A St. Charles County Dalmatian, bought to fill a void in her owner’s life, is suddenly headed for the big time. Her name is Indy, but she’s getting ready to try and make her mark on New York, at the Westminster Kennel Club’s annual dog show.
For Indy, jumping up on fire trucks is nothing new. Her owner, Kathy Ryan-Hogan frequently puts the distinctive, spotted Dalmatian on loan to fire departments who don’t have a dog of their own.
“We do a lot of the fall festivals and parades,” Ryan-Hogan said, “the events that the fire departments plan because when the average child comes to the fire department, they want to know where the fire dog is. So here she is.”
And Indy has also done dog shows, but nothing like the event she’s headed for now. Indy has been invited to Westminster. She’s one of nine Dalmatians anywhere with a shot at at the dog world’s Holy Grail.
“I was just thrilled and in disbelief actually,” she said of getting the call. “Still am. Because whoever thought you would have your own pet dog in Westminster?”
Yes, Indy is a pet. And Ryan-Hogan is not one of thos people who has spent decades aiming dogs toward this moment. Indy arrived in her life to fill a void.
“I had a Dalmatian for 16 and a half years before and I loved the breed, so when I lost her I wanted another pup. I found a breeder in Indianapolis and she said, ‘do you want a show dog?’ And I figured, how hard can it be? Just pretty. Well, it’s much more than that.”
Indy isn’t the only local dog headed for New York. Allie the beagle from Belleville will be there. Allie is the half-sister of Uno, who won best in show at Westminster back in 2008.
Uno’s accomplishment allows Kathy and Indy to dream a little as they try to harness their emotions.
“I would say excited. A little bit nervous because it would be awesome to win. It would be awesome to be recognized, but I think it’s just a great opportunity for us to go. You never know. A local dog has won before. “
The show begins Monday night and will be televised on USA Network and CNBC.