When Rick and Lorie Douglas of Sayre, Pennsylvania, first saw their Old English Sheepdog puppy two years ago, they knew she was special. But they could have never known that their dog, “Biscotti Rose” CH Bumblebear’s Lady Stardust, would become a champion in the Conformation ring and a tremendous source of support for the couple.
In 2022, Rick was treated for lung cancer, undergoing chemotherapy and radiation. Throughout the process, Biscotti Rose was his faithful bedside companion. And on May 8, she competed in Best of Breed Conformation at the 147th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in Queens, New York, taking home Select Bitch for the Old English Sheepdogs Breed Competition.
Their “Pick of the Litter”
The Douglases started their dogs in obedience with their first OSE, Elliott. Their instructor asked them if they had ever tried Conformation, which is when they gave it a try with Elliott. “We quickly met people in the breed who were very kind to us, taught us about the importance of the standard, showed us basic grooming, and suggested we join the Old English Sheepdog Club of America.”
As they dipped their toes in the Conformation waters, the Douglases became hooked. Soon, they sought out a potential show champion, which led them to Beth Van Dervort, owner of Bumblebears Old English Sheepdogs in Vestal, New York.
Lorie had met Beth while campaigning with another dog and was impressed with the quality of her entries. “I knew Beth was going to breed her girl, Sadie, and I told her I wanted a quality bitch out of the litter. Beth immediately sent me photos of the puppies and the first one just happened to be Biscotti. I looked at the photo and somehow just knew she was the one. Never any question about it.”
As for the dog’s unique name? “I was baking biscotti one day and thought that would be a good name for a dog,” Lorie laughs. “My granddaughter then asked if her middle name would be Rose, and from there on she has been Biscotti Rose.”
Falling in Love With Dog Shows
Biscotti Rose’s introduction to the dog-show world came when she was only 6 months, 3 days. At the 2021 Old English Sheepdog Club of America National Specialty in Wilmington, Ohio, she took Reserve Winners Bitch. With limited showing, she finished her championship at 18 months.
Lorie feels that everything about Biscotti helps make her a standout show dog. “She is sweet with just enough sass to make her outgoing. Her conformation is beautiful, along with her smooth movement. Her adolescent coat is starting to turn into a nice adult one. And she comes from terrific lines.”
They competed in Westminster three times previously with their Elliott, but 2023 was Biscotti Rose’s first year. “We’re just a middle-class couple that got involved in puppy obedience training with one of our other dogs and discovered how much fun it was,” says Lorie. “It builds a bond between owner and dog.”
From Champion to Canine Support System
But life hasn’t been just all about the show ring for this canine champion. In February 2022, Rick, a contractor, was diagnosed with lung cancer. As he underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatment, Biscotti Rose stayed at his side.
“She had her own chair and mingled with other patients,” Lorie says. “The staff loved her. In fact, they considered her a therapy dog for them, too. The best day was when Rick finished treatment and Biscotti rang the bell with him. There was not a dry eye in the room.”
A Welcome Distraction During Cancer Treatment
Biscotti Rose also accompanied Rick to outpatient treatment. Every week for six weeks, he underwent five days of radiation and one day of chemotherapy. Then, on weekends, Rick handled her in shows. Altogether, they competed in seven 2022 shows across four states. “Rick needed something more than cancer to think about,” says Lorie. “Biscotti was a puppy at the time. She required care, training, grooming, playtime, all the things young dogs need. So he focused on her. He was on a mission to get her to every show we entered. You might say she’s his soul dog.”
“We both had a strong bond with her, but there had always been something with Rick that drew her closer to him.” Lorie says that he showed her from the beginning and that that bond grew after he was diagnosed. “Her unwavering love and devotion gave him hope to look to the future and a purpose. He knew he had to get her to the shows and get in the ring to make her the champion she deserved to be. They are a team.”
Not Slowing Down In or Out of the Ring
So what’s ahead for Biscotti Rose after Westminster? Lorie says they’ll possibly try AKC Rally, and definitely get her Therapy Dog certification. Biscotti’s time at the hospital with Rick during his treatment has proved to be good practice already. “She has already shown she has what is needed for therapy work,” adds Lorie.
But until then, 68-pound Biscotti includes neighborhood walks, hikes, soccer in the backyard, and trips to the bank with Lorie, where she “mooches treats from the tellers and savors her celebrity status. She simply thinks she’s a big deal when interacting with everyone. And who I am to tell her she is not?”