Daniel the golden retriever at the Westminster Dog Show didn't get the Best of Show over the weekend and people are losing their collective minds. I totally see why he should've won. He's a gorgeous pooch.

As I watched the show, it reminded me of a wonderful childhood memory.

I had a border collie named Joe when I was 8 and I adored him. He was elderly when my foster parents got him for me, but no boy could've loved a dog more than I loved him.

It was fourth grade and the class was having a pet show, so we were allowed to bring our pets to class to compete for ribbons.

Now mind you, we lived down on the Grande Ronde River at Boggans Oasis, about 30 miles away from Asotin and Asotin Elementary, so getting to school was a chore in itself.

The night before, I lovingly bathed and combed Joe out. I have to remind you that Joe was a cattle dog on a ranch, so he was never an inside dog.


I went to bed for the night.

The next morning, before I was supposed to go to school and take Joe with me, he came in from the river. He was filthy from head to toe and smelled like fish ... ugh. My little 8-year-old self was crushed. I couldn't take Joe to school now and I started crying.

But my foster sister and foster dad said, "Don't worry about it. We'll bring Joe later and get him all cleaned up for you."

I remember later in the day when it was time for the pet show, Joe arrived from the ranch and he came running from the car all cleaned up ... just in time for the show.

We students had to walk our pets around in a square just like a pet show and I remember my foster sister and foster dad telling me that Joe took to the ring like a pro.

He had his head held high -- almost like he knew he was being watched. He pranced proudly in the squared ring as I lead him around on his leash.

I remember them announcing the winners and me racing to Joe with tears in my eyes as he took home the first-place blue ribbon. I don't think a boy could've been happier at that moment.

I later lost the blue ribbon in a house fire in fifth grade and it's still the one thing I'd love to still have from my childhood. it was a different era so I don't have a picture of Joe, but he's always at the forefront of my memories.  It took me over 20 years to have another dog after Joe passed, that's how much he meant to me.

So as I look at Daniel the golden retriever at the Westminister Dog Show and know that he didn't win the grand prize for Best of Show, I still think he's a winner. And I'm sure his owner couldn't be more proud of him.

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