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Matted Stray Underdog Becomes Westminster Wonder Dog

Buster – a mixed-breed former stray – is certainly no show-circuit pedigree, but come this weekend’s Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, he will compete alongside the country’s finest purebreds.

Scrawny, matted and wild when he was rescued by New Jersey’s Animal Alliance, Buster has trained his way into a lean, mean agility course machine!

He was once a Philadelphia street dog with hair so long and matted that he couldn’t even open his mouth to eat. When he was first adopted by Jacqueline Soccodato his trust issues were so bad that he would hide from her and snatch food from the table when she was not looking.

In an effort to channel his nervous energy into something positive, Soccodato enrolled Buster in agility training. Right away he showed promise with his natural dexterity and speed. Seeing the positive impact the classes were having on the little rescue’s self esteem, Soccodato began entering Buster in agility competitions, where he nabbed top honors at his very first appearance in 2014.

Snug as a bug in a rug… Buster basked in some much needed rest after today's agility trial. He got his Masters Standard Title and really had terrific runs in some challenging courses☺️

Posted by Jacqueline Soccodato on Saturday, February 27, 2016

Over the past 2 years the competitions have helped to transform Buster into a confident, happy, and well-adjusted pup. Soccodato proudly displays his many first place ribbons in a location of honor right above his wee wee pads!

All Buster’s hard work has been leading up to Saturday’s Westminster Agility Competition where he will challenge pedigree dogs from prestigious bloodlines.

“Most of these dogs are purebreds . . . and come from agility champs, like a mother and grandparent — they have good lines,” Soccodato told the New York Post.

However, according to his mom, Buster does have one secret weapon he can use as a major advantage over his competitors.

“Buster is super-good under stress and can tune everything out because he was on the streets and in the shelter,”

The mismatched mutt will have his own cheering section to support him come Saturday – his rescuers from Animal Alliance will make the 4 hour trip to join Soccodato for the competition.

Best of luck, Buster! I know I will be rooting for the underdog!

H/T to New York Post

Featured Image via Facebook/Jacqueline Soccodato

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Written by Dina Fantegrossi
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