I know I am two weeks late writing about Stump, the amazing 10-year-old Sussex spaniel who won Best in Show at the Westminster Dog Show on Feb. 11, but I can’t get that pooch off my mind.
Every now and then, a person — or in this case a dog — comes along who defines the times in which we are living. Stump, in my opinion, is that icon. Consider that five years ago, Stump was so sick he wasn’t expected to live.
The infection that invaded his furry body was so severe he couldn’t lift that magnificent head with its long furry ears.
When Stump survived, his owner, Scott Sommer, vowed that spaniel would never work again. No more dog shows. No more traveling. Stump lived a good life, lounging on the couch. Then this year, Sommer was so impressed with how good Stump looked that he entered him Westminster to let Stump show off one more time. And so he did.
So how does Stump figure as an icon of our Next Great Depression? Let me count the ways:
1. Stump is the come-back kid, defying all odds against his survival.
2. Despite his pedigree, Stump has the swagger and style of a commoner, an ordinary dog with extraordinary talent (just like most of us like to think of ourselves).
3. Stump, a long shot if ever there was one, won the highest honor in dogdom.
4. Stump’s victory brought joy in troubled times, reminding us that very good things do indeed happen.
5. Stump, the oldest dog to win Westminster, teaches us that good things happen to those who wait.
One of the hardest things to accept as this recession deepens is how quickly every aspect of life is unraveling.
I really can’t understand how all of what we have worked for can disappear so fast.
I suspect that Stump’s owner felt much the same way when the spaniel was near death. How could such a healthy animal get so sick?
But Stump not only survived, he thrived.
And so, despite all the miserable news, I must believe that things will eventually turn around.
We still have the same potential. There has been no natural disaster or war that destroyed our capacity to produce. There has been no epidemic that sapped our strength. There has been no mass attack of dementia that robbed our minds and erased our creativity.
All our potential is still there if we just believe in ourselves again.
Donna Wright, health and social services reporter, can be reached at 745-7049.