Meet the Frontrunners: Toy Group - David Fitzpatrick + Rodger

David Fitzpatrick’s parents didn’t allow dogs in their home. Instead, his parents compromised. They allowed him to take a job after school working for a lady who raised Pekingese and who just happened to be a professional handler. Almost from the start, he was hooked.

Every day he was picked up after school to help with the Pekingese, even traveling with them to shows on weekends. He knew early on that what he had stumbled upon was a career in the making.

Asked to extol the virtues of his beloved Pekingese, he is only too happy to oblige: “It's a breed that originated in China. Originally, they were palace dogs bred by the emperors and empresses. They are very regal, and yet they’re also laid back. They are great little companion dogs — fun and amusing. They’re a lot of work, but worth it.” 

He talks openly about how critical it is for exhibitors to establish a good relationship with their dogs, which is what he’s done with Rodger, whom he’s brought to this year’s National Dog Show: “It's something that happens naturally when you show a dog. You figure them out, and they figure you out, and you develop quite a bond. It is important because they have to enjoy this and feel secure, and you are part of their security blanket.”

Like most exhibitors, David fusses over his dog’s nutrition. Just two years removed from winning Best In Show at Westminster, he’s found a winning formula in Purina® Pro Plan® Select Rice & Duck formula and is sticking with it: 

“Rodger is eating the Duck & Rice. He likes duck. All my dogs do well on it; it helps them stay in good condition, and it's very palatable.” 

David, who’s been showing dogs for over four decades, is what you might call a show ring lifer.  

“It's a lot of fun, and it's a great way to enjoy purebred dogs and make new friends,” he says “It's also a great way to learn something new. There’s always another challenge around the corner, and it's a wonderful way of life for anyone who loves dogs. I've enjoyed it for 43 years!”

  1. Best In Show Winner: Jewel the American Fox Hound
  2. Next Article

For over 80 years, we've been guided by the belief that people and pets are better together.