Stump beats the odds and gets cheers from senior dog owners.

By Carol Vinzant
Updated February 11, 2009 10:12 PM
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No one predicted that Stump, the 10-year-old Sussex spaniel would win Best in Show. Vegas odds makers put the chances of his rare breed winning as 275-1. Though he is oldest winner ever, many dog owners will tell you that this canine is just hitting his peak. “I’m hoping that most of our dogs get well past 10,” Westminster announcer David Frei told PEOPLE Pets. “Our dogs are staying healthy longer.”

For me, the proud owner of 15-year-old dog, Stump’s win felt like a personal triumph. And I wasn’t the only one: In Madison Square garden last night, the crowd was chanting “Suss-ex!, Suss-ex!” in the final round. At home, my husband David (no dog show fan) dug out a cap honoring senior dogs to wear in support of Stump. I imagine all around the country families with senior dogs – no matter the breed – were cheering for Stump too.

And hopefully, Stump’s big night will bring a wave of good will towards older dogs everywhere. Dog adoption advocates have their fingers’ crossed that Stump’s win will shed light on the older dogs that languish in animal shelters. “I can only hope this sets an example and lights a fire under people,” says Tara de Nicolas, spokesman of the Washington Humane Society. “A dog of any age can be a winner.”