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A Canine Beauty Queen Is Born

Tuesday night, a star was born at New York City's Madison Square Garden. But this star has fur and four legs. Her name is Carlee, a German shorthaired pointer.

Just before her retirement, she won the ultimate title: Best in Show. Her handler, Michelle Ostermiller, attributes the win to "a lot of good luck," she says. Ostermiller also handled last year's Best in Show, Josh the Newfie.

"I've got some great dogs and they perform beautifully," she tells The Early Show resident veterinarian Dr. Debbye Turner.

"She's a little modest," says David Frei, USA Network host of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

For Ostermiller, the pressure is to get her dogs to give the best performance they can. "And when they go out and nail it, and do what they're supposed to, it's just wonderful," she says.

So what set this dog apart? "Well, it's a dog show, and you've got to give a show, and that's the vernacular," Frei says. "You throw a free stack in front of God and everybody, and say: 'I'm the winner, and you have to hand it to me right now.' "

It seems Carlee's pedigree has been doing just that for quite some time. "1974, the dog was Best in Show at Westminster then," Frei notes.

Turner was at Westminster Kennel Club with a behind-the-scenes look at just what it take to be a canine beauty queen.

There were more than 2,500 dogs, 40 judges, and more hair spray than at a county fair queen contest. But becoming top dog is serious business. These pooches really know how to put their best foot -- make that paw -- forward.

It's the ultimate test of training, breeding, and showmanship. The 129th annual Westminster Dog Show is not just a big deal.

One handler explained it this way: "It's our Miss USA, Super Bowl, Kentucky Derby, and World Series all wrapped up in the dog world."

A total of 165 canine breeds and varieties are carefully scrutinized for their color, height, temperament and movement. And as impressive as the dogs are, those long, impossible-to-understand, registered names:

"Champion Sand on an Oak Hill, China's Windstar. We call her Winnie," a handler says about her dog.

"Champion Pillowtalk No Secrets," says another holding his pooch.

And "Amarosis No Assembly Required," says yet another.

But before the prancing in the ring, there's a lot of primping behind the scenes. So across the street, the Hotel Pennsylvania has really put on the dog for the 1,000 or so canine guests bunking there during the show.

Jerry Grymek, the hotel's concierge, says, "We want to cater to our four-legged guests, as much as we do our two-legged. So we went that extra mile and introduced the dog spa."

In the doggie green room and spa, the hotel provides everyting needed for a doggie bath and blow-out. Human hairstyling has to wait until later.

No details are left to chance. These dogs don't just get the super star treatment; they look like super-stars! And of course, these pampered pooches have indoor "facilities."

And who knew dogs were modest? They have an area for males and an area for females.

A good massage is not just for humans anymore. And for those achy joints and tight muscles, there's acupuncture.

Grymek says, "The Doctor's Corner is our newest addition this year with a veterinarian, acupuncturist, massage team, animal massage team, and an animal communicator."

Veterinarian Joy Mason is the animal communicator.

Translating what a pooch told her, Mason tells the owner, "He's a little worried about you, but he's feeling good."

Mason believes she can understand dog-speak.

"I get words, thoughts, pictures, or feelings," she says. "So however they want to communicate it to me, I get it and give it to them.

But the VIP (Very Important Pooch) treatment doesn't stop there. Kibble won't cut it with this set. Grymek says they offer "McDonald's cheeseburgers... Wendy's chicken sandwiches. They have brand names that they like."

But the hotel doesn't mind catering to these doggie divas.

"We pamper them. We go all out for them." Grymek says. "It's really a dog's life, let's put it that way."

Jerry Grymek also told Turner that the dog owners often ask for an extra cot in their rooms. Not for the dog, though. The owner sleeps on the cot and gives the bed to the dog.

And if you wonder if a German shorthaired pointer is the kind of dog for you, David Frei says, "It depends on the individual. We say, get a dog that matches your lifestyle."