It's a dog-eat-dog world
By Patrick Hruby
Special to Page 2

Not subjecting your show dog to a Jacksonian regimen of face-changing cosmetic surgery?

Then you're not trying.

That's the lesson from London's esteemed Crufts dog show, where the champion pooch has been accused of undergoing a clandestine facelift.

Danny
Plastic surgery on your dog? Welcome to rock bottom.
And no, we're not making this up.

According to reports, the winner of the 20,000-dog event -- a 3-year-old Pekingese named Danny -- is under investigation following charges that his precious little puss was hand-crafted by a plastic surgeon. Should the allegations prove true, event organizers plan to strip Danny of his title.

The dog's owner, Albert Easdon, denies the accusations, chalking them up to envious rivals.

"It is all just jealousy," he told a London newspaper. "They can't just say, 'It's a lovely dog.'"

Lovely or otherwise, the budding scandal raises the question: What else is going on in the warm 'n' furry world of canine competition?

Following an extensive investigation -- read: we are making this part up -- Page 2 presents the awful half-truth behind the eager leaps and panting smiles:

2002 Skyhoundz Hyperflite World Championship
The Event: Crowns the world's best frisbee dog. Competition consists of distance events and creative catching routines.

The Champ: Donnie, a mixed breed who won both the "sport" and "open" divisions. Whatever that means.

The Charges: Corrupt judging gave Donnie the nod in subjective, trick-oriented freestyle portion of the event.

The Evidence: Don King spotted among spectators; routine performed by second-place Canadian dog was clearly more inspired.

ESPN's 2002 Great Outdoors Games Big Air Competition
The Event: Essentially, the doggie long jump.

The Champ: Little Morgan, a black lab retriever who demolished the field with a world record jump of 23 feet, 6 inches.

The Charges: Steroids helped Little Morgan go long, sort of like certain major league baseball players.

The Evidence: Little Morgan subject to mood swings, shrunken jewels, canine "backne."

2001 National Sheepdog Trials
The Event: Tests the shepherding abilities of Border Collies and the like through a series of tasks that mimic real-world working conditions.

The Champ: Bill, a pooch whose father, Ben, won the 1996 event.

The Charges: Despite his gentle demeanor, Bill bullies and intimidates sheep to get his way.

The Evidence: Grainy, black-and-white practice video shows Bill placing front paws on a stray sheep's throat.

2003 Iditarod
The Event: Mush, mush, mush across Alaska's harsh terrain.

The Champ: A team of 25 sled dogs guided by Norway's Robert Sorlie.

The Charges: Pooches actually led by Cuba Gooding Jr., the genial star of Disney's "Snow Dogs." (Fun for the whole family! Pick it up on DVD today!)

The Evidence: Dogs later photographed in Los Angeles, sipping cocktails on the beach.

2002 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show
The Event: The American answer to Crufts show.

The Champ: Spice Girl, the Best-In-Show poodle.

The Charges: Captured judges' attention -- and hearts -- with silicone breast implants.

The Evidence: You gotta admit -- the dog has an abnormally puffy chest.

Patrick Hruby is a sportswriter for the Washington Times. You can reach him at phrub@yahoo.com.





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Hruby: Now, this is tough ...

Hruby: What they really meant

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