster Sporting Group
Toby - American & Canadian Ch. Linbrook's Pound Sterling - the founding sire of Northgate English Springer
Spaniels - he is behind every dog that we have bred - won Best of Breed and a Sporting Group 3 at the prestigious
Westminster Kennel Club dog show at Madison Square Garden! Toby became the first black and white English
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