The Westminster Dog Show had a SouthCoast dog on the roster for its 145th show, with Jeffrey Botelho and his border collie Matrix representing the area well.

The Westminster Kennel Club is America’s oldest organization dedicated to the sport of dogs. It hosts the iconic, all-breed Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, the second-longest continuously held sporting event in the U.S., and since 1948, the longest nationally televised live dog show. It was Botelho’s first time attending Westminster, which means his dog Matrix is no ordinary border collie.

“You have to have a master’s title in agility,” Botelho explained. “You then send in your entry form by snail mail, and it has to get there immediately on the day it opens in order for you to have a chance to get in.”

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Botelho got his start with dog competitions 12 years ago, when he brought his dog to Steppin-Up Dog Training School in East Freetown. Nowadays, he trains Matrix, and they have competed in several big events, with this latest event being an exciting one.

“We were lucky enough to have two really good runs during the day, and that qualified us to be on TV at night,” Botelho said.

Matrix maneuvered through the agility course successfully, giving the other 20-inch dogs a run for their money. They finished fifth in the jumper’s run and eighth in the standard run, and that qualified them in second place for all dogs in the 20-inch category.

“As the event goes along, there’s no question in my mind he knows what he’s there to do,” Botelho said.

It’s only a matter of time before Matrix is crowned champion as he and his owner continue their training on the SouthCoast.

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