"She was a little timid thing," her owner recalled.
Although she's still small at 15 pounds, it's still 3 pounds too heavy to take her on an airplane because she won't fit under the seat. And Johnson ruled out putting Gracie in cargo, saying, "She would be scared to death."
A friend volunteered to drive Johnson and Gracie to New York. They'll drive up on Wednesday. The show is putting them up at the Hilton in Times Square and will send a car for them early on Thursday.
Johnson's been told that rehearsals will be in the morning, and the show will be taped in the afternoon for Friday viewing.
Rachael Ray will be a co-host for the mutt show, which includes a mock dog show with Johnson leading Gracie on a leash in the manner of a real dog show. A judge from the Westminster show will check out Gracie perched on a pedestal and talk about her lineage.
At least that's how it's supposed to go. "I hope she doesn't sit and shake," Johnson said.
She bought a "Thundershirt" to wrap around Gracie for the car ride. The vest applies pressure to the dog's middle section, which comforts the animal like a baby who's swaddled.
Perhaps the judge will mention, "Here comes the postman," and watch Gracie's ears pick up and she'll start to bark. Or maybe say, "Let's go for a walk" or "Want a treat?" and Gracie will bounce like she's connected to a spring.
Such a performance could win Gracie the grand prize. Tune in.
Reach Rosalie Earle at ea...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5115.