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Bethlehem resident prepares for Westminster Dog Show

By Bo Koltnow, Reporter, BKoltnow@wfmz.com
Published On: Jan 08 2014 05:16:15 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 08 2014 05:46:53 PM CST

This year's Westminster Dog Show in New York City is upping the ante for four-legged athletes.

BETHLEHEM, Pa. -

This year's Westminster Dog Show in New York City is upping the ante for four-legged athletes.

"At this point in time he knows his part. I'm still learning my part," Yale West of Bethlehem said.

A part Yale West of Bethlehem hopes helps Edward, his three year old pooch, take a winning bite out of "The Big Apple."

"Want to walk away with the blue rosette and it's Westminster," he said.

For 137 years being primped and pampered was a big point for pooches at the Westminster Dog Show.

But now pretty takes a sidestep for athletic grace. For the first time an agility championship has been added to the show.

Edward,who West rescued from a "Philly" shelter, is one of 225 dogs vying for the title in February. West says an obedience school discovery sniffed out Edward's talent.

"Facility had some agility equipment and he took a liking to it," he said.

That led to this makeshift course in his backyard, a drawer full of awards, and chance to make history.

Long time dog trainer and agility competitor Ali Brown says the new format will breathe new life into the concept of a big dog show.

"Showcases what people can do with their dogs by encouraging people to get active with their dogs. It enhances the lives of owners and their dogs," Brown, of Great Companions, located in Neffs, Lehigh County said.

Yale hopes Edward can be an example for rescue dogs. Win or lose for these two just finding each other is their biggest victory of all.

"It's an opportunity to present why people should go out and adopt dogs," West said.