KINGS BEACH, Calif. — Michelle Okashima, owner of Hot Diggity Dog and Cat in Kings Beach, pet parent to the affable and multi-talented Mike the Dog, is about to fly the coop.
To New York, New York, for The Westminster Kennel Club’s 138th Annual Dog Show.
“Who does this happen to?” Okashima cried, incredulous over her beagle’s acceptance to the high brow canine event.
Mike, who has taken center stage at Bark for Life, Shakespeare at Sand Harbor, and other philanthropic endeavors, now takes a bow to his “little brother,” George.
Mike chose George as his canine pal at a Fuji Park Dog Show in Carson City, doing his “happy dance” right next to George’s pen. The owner of Cabaret Beagles from Sonoma told Okashima Mike “really wants a beagle.”
Enter stage right, the regal beagle George, whose acceptance to the Westminster Dog Show, Feb. 10-11, will propel owner and pet into the adventure of a lifetime. “We plan to do all the touristy stuff,” said Okashima, who will also catch up with actor Kevin Crouch, who performed with Mike the Dog in Shakespeare.
Here is an excerpt George’s story as told by Okashima to Westminster media representatives:
“George is my personal service dog. I suffer from P.T.S.D., a result of my father’s 2003 murder and trial. I have trouble in crowds and both he and my American Staffordshire Terrier are registered service dogs. I seldom go places without them. In fact, I bought the pet boutique in May so I would never have to be without them.
“George is registered through Therapy dogs Inc. as a therapy dog. He has visited local hospitals and extended care facilities through a local organization Paws for Love out of Reno. He likes to perform a series of parlor tricks. George’s forte, however, is parades, he loves a good parade.
“He has walked in the Sparks hometown parade, the Veteran’s day parade in downtown Reno, and the Shoppers Square parade. Parade participation brings awareness and education to the community about the importance of dogs, in regards to the aid and benefit to one’s health and well being.”
According to www.westminsterkennelclub.org, there are 28,15-inch beagles entered in the best of variety competition and 14 beagles entered in the 13-inch variety. George is a 15-inch beagle, who with Okashima, has been on an exercise and nutrition regimen, hiking out for miles in the pre-dawn hours.
George has been judged as “solid and big for his inches,” and is Michelle Okashima’s hero, especially after thwarting a recent burglary attempt at Hot Diggity by alarming ferociously. A call to 911 and the would-be thief was arrested.
Bon voyage and good luck, George, whose registered name is … Cabaret’s Capture the Key to My Heart.