Honoring Whippets at Westminster 1964

This article is contributed by Mary Beth and Doug Arthur, Marial Whippets. This article followed the Best in Show win by Ch. Courtenay Fleetfoot of Pennyworth’s at Westminster Kennel Club in 1964. Not sure many people have read this article from the event.

DRAWING INTEREST: Robert Forsyth, handler, discussing Ch. Courtenay Fleetfoot of Pennyworth yesterday with Willard K. Denton, right, president of Manhattan Savings Bank. Bank is holding its yearly dog exhibition.

WHAT happens to a dog after he wins best in show at America’s foremost bench event, the Westminster Kennel Club show in Madison Square Garden. Robert Forsyth of Chappaqua, N. Y., handler for the whippet that turned that impressive trick last week, took time out yesterday to answer the question in the lobby of a Madison Avenue bank, of all, places. It was at the week-long special show the Manhattan Savings Bank is conducting thin week.

Ch. Courtenay Fleetfoot of Pennyworth, the 3-year-old dog belonging to the Pennyworth Kennels of Newington, N. H., was photographed and re-photographed deep into the night after Len Carey, the judge, made the decision. That was on Tuesday. The kennel owners, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Newcombe, and Forsyth were interviewed at the Garden and at their motor inn residence. There were telephone calls and messages of congratulations. One message reached Forsyth when he arrived in the Garden’s downstairs benching area an hour after the victory.

Wednesday morning there were calls of a different nature. Whippet owners from all over wanted to breed their dogs to Fleetfoot, more familiarly called Ricky.

“Everybody wants to breed to a Westminster good said. “A good many whippet owners now almost are standing on line for a chance.”

The handler was asked how the victory had affected the stud fee. There’s been no change, he said. It remains at $150. There aren’t so many whippets as dogs in other breeds, such as boxers, he explained, so the demand was less. Fleetfoot probably will be at stud once a week, but certainly no more than three times a week.

Thursday morning there were more photographs and a radio appearance. Then the dog was off to Chappaqua. On Friday he was taken to Connecticut for the shows at Hartford and New Haven over the weekend. Last Monday morning dog and handler were at the Manhattan Savings Bank exhibition, which ends tomorrow. The only plans for the future so far are the Battle Creek, Mich., show on Feb. 29 and that of the Detroit Kennel Club on March 1.

The bank’s canine event has been going on one week a year for six years. It’s always well staged, includes the best available show dogs and gives lunch-hour crowds a chance to learn something of pure-bred dogs. It’s a demonstration rather than a competition and participants and spectators appear to enjoy it thoroughty. Various breeds are brought into a small ring one by one and Mrs. Evelyn Monte of New York, a leading expert, tells something about each.

This year some of the handlers are clad in costumes native to their breeds origins. Others wear the breeds national flags as armbands.

“The more we can make these things graphic so that the public will understand, the better it will be for dogdom,” said Willard K. Denton, the bank’s president, whose Ardencapie Kennels in Mount Kisco, N. Y., contains whippets, dachshunds, beagles and a few Old English sheepdogs. Mrs. Denton does most of the work of caring for about 60 dogs.

Manhattan conducts a number of similar special events during each year, Including a boat show, an automobile show, an Easter show and a winter show at Christmas time. It’s all part of an effort to “humanise” banking. All are part of life and the interests of people and “what’s good for people is good for banking,” the president said.

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