The Morning File: Roundtown Mercedes of Maryscot is one good dog

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Fame is ever so fickle.

One day you're peeing on the floor of Madison Square Garden in front of thousands of people -- and not just in a bad dream, like me -- and another you're receiving adulation from dog-lovers everywhere as the finest of your species (yep, also my dream).

Such is the up-and-down-and-up story of Sadie, the black Scottish terrier who won the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show last week. Just so you non-dog people understand, that's an even higher distinction than the Collie Campbell Memorial Award given to a top curler.

Sadie also made it to the Westminster finals last year, one of seven dogs up for judging as best of the best, but she had that little accident of the kind that skittish dogs sometimes do. This time she had nothing to apologize to the Madison Square Garden janitors for. Thankfully, she also didn't spend a lot of time afterward putting on makeup in order to talk about how much her shin hurt, as some Olympic skiing medalists are wont to do.

And none of the other dogs -- not even C.J. the Doberman, whom you wouldn't want to fight in an alley for a piece of leftover, half-eaten sirloin -- emulated skaters in complaining about the judging.

To the manor born

Some champions have a great rags-to-riches story about overcoming things worse than incontinence: absent parents, poverty, devastating injury, a staff job in the Pennsylvania House, etc.

Sadie is not such a champion.

When she is not staying with her handler in California, home for her is the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. It is one of America's most historic hotels, where multiple presidents have stayed and men should be wearing coat and tie in the dining room.

The same people who own Sadie own the hotel. So this is more like one of the Kennedys' dogs winning the title than, say, Sounder or Petey. Her formal name in show competition, in fact, is perhaps more appropriate: "Roundtown Mercedes of Maryscot."

The PR spin from her entourage is less showy. They say her favorite food is hot dogs. On airplanes, Sadie rides under the seat. Her future consists of going back to the island hotel to run barefoot and have babies.

Scottish terriers: the power pooch

U.S. dog-owners may love their golden retrievers and Labrador retrievers, but in 134 years, no representatives of those breeds have been top dog at Westminster.

It's terriers that rule, having won 45 times, including eight Scotties like Sadie. President George W. Bush had a Scottie in the White House, as did FDR.

The American Kennel Club says Scottish terriers are "small yet strong and known as fast, alert and playful dogs" who exemplify "power in a small package," carrying the nickname "Diehard" as a breed.

The inevitable Pittsburgh angle:

No one needs to tell the folks at Carnegie Mellon University about Scottish terriers. A task force there decided upon the dog breed instead of a bagpiper when it ruminated in 2007 upon what kind of live mascot the school should have.

Comedian Bill Cosby subsequently gave a Scottie to the school as a gift after he was honored as commencement speaker. The dog he chose arrived in May 2008 and goes by the stage name Scotty, though her real name is Maggie.

She lives with a professor who has two Scottish terriers of his own, and she visits campus monthly, according to CMU's website. Requests can be made for her presence, but priority goes to alumni-favored events.

That sure makes it sound like CMU's Scotty is up for raising money more than anything. But hey, that's academia for you.

Gary Rotstein: or 412-263-1255. Ruth Ann Dailey is off today. First Published February 22, 2010 5:00 AM


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