An Irish water spaniel was removed from the final night of the Westminster Dog Show after being spooked by a judge, losing her composure and refusing to be examined Tuesday.
The issues for Simone, also known as GCH CH Poole's Ide Say No More CD RN CGC, appeared to begin when the judge — reportedly Theresa Hundt — tried to walk past her during the group judging stage Tuesday night.
This was Simone the Irish Water Spaniel. And it’s Nope not today! pic.twitter.com/8d8SGmOhfv
— LaWanda (@lawanda50) February 12, 2020
While the FS1 broadcast's camera angle made it appear Simone may have lunged toward Hundt, Simone's co-handler, Hannah Loonsk, confirmed to Sporting News on Thursday that the three-year-old spaniel actually jumped away from the judge.
Hundt, in turn, stepped away to give Simone some space. With the help of Loonsk, Simone calmed down briefly, but again jumped away from Hundt when the judge tried to restart the judging process.
Eventually, with Simone still agitated by Hundt's presence, the dog was excused, taking a walk of shame out of the Madison Square Garden floor.
Some viewers, though, believed Hundt may have stepped on Simone's paw, causing the outburst. It's hard to tell from the video, but even if Hundt didn't make contact with the paw, it's possible just a near-miss — combined with the nerves of being on the biggest stage in American dog showing — was enough to spook the Irish Water Spaniel.
@WKCDOGS You might want to revaluate your judge Ms. Thersea L. Hundt. Stepping on a dog's paw would cause them to react the way they did. The Irish Water Spaniel & their handler deserved better. #dogshow #poorjudgment pic.twitter.com/AsOrK4g7a9
— Victoria Wirth (@vmdm_photo) February 12, 2020
Loonsk, however, didn't seem to be in an accusatory mood after the snafu, being "all smiles" according to The Canine Review. Simone can still go home with her head held high, having been named the best Irish water spaniel on display in New York.