45,000 people voted in an online competition to place Tillie, a dachshund-cocker mix, as Best in Show in the NPB and Purina co-sponsored Dog Show USA. “This is a classic Cinderella story,” stated Ernie Planck, as he draped a medal and ribbon around the tiny winner’s neck. “She’s a mixed-breed rescue dog selected from 15,000 different entries. She is America’s dog.”
Tillie has seemed rather unimpressed with her new title, as well as her bouquet of carnations and crystal water bowl that she won, but people were definitely impressed with the tiny dog. According to Michael Moore, interactive marketing director for Purina, the website that featured the contestants’ pictures and stories got half a million visits from internet surfers. “Every dog deserves to have its day in the spotlight,” he stated. This was definitely the case for Tillie and her owner Julie George of Eagle Rock; the two arrived at the awards presentation by limousine and were given the whole red-carpet treatment.
Auditioning in Burbank, Tillie then traveled to NBC headquarters in New York as a finalist that the public would be able to vote on. Winner of the mixed-breed category, she had to compete against winners in eight other areas: herding, sporting, working, terrier, toy, “best trick,” “cutest face,” and “owner look-a-like.”
When asked why people should vote for Tillie, George simply stated, “Just look at this face.”
America did and it was a face that won the hearts of dog lovers across the country.