In the Dog of the Year competition, the top spot went to Buffy, an 8-year-old cocker spaniel that was rescued from his old home after being trapped with his deceased owner’s body for 10 to 14 days.
“When we notified law enforcement to enter the house to find out why we couldn’t reach the friend, they found our friend took Buffy to their shelter,” Thomas said.
She said Buffy was considered unadoptable because of her age and health problems, which included malnutrition, severe matting of fur to the point she couldn’t walk and ear infections.
“After another 10 days of pleading and convincing the authorities in charge not to put her asleep and to release her to us, we finally were able to adopt her,” Thomas said.
Buffy is a bonafide city dog and prefers to walk on pavement. Thomas said she even had to teach Buffy to go to the grass to do her business, though she sometimes still hits the sidewalk.
“She growls at lighting bugs and is amazed by birds and squirrels, but not interested in pursuing them,” Thomas said. “She has strong attachment issues, as one can understand, and doesn’t like being left alone even following one from room to room. She loves everyone and has even developed somewhat of a relationship with our cat. This dog has been through a lot but the only time she whimpers is not when she gets physically hurt, but if she is left alone. We love her and now understand why she was our deceased friend’s 'Best Friend.'”
The top three dogs are all pretty inspirational, but I haven’t had much of a chance to talk about Zola yet.
“Her owner set his kennel on fire for insurance,” said her new owner, Connie DeHart, of Topeka. “Seventy-five dogs were rescued. A call was put out for foster families. I drove to Blue Springs, it was a madhouse of barking dogs. I offered to rescue one dog who was the most likely not to be rescued. I was taken to a cage with a dog cowering at the back of the cage, her nose bent from being in a too-small cage, burns on her face. I went in the cage and she urinated all over herself but she didn’t snap or nip when I put a leash on her. She froze and would not walk so I carried this full-grown dog to my car.”
When they got home, Zola scrambled under Connie’s bed and stayed there for days. Connie slid her out every few hours to pee and put her food by the bed.
“Eventually she came out but even now 9 years later she is scared of everyone, she will walk on a leash but makes a wide space between anyone that looks at her,” DeHart said. “Zola is the most loyal and loving dog and gets along with Olive, her pointer sister. The one time she followed Olive under the fence I came home to find her inside the house after jumping in through my screened window.”
Dog of the Year results
1. Buffy, cocker spaniel, owned by Barb Thomas — After his owner died, Buffy was trapped in the house for 10 to 14 days with the deceased owner’s body. She was considered unadoptable because of her age and health, but eventually was able to move in with her new family.
2. Katy, miniature schnauzer, owned by Jess Smith, of Topeka — She may be blind, but that doesn’t slow her down. She came back from the brink of death and continues to be happy-go-lucky despite her tough past. What an inspirational story!
3. Zola, German shorthair, owned by Connie DeHart, of Topeka — Was rescued from a fire at a kennel in Blue Springs. Was considered the least likely to be adopted because she was so afraid of people and had burns on her face. Nine years later, she’s still somewhat afraid, but is a loyal and loving companion.
4. Phog Allen “Pal” Lockard, owned by Hal and Karlene Lockard, of Topeka — Brings luck to our Jayhawks, so how can I not love this cute little guy?
5. Jedi, Labrador retriever, owned by Rachel Slechta — This Force-wielding pooch in a bowtie is a Rogue One, indeed.
6. T-Bone, chocolate lab, owned by Hunter Rouse, of Nevada, Mo. — T-Bone and Hunter have a new home in Missouri, now, but he’s still as good a hunting dog as ever.
7. Karma, dachshund, owned by Jay Waechter, of Topeka — This “Bass Pointer” is the envy of anglers everywhere. Loves to kayak and go hunting for rabbits and squirrels.
8. Cricket, golden retriever, owned by Bill and June Hilbert, of Meriden — The “Mole-inator” remains a favorite of mine. Plus, I’ve never seen a dog eat a corn cob.
9. Lady, cocker spaniel, owned by John and Susan Genther, of Topeka — She was a star in “Lady and the Tramp,” and is just as big a star in this contest.
10. Fergy, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, owned by Jan and Stan Stegelman — This great fishing buddy keeps an eye on his owners’ fishing poles for them when they go out on the lake. What a cool pup!
11. Kalli, mixed breed, owned by Janet Fox, of Ozawkie — This shelter dog provides great companionship for his owner after she lost her husband.
12. Pete, Havanese, owned by Scott Henson, of Topeka — A great weather dog, he can forecast with the best of them.
13. Ben the Prison Dog, owned by Wayne and Karen Peterson, of Topeka — A longtime contestant of the contest, Ben’s always got a spot on this list.
14. Sugar, chocolate lab, owned by Jack Hopkins, of Topeka — Quite a diver, she can go all the way to the bottom of the pool to get her favorite toy.
15. Eddie, miniature white schnauzer, owned by Steve and Penny McCoy, of Topeka — A faithful paper dog, he has brought the daily issue of The Topeka Capital-Journal into the house from the driveway each morning, though he sometimes struggles with the larger Sunday sections. He often gets to visit a nursing facility in town to spread his happiness around. What a good boy!
16. Gus, Great Dane, owned by Barbie Atkins, of Topeka — Gus loves sunbathing and slippers. He may have been an old nudist in a previous life.
17. Jasmine, English cream golden retriever, owned by Carolyn Buono, of Topeka — This great dog works as a crisis response dog, as well as a therapy dog.
18. Franklin, King Charles Cavalier Spaniel, owned by Sara Gowan, of Topeka — His best friend in the world is a cat named Sphynx, and he’ll spend hours cleaning his ears. That’s a true pal!
19. Brinkley, Bichon/Shi-Tzu mix, owned by Emily Rhoades, of Topeka — Named after the dog in “You’ve Got Mail,” he’s got a big-city personality. He loves to go on road trips so he can feel the breeze blowing through his ears and is a faithful dog who sticks close to his owner.
20. Olive, pointer, owned by Connie DeHart, of Topeka — Loves jumping over her owner’s fence, but broke her knee while trying one day. The vets said she wouldn’t be able to climb or run again, but a month later she was climbing again and running like the wind. Everyone in their two-block neighborhood knows Olive.
21. Bentley Hutchison, chug, owned by Kaleigh Hutchinson — This little guy is cute as can be and has been a big part of his owner’s life for quite some time now.
22. Ichabod, Chihuahua, owned by Frances Scrimsher — Born May 10, 2005, Frances says that everyone else will agree that he is the cutest little dog ever. Plus, as a Washburn graduate, I love his name.
23. Gema, Pembroke Welsh corgi, owned by John and Lynn Lorenz, of Topeka — She loves the outdoors and chasing those rascally squirrels.
24. Bella, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, owned by Tyler Wible — Love those Cavaliers, except for LeBron James.
25. Chloe, chocolate lab, owned by Brendan Handy, of Topeka — Still waiting on Brendan to actually submit her for the Dog of the Year contest. Until he does, I’ll continue to find a spot for her on this list.
26. Rascal, mixed breed, owned by Bonnie and Sonny Swader, of Topeka — Rascal’s still begging for ice cubes and sitting at the dinner table. He also tells grandma when he’s ready for bed.
No longer with us
27. Abbey, golden retriever, owned by Carolyn Buono — A beautiful girl gone too soon.
For the Cat of the Year results, click here.
For results from the Miscellaneous category, click here.