Dinah Molly and EZ are ground-breaking South Florida athletes, about to compete in one of the best-known events of their sport.
They and three other canine contestants from other parts of Florida are among the 225 dogs at the first-ever agility trial offered in conjunction with the famous annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. The Masters Agility Championship will be Feb. 8, and the finals televised live that night on Fox Sports 1, with the all-breed dog show starting Feb. 10.
"It's a great opportunity to have agility be recognized by more people," said Dr. Erin Leff, a veterinarian at Brookside Animal Hospital in Coral Springs. "They'll see these dogs have beauty and brains."
Leff is the owner of the tiny Papillon officially called Spinillons Seymour "EZ," whose silky ears flutter like butterfly wings when he's at top speed. EZ is trained and handled by John and Gayle York, with whom he currently lives in Royal Palm Beach.
Norwich terrier Arcadian-Dynamite Red Beryl, or Dinah Molly to her friends, has Westminster in her blood. Her great-grandfather was Willum the Conqueror, who won the prestigious "Best in Show" title 20 years ago.
"We are thrilled to be invited. I just am praying there isn't a snowstorm," said Melanie Bryson, from Boca Raton who trains and handles Molly.
Finals of the first Masters Agility Championship at Westminster will air 7-9 p.m. Feb. 8 on Fox Sports 1. The main show will be Feb. 10-11.