Nestled in the benching area of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show —one family was having a moment.
Dolly, 2-year-old, Pembroke Welsh corgi, had failed to earn a ribbon in a competition meant to highlight the very best of her breed. With her first time showing on the country’s grandest stage all but over, Dolly returned to her crate on the bench. For a few moments, she sat alone in the dark, seemingly destined to be a Westminster footnote. Her owner, Sean Sullivan from New Jersey tells the story:
He said that even though his cancer diagnosis came out of the blue two years ago, Dolly had long sensed something was wrong.
When Sullivan turned lethargic in 2018, the dog was reluctant to leave his side.
The illness was identified soon after. Sullivan had Stage 2 colorectal cancer, and the road to recovery would be arduous: six months of chemotherapy, 28 radiation treatments and two surgeries. The 58-year-old recalled that his doctors urged him to keep a “positive mental attitude.” Every win from the road, every ribbon, we could just take our mind off cancer, Like all performance dogs, Dolly is conditioned to read and react to even the most subtle nonverbal cues during shows. The animals, having experienced dozens of competitions with their handlers, are often more in tune with their owners’ emotions than are other pets,