This week, a thick little boy trotted his way into our hearts, and then was ultimately denied the honor of Westminster Best in Show. That boy was Biggie—a moon-faced chunk of pug.
Biggie was bestowed rightfully the Best in Toy distinction on Tuesday evening, and then went on to the finals to compete against other champion dogs of many shapes and sizes, including Ty the giant schnauzer, Lucy the borzoi, Slick the border collie, and a bichon frisé, the ultimate winner, Flynn.
Am I devastated by Biggie’s short legs and paws and how they skittered across the show green? Does his perfectly fluffed fawn body fill my heart with song? Do his round wet eyes make me want to denounce all other dogs in the town square, declaring my allegiance to Biggie and only Biggie? Yeah, you bet.
And Biggie’s backstory is filled with the heartbreak and triumph of a true underdog-to-champion dog saga—his cousin Rumble, who was ranked the nation’s number one pug in 2016, was actually set to compete in this year’s show. But in a tragic and as of yet unsolved mystery (...i.e. generations of purebred breeding), Rumble collapsed in June of 2017 on his routine morning walk, dying at only three-years-old, and in the prime of his career.
“With all of Rumble’s accolades and accomplishments, his loss wasn’t mourned because of his winnings or his status as a show dog, but instead for the beautiful dog he was inside and out,” Rumble’s breeder Kristy Ratliff said of his passing.
When Biggie won best in Toy group on Tuesday evening, his handler, Esteban Farias, dedicated it to the late Rumble. “This is unbelievable. It’s a dream come true. And I have a little friend who is looking for us up in the sky. And this is for him.”
Look at him run around, defending the honor of his family, making his handler proud, and America prouder. Breathe strong, Biggie.
Does Biggie know how he has been betrayed by the very system that lifted him up to begin with? No, he doesn’t know what the fuck is going on at any moment of any day. But we know—and we will remember—how robbed he was.