Rufus' Wild Night on the Town

ByABC News via logo
February 15, 2006, 9:40 AM

Feb. 15, 2006— -- Rufus sees a podium and he leaps on it usually.

Today, the colored bull terrier, who took home the top prize at the Westminster Kennel Dog Show on Tuesday, needed a boost from his handler to mount the makeshift podium at the "Good Morning America" studios.

"He's dragging today," said Rufus' owner Barbara Bishop of Holmdel, N.J. "He's exhausted.

With good reason. After his big win at Madison Square Garden, Rufus did what many champions do: He hit the town, bar hopping across New York City.

"He's the chosen one," Bishop said.

Rufus started at Play by Play, where he made the rounds to each of the judges' tables to thank them and then posed for photos with his fans.

He sipped champagne from his trophy. Rufus' financial backer Dorothy Cherry said: "I wouldn't let my dog drink anything but very good wine or he'd get a hangover." He continued his binge with cookies at a private hotel party.

"We're not letting him go," Cherry said. "It was just a binge. He needed a little celebration."

Rufus continued the celebration at the Blarney Rock. By then it was 3 a.m. and the dog-loving crowd was growing "a little bit rowdy."

"I do think he kind of liked the Blarney Rock the best because they managed to sneak him out a little brisket," Bishop said.

Rufus followed in the paw prints of other Westminster winners by getting on the bar at the Blarney Rock.

He finally crawled into bed around 4:30 a.m., but he didn't stay there for long. At 5:30 a.m., it was time to get up and start the busy press schedule of a celebrity, no easy task for a dog who is usually asleep by 9 p.m. and takes frequent naps throughout the day.

"We pretty much had to push him out of bed," Bishop said. "We gave him lots of treats."

Rufus had already appeared on CBS' "Early Show" and taped a piece for VH1's "Best Week Ever" by the time he reached the "Good Morning America" studios. While he tried to put his best paw forward when he met Diane Sawyer, Rufus couldn't stop himself from yawning.