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Mutt to visit ‘The View’ this week

Chris Dorst
Hope Johnson of Red Oak Street holds Gracie, who will appear on ABC's "The View" on Friday.
Chris Dorst Ten-year-old Gracie likes the window seat, where she can keep an eagle eye out for the postman.
Chris Dorst Gracie, part Sheltie and part Pomeranian, resembles a fox when she is groomed.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Hope Johnson is holding her breath that 10-year-old Gracie doesn't get stage fright.

"She's cute, but she's a little anti-social. She thinks she's a cat."

Some people think she's a fox, with her reddish coat, bushy tail and pointed face and ears. Actually, she's a cross between a Sheltie and a Pomeranian.

It was Gracie's status as a mutt that landed her a TV gig.

Gracie is going to be one of five mixed-breed dogs to appear Friday on "The View." The popular talk show with Whoopi Goldberg and other co-hosts is seen locally at 11 a.m. on WCHS-TV and WOAY-TV.

Johnson said Gracie was selected by the producers from photographs that dog owners submitted to the program. Another dog was picked by an audience vote. Also, five adoptable dogs from an animal shelter will make an appearance.

"The View" broadcasts its annual "mutt show" when the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show takes place in New York City featuring the crème de la crème of purebred dogs.

"It's the show's way to call attention to shelter dogs," explained Johnson, who lives on Red Oak Street and works as a business analyst at CASCI.

Johnson didn't get Gracie from a shelter, but said she was "an accident" when her purebred parents mated with each other rather than their own kind as the owner -- a friend of a friend -- intended.

"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 earle@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5115.


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