Duke Therapy Dog Receives Winners Award At 2015 Westminster Dog Show

The youngest contestant, Portree’s Waiting On A Friend, better known as Sam, won the Winners Award at this year’s Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

“Although Sam didn’t make it to the final round of competition, he was a champ among his seasoned competitors,” said Sandra Towne, Sam’s owner and therapy partner. “I am very proud of Sam. He did a really great job at Westminster.”

Leaving the glitz and glam of the stage behind, Sam, a Scottish breed known as a Gordon Setter, was back at work the Monday morning, volunteering his love and affection to those who need it most. Hearing of his recent accomplishment, local network affiliates came to meet and greet the mild-mannered star. Duke Cancer Center patients ooed and awed.

“He’s just beautiful,” said Karyn Kelly, as she ran her fingers through his soft black and tan fur. “I forgot for a moment why I’m even here.”

Kelly, 43, from Glasgow, Scotland, was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Just about to meet with her specialists, Sam was just what the doctor ordered.

“He has a calming effect,” Towne said. “Sam’s a sporting dog; he loves to run in the fields and chase birds. Yet, when it’s time to come here, he becomes docile and gentle. I think he knows the apprehension and fear that accompanies a diagnosis of cancer. Sam cares. He’s so much more than just a pretty face.”


Circle photo: Karyn Kelly and her husband, Alan, take a moment to get to know Sam, a Pets At Duke therapy dog and also a 2015 Westminster Dog Show winner.

Read more about Sam and the Pets At Duke Program here. WNCN News story featuring Sam and Pets At Duke here. Durham Herald-Sun story, “Heartwarming: Duke Therapy Dog Honored at Westminster Show.”

CBS New York news story here.