Q & A with Valerie Nunes-Atkinson, Carley Simpson, and German Shorthaired Pointer Jade (+ unicorn)
Last Saturday in Philadelphia, 1586 dogs, according to spokesman Steve Griffith, competed in what would be the taped-for-broadcast portion oft he AKC’s National Dog Show, hosted by the Kennel Club of Philadelphia. Best in Show went to Claire the Scottish Deerhound for the second year in a row. Congratulations, Claire.
Meantime, 3-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer Jade took first place in the Sporting Group. Reached by phone less than an hour after Jade’s win on speaker as they waited for Chinese food back at their hotel, co-owners Carley Simpson and Valerie Nunes-Atkinson struggled to keep up with hundreds of fans (there are 428 likes and more than 200 comments on Valerie’s Facebook post within the hour as news of Jade’s win spread).
EB: Tell me about the night.
CS: I mean, the night was fabulous.
[Laughter, jokes about Philadelphia, Eagles fans; EB asks VNA and CS if they know how many dogs Jade beat out in the Sporting Group; CS advised, “Check with Canine Chronicle.” EB: What!?]
EB: How is Jade doing? What’s her mental state?
VNA: Sleeping with her unicorn on the foot of the bed. She has a stuffed animal unicorn. She won’t leave it. She’s literally–her head is resting on it.
EB: Do you think she knows she won?
CS: Yes. Definitely. She pranced back from the ring. She knows!
EB: If Jade could say anything right now, what would it be?
CS: Get me a steak!
Jade is the daughter of Westminster Best in Show 2016 winner CJ. CJ tragically passed away last September from a sudden illness. If you have not read CJ’s story, we are making any content referring to CJ, Jade, et al. available outside of our paywall through Westminster Week 2022 in CJ’s honor. Jade, who is also the great granddaughter of Carlee (CJ’s grandmother), who won Best in Show at Westminster in 2005, is now the same age CJ was when he took BIS at Westminster.
Last Saturday is only the latest in a series of notable wins, including Best in Show in Texas, Sporting Group 1st place at the prestigious Morris and Essex show, and, of course, Sporting Group 1st place in June, when Westminster was held this year outside of the city. So far, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show appears to be moving ahead with its return to Manhattan, and to the earlier part of the year. We’ll have more reporting on that in the coming weeks, but we’ll be honest: we are unable to be impartial when it comes to Jade, Valerie, and Carley.