Bookie isn’t your average canine.
For starters, “Bookie” is the 3-year-old Bernese mountain dog’s house name. His show name is a little longer: “Sapphire and Tanzanite Million To One Odds.”
“It’s a term you hear in gambling: ‘You’ve got a million-in-one-odds to win that bet,’ if you use it in a sentence,” said Bookie’s owner Stacey Larsen. “This is what breeders do. They’re great show names, and they also represent the kennel name and that specific line of dogs.”
In short, when he’s at a dog show, he’s listed as Sapphire and Tanzanite Million To One Odds. At home, he’s known simply as Bookie.
Bookie, a grand champion, seemingly has a busier schedule than most of us, too.
Not only will Bookie and Larsen walk the Canine Couture runway show at the Bentley Scottsdale Polo Championships at WestWorld of Scottsdale on Nov. 10, but he will also compete at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in February.
“This is big. This is huge,” said Larsen, a Scottsdale-based dog trainer and owner of Puppy Prep School. “It’ll be his first time and my first time showing at Westminster.”
As Bookie puts in around 25 per hours each week training for Westminster – including jogging, walking, grooming, underwater treadmill conditioning and riding the downtown Scottsdale trolley for public exposure – he also carves out time each day to practice wearing the traditional Swiss dog costume he’ll show off at Canine Couture.
Because Bookie is a draft dog, Larsen opted for an authentic costume, complete with a harness and a draft cart.
“The costume you’ll see him in is attire his breed uses when working with their farmer in the Alps, loading milk carts on the back and walking into villages,” Larsen said.
Larsen will wear equestrian attire, including white britches and black boots.
Bookie’s to-do list doesn’t end there, though.
Bookie is also a mobility and alert service dog, assisting Larsen and her husband.
Larsen is a two-time breast cancer hero.
“I won’t say survival,” Larsen said. “I’m proud to call myself a hero and all of that that beat this.”
Larsen had a double mastectomy and is a “go-flat girl,” as she calls it. She opted for no reconstruction – but for good reason.
She had another Bernese mountain dog that was critically ill at the time she was battling breast cancer. When Larsen was faced with the decision of reconstruction, she turned it down so she could care for the dog, which has since died.
“I knew I was going to have to let him go, and if I had the reconstruction, I would not have been able to carry him out of the house when I needed to,” she said. “For those 15 minutes of giving back to what that dog gave me, I opted for no reconstruction.”
Now Bookie assists Larsen and her husband with a tremendous amount of mobility work.
This year’s Canine Couture is Bookie’s fourth year participating, and both he and Larsen are excited for both the runway show and the Polo events.
“Bookie loves a crowd,” Larsen said. “For me, it’s very personal. It’s a personal sport, and I love watching how the people come out and the couture and the dress and we get to see the fabulous hats,” said Larsen, who has ridden horses since she was 8 years old. “The equestrian world for me has been my whole life,” she said.
While Larsen can’t wait to see the horses, she’s also thrilled that the Arizona Humane Society, for the first time, will also have dogs on-site available for adoption.
“It allows the people that are fostering and the adoption organization to learn more about their dogs, and education is key when it comes to placing dogs for adoption,” Larsen said. “You get to see how these dogs are with children, with other dogs, male dogs, female dogs, big children, little children.”
Canine Couture is produced by Lugari Pet Salon, and this year’s judges include Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone, 3TV Meteorologist Kim Quintero and VIP Lugari Pet Salon client Kimberly Jacobsen.
According to Ivan Lugari, owner of Lugari Pet Salon, this year’s show will be bigger and better.
Not only will a local Scottsdale top model open the show and a surprise guest will close the show, but Lugari Pet Salon will present its own couture line of 12 dresses.
“This year, people are putting in a lot of effort,” Lugari said. “We’re going to see more canine couture, more fashion in the show.
While about 50 dogs will walk the runway – Bookie being one of them – Lugari encourages attendees to bring their dogs along to watch, too.
“This is a show for the whole family and their puppies, too,” Lugari said. “It’s an opportunity to bring your dogs this year and enjoy this big party.”