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Did You See the MinPin's Great Escape on the National Dog Show?

Did you see the MinPin bolt from his handler during the National Dog Show ?

When professional dog show handler Sarah Murphy agreed to show Timmy the Miniature Pinscher at the last minute in the Toy group, she never imagined she'd end up being featured on the Today show and in news reports on NBC, CBS, ABC, and CNN -- for starters. Or that the still photo everyone focused on was "that face."

"Dog Makes a Break, Handler Devastated" went the headlines. And suddenly, Murphy was the most famous dog handler in the country. But not for helping a dog win Best in Show -- that went to the Bloodhound's handler -- but for letting her charge get loose during group judging and steal the limelight.

But really, how hard can it be to walk a dog around in a circle and hold onto him? Especially one as small as a MinPin? It's not like he's a Saint Bernard or an Irish Wolfhound .

Murphy had never shown Timmy before, but she had shown a different MinPin earlier that day in the breed competition. She says she'd been joking about how "showing them is like having a hummingbird on a string," she recalls, even thinking how bad it would be if one ever got loose! The truth is, MinPins are more like hummingbirds on speed. And that's before taking one who doesn't know you into a giant group ring, under dazzling lights in front of a huge noisy audience!

Timmy's owner wasn't up to showing him and asked Murphy to take him in. Things started off fairly well, as you can see in his individual exam:

Timmy's ballerina imitation definitely impressed the crowd. But notice on

his final go-round that Timmy veers to the side -- that's the gate he sees, and he wants to find Mom! Still, Murphy gets him past it and on his way.

Back in line, she was trying to keep Timmy happy, letting him play with some other dogs. That's when it happened. "They were jumping back and forth and around and over one another, and they started to get tangled, and at some point, I just lost the lead."

The rest, as they say, is history -- because Timmy sure was history. He remembered exactly where the gate was and beelined toward it, oblivious to the handler with her Cavalier whose path he was crossing -- and to the fact that he was on national TV. Or maybe not. MinPins are such hams.

What to do? Murphy didn't want to disrupt the Cavalier's show time, so she waited until he was almost back to the judge before going after Timmy. "I was hoping nobody would notice," she says. (Um, Sarah, they noticed.)

Meanwhile, Timmy's escape route had been blocked by the Men in Black (or, well, show officials in tuxes). But MinPins aren't known for their stellar ability to come when called, even to their owners, much less somebody they've known for 10 minutes. "He turned around and looked at me like I was Satan, and I was sure he going to bolt the other way!"

But Timmy decided he was done with his 15 seconds of fame (everything is faster in MinPin time) and gave himself up. Sarah carried him back toward her place in line. That's when it happened: the face seen round the world.

"My only regret is making that face!"

Television network websites looped it. National television broadcasts aired it. People shared it.

Category: Bloodhound

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