And the Winner of the National Dog Show is.... Clooney, the Irish Setter
Steven Donahue / See Spot Run
Tell us what makes Clooney (a.k.a. GCH. Windntide Mr. Sandman) such a surprise win at the NDS?
He's really on the young side, winning at 3 years old. Clooney looks older than what he is as far as conditioning is concerned. When he retires -- probably when he's 5 -- he'll likely look his best.
Just what is it that you think makes Clooney so special?
He loves to show. He loves the attention; he loves people; he loves being in the ring and being around all the people and everyone fussing over him. He is a great show dog in that regard.
As far as an Irish setter goes, he is very well balanced and proportioned. He has a wonderful front and rear angulation and he is a lot of dog in the sense that he has a lot of presence to him. There's a lot of him when you put your hands on him and when judges go over him and examine him. He has a lot of substance to him, but he is not an overbearing dog.
How long have you been handling Clooney?
Only about two-and-a-half months.
How did you come to work with him?
Owners Carol and Patrick McGary bred him and showed him from time to time on their own, and they also hired a handler out West where they live [in Washington]. The first time I met him and showed him was for the Irish Setter Club of America's national specialty competition in Wisconsin in June. The dog came to me and we just kind of clicked right away. He was not the only dog I was showing or paying attention to, but you would have thought he was my dog all along. We won Best of Opposite Sex out there which is a pretty big deal. Then in August the McGarys and I started talking about bringing him to show him out East.