Devon O’Neil: People give dogs too much credit sometimes |

Devon O’Neil: People give dogs too much credit sometimes

Stump came out of retirement. That’s what everyone said. No word from Stump.

Stump, as some of you may know, is the shaggy Sussex spaniel with spinnaker ears and a coat that is colored like the inside of tree bark, who won the Best in Show prize at the Westminster dog show last weekend.

He’s been getting a lot of credit, like he knew what he was doing – Stump, the genius/survivor wonder dog who turned others’ doubt into motivation and snatched victory like a biscuit!

I’m here to tell you: he had no idea.

The story on Stump’s win pointed out that he lives with a former Best in Show winner named J.R. and thus could have been given some pointers.

“J.R. must’ve told him this morning, ‘Keep up the family name,'” said handler Scott Sommer, who takes care of both dogs.

Believe me, there were no such words exchanged. Dogs don’t work like that. They like to eat and take walks and be pet. That’s about it.

The story made it sound like Stump’s victory was extra special to Stump because five years back he had endured 19 days in a Texas hospital with a “mysterious medical condition” – doggie code for “we humans still aren’t smart enough to diagnose those silly critters’ problems.”

This came after Stump “retired” in 2004, like he’s the Brett Favre of show dogs, a mammal who agonizes over whether to continue walking around on plush carpet in front of hopeless strangers, or resign himself to the alternative: laying around the house all day licking himself.

I’ll give you the fact that Stump is probably smarter than other dogs. Probably. Last I heard, he still can’t talk.

But like Brett Favre, he knows how to end (or at least further) a good story. According to handler Sommers, Stump “really is retired this time.”

Stump was probably too busy signing autographs and negotiating endorsement contracts to make the announcement himself. …

Back to real life, where, contrary to my prior points, you could argue Stump has something on certain humans when it comes to basic intelligence.

The latest proof: Apparently the guy who owns the bong Michael Phelps sucked out of at that infamous South Carolina house party was arrested by police last week.

How’d they find him, you ask? He was trying to sell the pipe on eBay for $100,000. …

Lance Armstrong is now releasing his post-race quotes via Twitter – the horrifically named social networking tool with designs on turning the world into one large gossip festival – simultaneously informing wannabe friends what he’s thinking.

Remember way back when Armstrong was just an athlete? Me neither. …

Very quietly, Jeremy Bloom, the two-time World Cup moguls champion, is trying to qualify for next winter’s Olympics. He rejoined the U.S. Ski Team this winter and has entered four World Cup events thus far – his first in three years – with his best finish being sixth two weeks ago at Deer Valley. (He took 11th in singles and 21st in duals over the weekend in Sweden.)

I don’t think Bloom will ever regret the moves he made during his career to pursue both football (which ended with an inauspicious NFL stay) and skiing. But unless he wins an Olympic gold medal, I do think he, like many others, will wonder what else he would’ve been able to accomplish on skis if he’d devoted all his time to it. …

In parting, with the Broncos in some kind of weird rebuilding mode, the most pressing question since owner Pat Bowlen hired Josh McDaniels as coach was who Denver’s general manager would be.

Bowlen answered that last Thursday when he tabbed 38-year-old Brian Xanders, a name I had never heard but have since found out presents quite the success story.

As reported by the AP, Xanders is not just a former walk-on linebacker at Florida State, but a guy who was so set on making a life for himself in the NFL that even after being rejected THREE times by every team in the league, he still couldn’t help but snoop around for a job.

He finally found one with the Falcons, who paid him $19,000 a year to help manage a public health club they owned. Now his biggest charge is to build a roster capable of restoring Denver’s clout among the rest of the NFL.

Mission No. 1 this offseason: Construct a better defense.

Breckenridge resident Devon O’Neil’s $0.02 column runs Tuesdays. He can be reached at

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