Dog Show (pretty happy)

Lisette Model, The Dog Show, New York, 1950 (37.1993)

Lisette Model, The Dog Show, New York, 1950 (61.1993)

Lisette Model, The Dog Show, New York, 1950 (65.1993)

John Albert, [Unidentified Bulldog standing and licking its nose, New York], 1944 (2013.115.40)

PM, February 13, 1941, p. 25

Champion My Own Brucie Repeats as Best in Westminster Show

Madison Square Garden – the world’s largest (and most comfortable) dog house the past two days and nights – was filled with enthusiastic admirers of purebred dogs last night for judging for the biggest prize in dogdom – best-in-Westminister-show.

And at 11:20 p.m., the six best-of-breeds were brought to the judge’s circle. In exactly 14 minutes – one of the fastest judgings on record – Champion My Own Brucie, the same smooth, showy Cocker Spaniel that won the best-in-show last year, repeated his victory to thundering applause…

Earlier in the day, Brucie had been selected as the best sporting dog in the show over Maro of Marador, a grand Orange Belton English setter. The judges had a tough time on this one. But Brucie came through.

Brucie was in there against an Afghan Hound, a Collie, a Kerry Blue, a Miniature Pinscher and a poodle. His selection was the hot tip early in the evening. Brucie is owned by Herman E. Mellenthin of Schenectady [Poughkeepsie].
PM, February 13, 1941, p. 25

Herman E. Mellenthin was born in Wisconsin and had his first Cocker Spaniel when he was seven and opened his first kennel, named Nihtnellem, when he was seventeen. Mellenthin, after over 30 years of dog breeding experience, bred, owned, and showed Champion My Own Brucie. A year and a month after My Own Brucie’s second consecutive Westminster best-in-show award Mellenthin had a heart attack and died at aged 53 in March, 1942.

Starting in 1937, and for the next four years, Champion My Own Brucie won approximately 160 trophies. In 1940, My Own Brucie bested over 2,700 dogs, and in 1941, My Own Brucie competed against over 2,500 dogs, to win consecutive Westminster best-in-show awards. Former president Herbert Hoover attended the sixty-fifth annual Westminister dog show in 1941; Champion My Own Brucie was 5 years old. In February 1943 he was “commissioned a general in the War Dog Fund of Dogs for Defense,” as reported in his New York Times obituary. One of the most popular, admired, and famous dogs of the late 1930s and early 40s Champion My Own Brucie, described by The New York Times as “a superbly beautiful jet-black cocker spaniel” and “one of the greatest specimens ever produced in this country both as a show dog and as a sire,” was not shown after his success at the 1941 Westminster show, died at age 8 in 1943.

Hugh Broderick, [Police dog Tim and Charles Bossman posing with Tim’s hero award, given for his rescue of Charles, New York], 1941 (2013.115.497)

Eleven-year-old Charles Bossman of 308 Mott St., Brooklyn, was buried by a wall of fallen bricks last May and Tim, an eight-year-old police dog barked until the boy was rescued. Last night in the Garden, Lowell Thomas decorated Tim, and Charley was there to watch. Both look pretty happy.
PM, February 13, 1941

Tim, a dog, was a hero for saving the life of a young Bossman. The details as reported in the dailies differed a bit. The Daily Worker‘s coverage was the most colorful: The Daily Worker reported that the empty lot in the back of 284 Mott St., an abandoned five-story tenement, was the only playground in the Mott Street neighborhood and at 11 a.m on Tuesday, May 28th, the back wall fell. “Out of the wreckage of the 50 foot rear wall crawled a blood-stained dog which barked, ran to a spot and started digging. Firemen and volunteers dug out Charles Bossman, 11, who was taken to Columbus Hospital with serious injuries.” (The Daily Worker, May 29, 1940, p.3.)

The Brooklyn Eagle wrote that “two school boys were playing in the rear of an abandoned building at 284 Mott St., Manhattan, shortly after noon today when the entire rear wall collapsed…. Dog Leads to Rescue. Tim, an 8-year-old police dog, guided rescuers to Charles. The dog was standing across the street with his owner, John Nuccio, of 265 Elizabeth St, when the wall collapsed.” (The Brooklyn Eagle, May 28, 1940, p.3.)

“A special dog hero award… went to Tim, a German shepherd dog owned by John Muncio. Tim saved the life of 11-year-old Charles Bossman, who was buried under bricks and debris when a building collapsed. The German shepherd led his owner to the wreckage, and this led to the discovery of the lad. Little Charley was present last night as Lowell Thomas, news commentator, [Lowell Thomas (1892–1981) was a broadcaster, journalist, and an advocate of Cinerama] announced presentation of the award.” (The New York Times, February 13, 1941.)

The Brooklyn Eagle described the presentation of the hero’s award trophy to the German Shepard Tim as a “sentimental interlude.” “Owner John Nuccio and the rescued victim were there and enjoyed the show beatifically. Tim showed what he thought of all this human nonsense (a) by barking at the applauding fancy… and (b) snarling at news-cameramen.” (Brooklyn Eagle, February 16, 1941.)

Tim, the real best-in-show, presumably the only life-saver, wasn’t snarling at Hugh Broderick when he made his great photo; in fact they both look “pretty happy.”

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