A German shepherd who recovered from a shattered leg to become one of the favorites at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show had his comeback cut short on the first day of competition Monday.
The ownership team of Fanucci, a 5-year-old who lives in Farmingville, New York, pulled him out of the event because a hematoma on his left ear caused pain and made it flop, co-owner Stephanie Schrock told HuffPost.
“It was in the best interest of the dog to not compete,” she said. “We are very disappointed but the dog’s well-being comes first.”
In 2014, Fanucci jumped out of a towed van going at high speed on a highway, breaking his right rear leg in several places and nearly dying. Vets put together his limb with rods, pins and screws, and a regimen of acupuncture and therapy helped him to rehabilitate, according to Good Morning Tampa Bay in the segment above.
Fanucci was considered a legitimate contender to follow in the paw steps of another German shepherd, Rumor, who won best in show last year.
“We are truly disappointed,” Fanucci’s handler, Sue Condreras, told HuffPost.
“Unfortunately with competitions as tough as they are at Westminster, any little disadvantage can cost you the breed,” she added.
This story has been updated with comments from Stephanie Schrock and Sue Condreras.