In October 2011, Gabe and I were flown to New York where we performed live on the show as one of three Finalists in their “My Dog’s Better Than Your Dog” talent contest. When the final votes were tallied, Gabe was crowned Good Morning America’s “Top Dog”, as he received their coveted “Golden Bone” Award!
Gabe sports his “Golden Bone” after being crowned GMA’s “Top Dog” in October, 2011
Good Morning America called!
It was the middle of the week when a friend from the Bulldog Forums sent me an email telling of a talent contest being offered by Good Morning America. They were scouring the country in search of the best canine talent, with 3 finalists winning a trip to New York to perform live in Times Square. The ultimate “Top Dog” would be crowned the following day during the show, based on results from audience and online voting.
With the deadline fast approaching, I hurriedly sent a link to a video highlighting several of Gabe’s tricks. A couple days later I was told they were showing portions of Gabe’s video during promos for the contest.
GMA Anchor, Josh Elliot, introduces the Semi-finalists and recaps the results of voting in the video below:
Sunday, I received a call from ABC staff member, Courtney Coudron, saying Gabe had been selected as one of six semi-finalists. Beginning on Monday, two semi-finalists would go head-to-head each day as they featured their videos on the show. The polls would be opened up to narrow these six entries down to one finalist each day, and the Final Three would be flown to New York for a live performance on the show. I had to be ready to fly out on Wednesday if Gabe happened to emerge the victor during his day of doggy dueling.
On Tuesday afternoon Gabe’s video was pitted against his very talented opponent, Leroy–a Border Collie who had been one of the last dogs standing in the TV reality show, Greatest American Dog. With a huge following and devoted fan network, Leroy would be difficult to beat. Before I was home from work and able to notify our supporters, he immediately took the lead and proceeded to accumulate votes throughout the day with Gabe pacing along a couple hundred votes behind. By bedtime, Leroy had maintained his lead and it was looking doubtful that Gabe would be making the trip across country the next day.
The last set of Semi-Finalists are highlighted on Good Morning America as the polls open for voting:
Having resigned myself to a regular day at work, I was surprised to hear the phone ring at 6 am. Once they had featured the videos on the show, telling viewers to vote for their favorite, Gabe secured a last-minute victory and arrangements were quickly made for our flight to New York that afternoon. I had only a few hours to finish packing and make the couple-hour drive to the airport!
After the 2 hr. drive to the airport we arrived to check-in about 1-3/4 hrs. before our flight. Unfortunately the cut-off for checking in our oversized bag was about 15 minutes earlier!
After some last-minute scrambling we managed to secure a flight into Newark that would arrive just before midnight. Whew! We could breathe again!
Gabe handled his first cross-country flight like a trouper and after being picked up by our private limo, we were finally delivered to our hotel, The Broadway Millenium, and got tucked into bed at 2:30 am. It would be a very short night’s sleep for us as we had to meet down in the lobby for our 6:00 am curtain call!
You can see the Good Morning America marquee in the lower right side of this photo…a quick walk across the street and we were in Times Square!
Thursday morning we were escorted across the street and into the Good Morning America headquarters where we would hang out in the Greenroom after a brief rehearsal with the dogs on the Times Square set. As we waited several staff members came by to meet the doggy talent…including GMA anchors, Robin Roberts & Josh Elliot (who was obviously quite smitten with Gabe!), Chef Emerill and even Barbara Walters. Before we knew it we were fitted with our cordless mics and the live taping was underway. The cameras started rolling as we all went through our paces in turn and onlookers cheered and clapped their approval.
Watch the live performance of the three Finalists in Time Square:
One of the highlights of our trip was getting to meet fellow dog-trainer and internet friend, Linda Wright and her scooter-riding ACD, Ruger. We spent the afternoon taking the dogs for walks, shared a couple meals together and took advantage of snapping some fun photos to remember our incredible outing by.
Posing with the two scooter pals, Ruger & Gabe, in front of the classic Times Square Police Station.
Friday morning we were once again escorted over to the GMA studios for the unveiling of the ultimate winner of the “My Dog’s Better Than Your Dog” talent contest. GMA anchor, Josh Elliot, began by presenting the Bronze and Silver Bones and finally announce that Gabe had won the vote as the “Top Dog” in the contest!
Watch the presentation of awards at the conclusion of the 2011 “My Dog’s Better Than Your Dog” contest:
There wasn’t much time to bask in our glory as we were soon whisked away by our limo for our return flight home.