Rescue Dog Steals Hearts at Westminster Dog Show 2024

by Britt
Photo credit: cynoclub /

The Westminster Dog Show is a tradition that dog lovers everywhere look forward to each year. It brings award-winning dogs and professional handlers together for a competition celebrating man’s best friend.

But this year, an unlikely competitor stole the hearts of spectators and attendees.

Miles, a rescue dog from Pennsylvania, was one of over 2,500 dogs to compete in the Westminster Dog Show 2024. The seven-year-old rescue dog was classified as an “All-American Dog,” a term used to describe mutts or mixed-breed dogs.

While the annual dog show is only open to purebreds, the Masters Agility Championship and Masters Obedience Championship are open to all breeds (and mixes). It was on the agility course that Miles’ unique energy and impressive skill quickly earned him recognition as a fan favorite.

This wasn’t the first time he competed. In fact, Miles had already participated in the Masters Agility Championship twice before, as well as the American Kennel Club Agility Nationals twice, where he was named the top All-American Dog in his category each time.

Seeing the joy Miles exhibited while running agility was enough to make any dog lover smile. But the truly heartwarming part of this story is his journey to where he is today and the loving owner who made it all possible.

Christine Longnecker met an “unadoptable” dog six years ago at the Because You Care animal shelter in McKean, PA. What made him unadorable? Miles, known at the time as Tank, would snarl or growl from his bed anytime a potential adopter or shelter volunteer approached. He had even ripped a hole in the sleeve of a volunteer’s jacket.

But Longnecker looked past his cold reception and saw a different side of the dog.

“All of a sudden, this overwhelming sadness washed over me, the sense of his not being able to prove himself because he’d been told that he was a bad dog,” Longnecker explained. “My heart broke into a million pieces.”

At first, Miles was visibly nervous and scared, especially during car trips, as he feared being returned once again to the shelter. However, with love and patience, Longnecker helped to build his confidence.

Eventually, seeking a fun way for the two to spend time together, she enrolled Miles in a class at Countryside Agility. It was quickly apparent that he was a natural, and the rest, as they say, is history!

Today, Miles is a happy and loving dog who shares his life with Longnecker, her two other dogs, and two cats. At home, he enjoys snuggling in and soaking up all the attention that is showered upon him. However, the two create some of their best memories by performing as a team in agility competitions regionally and nationally.

“Miles is proof that you can overcome anything with a little bit of belief and a lot of love,” stated Longnecker. “You don’t need a ‘well-bred dog’ to have a best friend to play in dog sports with. You can find one right down the street at your local shelter.”

Find your local shelter and possibly your soon-to-be best friend on the ASPCA website today!

Join the PetGuide community. Get the latest pet news and product recommendations by subscribing to our newsletter here.


Britt Kascjak is a proud pet mom, sharing her heart (and her home) with her “pack” which includes her husband John, their 2 dogs – Indiana and Lucifer – and their 2 cats – Pippen and Jinx. She has been active in the animal rescue community for over 15 years, volunteering, fostering and advocating for organizations across Canada and the US. In her free time, she enjoys traveling around the country camping, hiking, and canoeing with her pets.

More by Britt