“The Best in Show is the greyhound!” James Reynolds, a judge at the National Dog Show Presented by Purina, bellowed in the microphone Thursday afternoon, drawing thunderous applause from the crowd on hand in Philadelphia.
And just like that, Bluffton’s prized pup GrandCru Giaconda took home the event’s top honor.
Owned by Melanie Steele of Palmetto Bluff, GrandCru Giaconda — or Gia, for short — has emerged as one of the country’s top show dogs.
The 4-year-old greyhound has spent the past couple of years racking up awards at shows across the country, including best of breed honors in 2015 at the famous Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
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Gia’s professional handler, Rindi Gaudet of Summerville, was overcome with emotion after the victory Thursday, thinking about her ailing grandmother.
“She watches (the National Dog Show) every year, and she asks me if I’m going to be on the show every year,” Gaudet told the NBC television broadcast crew. “... She got very ill last week, so this is very special to me.”