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Doggy day at annual mart

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See a bonus photo gallery from the Dog Mart event

Big dogs, small dogs, fierce dogs and sweet dogs all competed in the annual Dog Mart on Saturday in Spotsylvania.

But just one could be crowned the grand champion.

A three-year old bear dog named Magic Lady took the top prize.

Her owner, Teenie Bourne, of White Oak in Stafford County, said it was the dog’s first time in a competition.

Magic Lady caught the judge’s eye with a scar she earned while hunting.

Bourne said Magic Lady hunts raccoons, bears and deer; she was caught by a bear who left a scar on one of her legs.

That was two years ago, and now Magic Lady is in good shape.

“She’s a well-built dog, she’s got good muscle tone,” Bourne said.

That’s why he thinks she won.

The judge of the competition, Patti Goettler, said she has a soft spot for hunting dogs.

The Dog Mart was hosted by the Fredericksburg–Rappahannock Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America.

Dogs of all sizes and breeds competed in 33 categories. First- and second-place winners were named in each category.

After each breed competed, the top winners of each category competed for the title of grand champion.

The most popular category is the mixed breed competition, which had 12 dogs this year.

Goettler has been judging the dog show for 15 years.

She was the city’s first animal control officer, she said, and held that job for 13 years.

She has trained dogs, shown and handled them professionally, and hunted with them.

She’s currently the director and head trainer of Greyt Hearts Service Dogs, which trains greyhounds.

When she’s judging, she has a few things she’s got in the back of her mind.

“I tend to go for type,” she said.

For example, in the Chihuahua competition, she picks the one that looks most like what a Chihuahua should look like.

But this competition is fairly relaxed.

“This is for the family dog,” she said.

“It’s for dogs you would want to grow up with or have in your house,” she said.

When each breed was called, the owners paraded their pooches around on a leash in the small fenced-in circle.

Some were obedient and disciplined, playing to the crowd and showing off.

Others were more distracted and aloof.

But no matter what, all the competing dogs drew cheers from the crowd—both from the owners and the other dogs.

Robyn Sidersky 540/374-5413