I like dogs, but never got fanatical about them or got into competitions. (Well, OK, I do have a pic of Sam the Ugliest Dog in the World, a purebred hairless Chinese Crested) But today the winner of the Westminster dog show is of particular interest to me. In fact I hope to see him featured in the AARP magazine because he did come out of retirement at the relative dog age of 70 years to win a beauty contest. Of course Stump, a Sussex spaniel has the advantage of being covered in fur. If I were covered in fur I might be able to compete with those smooth-skin adolescents who normally win beauty contests. (It would help to just have a little fur on top of my head) Come to think of it, if Sam had been covered in fur he might not have been the ugliest dog in the world. Shale Sussex spaniel wins Westminster dog show The Associated Press Published: February 11, 2009 NEW YORK: Having just turned 10, a Sussex spaniel called Stump became the oldest best in show winner at the Westminster Kennel Club, ending his retirement last week and taking the big prize. With floppy ears and a plodding gait, the golden-red Stump was an instant fan favorite at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night. Turns out the old dog taught Westminster a new trick. In human years, he's almost 70! "He hasn't slowed down a bit," expert handler Scott Sommer said. "I thought it would be fun." Sommer said Sussex spaniels can live to be 15. The previous oldest winner at Westminster was an 8-year-old Papillon in 1999, and Stump was the first of his breed to capture the silver bowl. Stump barely made it past 5 or so. He left the show ring in 2004 and later nearly died from a mysterious medical condition. A nearly full crowd at Madison Square Garden cheered loudly when judge Sari Tietjen pointed to the new champion. She picked Stump from a field of seven that included a giant schnauzer that was the nation's top show dog, a favored Brussels griffon, a Scottish deerhound named Tiger Woods, a standard poodle with 94 best in show wins, a Scottish terrier and a puli. "He showed his heart out," Tietjen said. "He was everything you want." After he won, Stump showed off his one trick: He got up on his hinds, as if to beg. He didn't have to, he was already No. 1. Nearly 2,500 dogs in 170 breeds and varieties were entered in this 133rd edition of Westminster. Last year's champion, a beagle named Uno, was perhaps the most popular winner ever. But with a bounce in his step, Stump is sure to win over plenty of people while he reigns for a year. He'll also get extra playtime with his green Grinch toy. "He really is retired this time," Sommer said. Adorable and mellow, Stump doesn't bark much. He'll have something to howl about now — after being shipped to New York because he's too big to fit under the seat, he'll fly back in first class. Stump had been in retirement since winning the sporting group at Westminster in 2004. Soon after, he nearly wasted away and spent 19 days in a pet hospital. "It was very traumatic," Sommer said. Once he recovered, Stump mostly spent his days with Sommer, who in the meantime handled a great Bichon Frise called J.R. to the best in show at Westminster in 2001. Stump also had two sons to take care of, named Root and Forest. Five days before this show, Sommer thought Stump might enjoy one last walk on the green carpet at the Garden. And what a walk it was — his 51st best in show victory overall. Stump began by winning the best of breed, then took best in group. "Can you believe that?" said New York Yankees president Randy Levine, a regular at this event.