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King George woman is co-owner of Deuce the Pekingese, who will be on TV Saturday as part of the Eukanuba National Championship.
Brenda Royer of King George (third from right) and Joey Franklin (third from left) of Raleigh pose with Deuce.
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By CATHY DYSON
Brenda Royer has her chips and salsa ready--not for a Super Bowl party, but for an event that's almost as big a deal in the dog world.
From her King George County living room, Royer will watch a dog she co-owns compete on a national stage.
She'll see Grand Champion Oakhill's Two Times the Dragon--informally known as Deuce the Pekingese--in the American Kennel Club Eukanuba National Championship.
The show will be broadcast at 2 p.m. Saturday on ABC.
The event took place in December, so Royer already knows how Deuce did. Viewers won't see Deuce win best in show for his breed; they'll simply see him strutting around with every hair of his grand mane in place as he represents the toy breed.
Deuce didn't walk away with a ribbon in the overall show, but Royer can't wait to see her little dog on a big stage.
"I'm very excited to see him, I know he shows well," she said. "But I've never had a dog on TV."
Royer and Joey Franklin of Raleigh, N.C., are Pekingese breeders. Franklin was a mentor to Royer when she first started showing, and in 2007 the two decided to buy a puppy together from a breeder in Oregon.
"Not all puppies are meant for the show ring," but the two quickly realized there was something special about Deuce, Royer said.
His conformation was the standard for the breed, and so was his double coat of long fur. After hours of having his coat brushed and sprayed with products to increase its volume, Deuce stood out among others of the ancient Chinese breed.
To complete the package, he has the aloofness that marks the breed, Royer said.
Deuce lives in North Carolina with Franklin, who's also his handler, and has been on the show circuit since 2008. He earned points by doing well in various shows, then won the best-in-breed award at the Pekingese Club of America show in May 2011 in New Orleans.
That earned him a ticket to the AKC/Eukanuba championship, an event that is strictly invitation-only.
The top 25 dogs in every AKC-recognized breed and variety, as well as champions in various categories, are invited to compete. The event awards more than $225,000 in prize money, but none of that will be coming back to King George.
In fact, Royer, a Pekingese breeder and self-employed bookkeeper, doesn't want to think about how much she and Franklin have spent on entry fees, travel and hair products for dogs.
"Most people work to support their kids," Royer said. "I think I work to support my dog."
Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425