Since being named Best in Show at the world's most famous dog show last Tuesday, 5-year-old affenpinscher Banana Joe has been a traveling star. The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show champion has been on talk shows and news programs—and even rang the bell at the New York Stock Exchange. Co-owner and Attleboro resident Tina Truesdale brought the celebrity affenpinscher to Providence Monday so the local media could meet him.
Weighing 13 pounds at the most, Banana Joe does not need to do much to entertain a crowd. The adorable dark-black dog with a face that people have likened to a monkey or a wookie from Star Wars impressed reporters as he barked, stood up and played with a favorite chew toy.
"What would be for Muhammad Ali without the personality, so it's the same thing with [Banana Joe]," said Ernesto Lara, the dog's handler. "He has something that's special that wasn't thought about, wasn't planned. He's really special. He has great charisma."
Truesdale, whose husband William is the veterinarian at Central Ave Veterinary Clinic in Seekonk, said Banana Joe is a small dog with a big attitude.
"Most Best in Shows are different dogs, not little dogs," Truesdale said. "But that little dog just felt that he was bigger than the rest of those dogs in the ring that night."
The top award winner of all time in his breed, Banana Joe is retiring from the dog show circuit. He will make a few more visits in this country, and then retire in Holland, where his other co-owner lives.