Top Dog: McDonough Westie deserves a championship | Messages

A young girl from Henry County recently brought home a bronze after four days of fierce competition. Hocus Pocus I Put A Spell On You, who goes by the name of Kenzie, is a 2-year-old West Highland White Terrier who beat the other competitors for the award that now puts her at the top of her breed in the country.

“Right now we have the number one Westie in the US who lives in McDonough, Georgia,” said Kenzie’s owner, Donna Cannon. She won a few weeks ago at an American Kennel Club dog show in Florida. Cannon said while the AKC rankings change frequently, Kenzie made it to the top.

“The most exciting part is that Kenzie is my first breed that we’ve done,” Cannon said. “We have four Westies; two of them are champions… Her mother, which we own, we bought with the intention of showing her and eventually breeding her. She was bred to – and to date – a Platinum Grand Champion in 2019. He’s on record having won more than any other Westie under the AKC. There is no other Westie with this record. Her mother is Glenbrittles Muirenn Caden. Her name is Gaelic and means white warrior. I bought them from a retired vet, a breeder in North Carolina who still shows Westies to this day. We bred her to Hector in 2019 and Kenzie has been exhibiting since birth on Halloween 2019.”

The date of her birth resulted in her being named Kilmartin’s Hocus Pocus I Put A Spell On You on the AKC registry, Kilmartin being the name of Cannon’s kennels. However, the nickname Kenzie came about because Cannon is such a fan of the TV series Outlander and its characters in the MacKenzie clan.

“She’s been on display since she was 9 months old,” Cannon said. “She has a brother in South Carolina and he’s a grand champion. They went to their first shows together.”

Cannon said competitions can be complicated and are based on a points system, with some big shows counting as a five-point win but one to four points can also be awarded. It also depends on how many males and females are in a particular show. There are also standards that must be met, such as B. Never cut a Westie’s hair; However, certain parts of her hair can be hand-cut. Hair must be of a certain length and a dog’s coat is judged.

“A terrier should have a straight back,” Cannon said. “They look for a straight line structure as far as their chest — their alignment — where their chest and their legs meet. She’s a nice little Westie – there’s no two ways about it.”

Cannon said AKC events typically last four days and Kenzie shows once a day.

“You just go and do your best to impress the judge,” she added. “There’s no money. It’s just prestige.”

Cannon, the president of the Westie Club of Atlanta, said clubs sometimes sponsor contests and hold sweepstakes and awards such as the contest.

AKC shows are held all over the United States and Cannon said she and her husband Ronnie enjoy the travel involved. They have enjoyed traveling to AKC competitions in Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Florida, Kentucky, Indiana and other locations.

While Kenzie lives with the Cannons in McDonough preparing for a show, the dog stays with her trainers in Kennesaw, Daryl Heggie and his wife Donna Hills.

“My husband and I have owned Westies for more than 20 years,” Cannon said. She first saw the breed when her nephew and his girlfriend got a Westie and brought him to visit Cannon’s mother’s house.

“I just fell in love with this little white dog,” she said. “I did some research and said, ‘One day I’m going to get one of these little white dogs.'”

An opportunity arose in 2000, and that was when the Cannons got their first Westie, which they named Lacy after the tip of Queen Anne’s flower. Cannon says she was “exclusively a pet” and lived 17 years. Next, the couple got a Westie named Sam, followed by another named Bailey. But then Sam was diagnosed with bladder cancer and died a year later.

“Bailey didn’t want to eat anything when he died, just sat on the sofa and looked depressed,” Cannon said. “We just made progress from there… Bailey went into a depression. We sent him to doggy daycare. We have tried everything. Then we said we had to get another dog. I said if we do this I want to get a breed standard. We had never owned a breed standard Westie. So we bought Archie, and we bought him with the intention of showing it off. We got him his championship and started looking for a girl. We said if we show we will breed.”

Cannon explains that sometimes people see a Westie and think it’s a Scottie, which is a Scottish terrier. However, Westies only come in white, she said. They do not come in black, red, or brindle.

Glenbrittles Muirenn Caden, who goes by the name Zoey, was bred to Hector in 2019 and had three puppies including Kenzie. Kenzie and one of her brothers are now champions.

“The other little boy lives with a couple in Virginia,” Cannon said. “He’s living his best life as a Westie. He never showed himself. He has homes in Virginia and Connecticut so he has a wonderful life.”

Cannon said Zoey gave birth again in November 2021, this time to five male dogs, all of whom are in the process of moving to new homes. She said that breeding dogs has changed compared to years ago.

“After Zoey got the puppies in 2019, we waited a year to try and went back to the same person and nothing happened,” Cannon said. “So next we went to a reproductive vet to try and get her pregnant. We worked with frozen sperm from Hector and she still couldn’t get pregnant. So the next round we were still with the reproductive specialist and with another male using IVF. It doesn’t happen au naturel in a purebred world. It is artificial insemination. Some people might try it the old fashioned way, but I haven’t heard from anyone. Today we have drawn progesterone levels. There is a whole world of science. Getting her pregnant at the optimal time with artificial insemination is science at every turn.”

There’s the science, but then there’s the other side.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Cannon said. “We didn’t realize it until we started showing Archie, but we just fell in love with the different locations. You could go to Mississippi or Alabama or Kentucky. The handlers chose where they wanted to go and said, “We’re going to XYZ and you need to register.” We made a commitment over the weekend to go out and watch, and we just did that with all of our dogs. When Kenzie went to Pennsylvania in October, her brother went with her. They (his owners) have become good friends of ours so we made it a little getaway. We’d see what’s around. The show will only last about 30 minutes, so we would go and see the city.”

The Cannons owned Archie and Bailey when Mrs. Cannon had a job change that took her to California as a consultant in 2016. She said these two dogs had probably been to more states than most people, estimating they had been to 30 states when her husband took them across the country to visit.

“They saw the Grand Canyon, these two,” she said. “They were well travelled.”

Mrs. Cannon finished her consulting job in California and returned to Georgia to work as the head of the medical human resources office in Emory Midtown. Mr. Cannon worked at Lockheed until Lockheed had a layoff, then he moved to Warner Robins. At the time, Mrs. Cannon was working elsewhere in Atlanta, so in 2002 they chose McDonough as their home because she said it was “sort of half the battle” for each of them. Both are from Eastman and have been married for 47 years. They are the parents of Chad and Erica and the grandparents of four children ranging in age from 7 to 18 years. Mrs. Cannon said her grandchildren enjoy coming and visiting their dogs.

She said a Westie is “just a really good human dog.”

“They just love their people,” she added. “Once you’ve bonded with your Westie, he’s with you. He doesn’t leave your side. At night they sleep with us – all four. You run the place. You have your own room. There is a dog room – not that they are in it often. It’s just the conservatory and the puppies are in there right now. It’s Puppyville right now. It has a sofa and they can sit on the sofa and look out the window and see what’s going on outside and see cars in the neighborhood. This is also the room where the door is through which they go in and out.”

Kenzie will go out that door for a few more contests, and then she’ll take a break.

“Now that she’s got her bronze medal, let’s let her have fun instead of dressing up,” Cannon said. “We’ll let them run and hunt… We’ll try to find something that interests them.”

Using data from the US Department of Agriculture, Stacker has compiled a list of the most valuable crops produced in Georgia. Click for more.

About Clayton Arredondo

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