Laurie Neilson of Alamogordo, New Mexico, USA, was able to witness the 10th Purina Pro Plan-fed dog to be named Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on February 16, 2016, at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York, USA.
The prize winner of the Purina Pro Plan 9 of 9 Best in Show Sweepstakes recently took her dog-loving 13-year-old daughter on an all-inclusive and special-access trip to see the best of all breeds.
The sweepstakes was open to all individuals with military status and ran September 1 through October 31, 2016, in commissaries and exchanges across the country and all military branches through mymilitarysavings.com. One winner was randomly selected from each type of store: Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA), Navy Exchange (NEXCOM), and Army and Air Force Exchange (AAFES).
AAFES winner Neilson, an Army veteran who was stationed in Georgia, Texas and Korea during four years of active duty, also served in the Army Reserves until retiring in 2013. She is also the owner of two dogs: Ronnie, a two-year-old rescue dog who is part border collie mix, and Mocha, a six-month-old puppy who is a red Doberman and Rottweiler mix.
Two additional military grand prize winners elected to receive a cash prize of $3,000 in lieu of the trip:
DeCA winner Wayne Mikell, an Air Force veteran from Ocala, Florida, USA, who is an operation room nurse at the Veterans Affairs in Gainesville, Florida, USA, and is the owner of three dogs: Twilight, an eight-year-old red Doberman; Coco, a nine-year-old Labrador retriever; and Zulu, a one-year-old cocker spaniel. He used his prize money to purchase a new refrigerator and put a fence around his pool.
NEXCOM winner Dawn Schultz, who is married to an active duty member of the Navy, from Bremerton, Washington, USA, and is the owner of two dogs: Ryder, a special-needs pit bull whose previous owner tried to poison him, and Jax, a shiba inu with excellent vertical jumping skills. She is using the prize money to build a tall fence in their backyard so the dogs can run around.
“The loyalty between our servicemen and servicewomen and their pets is an unbreakable bond. Our Military 9 of 9 Best in Show winner Laurie Neilson shows that bond with her two dogs Ronnie and Mocha. And we’re excited she got to see our 10th Purina Pro Plan-fueled dog be named Best in Show at Westminster,” said Debbie Kesler, Nestlé-Purina military account manager. “We are proud to serve our military family pets and their owners.”
New shelter data casts doubt on whether the pet population and pet ownership are truly growing.
While the pandemic caused unprecedented suffering worldwide in 2020, the disruptions to dogs, cats and other pets adoption numbers may normalize in 2021.