Not every dog you see at the just-concluded Westminster Dog Show has always been pampered and blow-dried.
Dan Stallings is the founder of the Mid-Atlantic Weimaraner Rescue of Virginia Beach, Virginia. Two years ago he rescued a dog from a Craigslist ad after hearing about it from a friend.
According to Life With Dogs, Stallings found Maverick, 5 years old, to be 25lbs underweight with his ribs, spine and hips protruding. The dog had a staph infection on his nose, a pressure sore on his chest, his nails were way too long, and his paws and tail were raw from self-mutilation. The dog had apparently been locked in a crate all day, which led to his behavior problems and poor health.
Stallings treated the dog’s nose, paws and tail every day for infection and gave him care, exercise, and socialization with the outside world. ABC News reported that Stallings began entering Maverick in shows five months after rescuing him. In Maverick’s second show, he won in his breed. Maverick continued to win, and was invited to Westminster.
Stallings said that Maverick cannot be a regular on the show circuit because of his past treatment. The dog will shut down if crated for extended periods, so Maverick only enters shows when Stallings can deliver him personally. Stallings said he prefers to use a professional handler for Maverick to give him the best opportunity to show well.
He said he was amazed at Maverick’s resiliency considering everything he is judged on in the ring. Stallings said, according to Life With Dogs, “His confirmation, conditioning, soundness, temperament and attitude were the very things most negatively affected by his prior treatment, yet he has risen above it all. If he wins, that would really tear me up. I’d be so happy for him.”
Although Maverick didn't win Westminster, he showed.
“There’s my boy,” Stallings said, petting Maverick. “This is what it’s all about, every day.”