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Top dog's co-owner is former Hagerstonian

Goretti grad's beagle scored historic win at Westminster show

Goretti grad's beagle scored historic win at Westminster show

February 21, 2008|By JANET HEIM

HAGERSTOWN - Eddie Dziuk began raising beagles 30 years ago, when he was a student at St. Maria Goretti High School.

Now, he's co-owner of Uno - the beagle who recently was named Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, held Feb. 11-12 at New York's Madison Square Garden.

Uno is the first beagle to win Best in Show honors.

For people like Dziuk who show dogs, winning Best in Show at Westminster is "everybody's ultimate dream. I feel I worked at it a long, long time," Dziuk said in a telephone interview.

Dziuk, 44, said he spent his middle school and high school years in Hagerstown, where he attended E. Russell Hicks Middle School and graduated from St. Maria Goretti in 1981. He earned a bachelor's degree in economics from Mount St. Mary's College in Emmitsburg, Md.

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Dziuk, whose mother lives in Hagerstown, said his whole family is into dogs. His interest in showing dogs started with his sister's college roommate, who showed dogs with the Mason-Dixon Kennel Club at the Fairgrounds in Hagerstown.

He said he tagged along and liked what he saw enough to join the club. Dziuk said he got his first beagle when he was a student at St. Maria Goretti, and he has been showing dogs for the nearly 30 years since.

"The early involvement in the Mason-Dixon Kennel Club was really important. They were great in terms of teaching me," Dziuk said.

As far as Dziuk's experience in New York at the Westminster show, he said from where he was sitting in the stands, it was hard to tell which dog received Best in Show. When he finally learned it was Uno, he rushed to get to the floor, and he said he had to convince a couple of guards that Uno was his dog.

"It was a thrill when it hit home. It was very exciting," Dziuk said. "We're very proud of him."

Dziuk said there's been so much buzz in the media about Uno and his being the first beagle to win the prestigious Best in Show at Westminster. He said beagles have always been popular dogs and considered "All-American," a dog that appeals to the average person.

Dziuk worked for Electronic Data Systems for 16 years after college. Since 2001, he has been the chief operating officer of the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" to combine his business background and his love of dogs.

The foundation is a nonprofit organization, the goal of which is to reduce the incidence of inherited diseases in dogs, Dziuk said.

He and his wife, Pam, whom he describes as a "second-generation dog person," live in Columbia, Mo.

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