Local cocker spaniel wins; Aviary penguins hatch an egg; WearWoof shop to close

Local dog wins big

A cocker spaniel from Peters beat out nearly 5,000 purebred dogs to win Best in Show in Orlando, Fla., last weekend at the American Kennel Club’s largest show — the AKC National Championship presented by Royal Canin.

Grand Champion Silverhall Strike Force is owned by Regina Beinhauer of Peters and Carolee Douglas of Albuquerque, N.M. He was bred by Wilson S. Pike and Bonnie S. Pike of Durham, N.H.

We can all watch Striker competing and being crowned national champion when three hours of show highlights are televised on Animal Planet at 7 and 11 p.m. Jan. 1.

The AKC has imposed a gag order on National Championship winners until after the show has aired. For now, Striker’s owners, breeders and handlers can’t talk to media. 

Striker, 5, is brown and beige. In AKC competitions for 2017 he’s the No. 1 dog in the sporting group and No. 3 overall. Rankings are based on the number of dogs they beat at shows. 

Rankings for show dogs can be found at caninechronicle.com and other websites.

Penguin cam

The first egg of African penguins Sidney and Bette hatched Dec. 16 at the National Aviary, and the second hatched Wednesday. 

Go to www.PenguinNestCam.org to see live black-and-white video feed of the little family in their nesting cave in the Penguin Point exhibit.

Right now the chicks are about the size of golf balls, according to the aviary news release, so it requires patience over multiple minutes to see them on your computer screen. 

The father and mother take turns keeping the newborns warm in the nursery. The names of mom and dad are on bands on their wings, so viewers can tell which bird is which. 

The chicks will be on the Nest Cam for three weeks. Newly hatched penguin chicks get their initial nutrition from a yolk sac attached to their body. Soon we’ll see them begging for food from the parents, who will feed them a diet of partially digested fish.

Sidney and Bette have already hatched and raised three sets of chicks — a total of six baby birds, not counting the current batch.

The Nest Cam is presented by Peoples Gas. The camera and installation were donated by M & P Security Solutions Inc., which is a veteran-owned business.

Twenty African penguins live at the North Side bird zoo. They are critically endangered in the wild.

WearWoof closing doors

In a nearly five-year run, the WearWoof resale shop in McCandless raised more than $70,000 for local animal shelters and rescue groups. But now the store is closing at the end of the month.

“We are really proud of WearWoof,” said Nancy Lee of the store she opened in April 2013. “But it was a very labor-intensive way to raise money for animals” with 2½ paid employees and 3,000 volunteers. Ms. Lee has never taken a salary from WearWoof, she said.

“Retail is struggling. Brick and mortar stores are struggling. This is very emotional, but in the end we made a business decision. This is not the end. It’s a new beginning.”

WearWoof Inc. is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, and board members and Ms. Lee are discussing ways to continue helping animals and the organizations that help animals. That includes looking at continuing to hold fundraisers that have been successful in recent years. 

She said she and her husband, Albert Lee, “are really committed to animal welfare.” 

While the doors are still open, there are bargains galore. The WearWoof Facebook page on Wednesday was advertising 70 percent off sales.

The shop sells gently worn designer and upscale clothes for women and is at 3400 McIntyre Square Drive, right off McKnight Road.

— compiled by Linda Wilson Fuoco