Rescued Weimaraner Shows at Westminster 2012

My name is Dan Stallings. I founded and run Mid-Atlantic Weimaraner Rescue out of Va. Beach, Va. and I wanted to tell you about one very special rescue who has overcome far more than most dogs – and has not only overcome those obstacles, but has gone on to earn prestigious awards, invitations and entry to some very exclusive events.

Most show dogs live privileged lives, getting only the best of everything available so they are set up to succeed. This particular dog was shown no such treatment, and seemed barely an afterthought to his previous owners. I’m still amazed at his resiliency given the very things he is being judged on in the ring: his confirmation, conditioning, soundness, temperament and attitude were the very things most negatively affected by his prior treatment. Yet he has risen above it all, and accomplished far more than I ever imagined.

He makes me proud and his story is so inspiring that I thought you would like to hear it.

His call name is Maverick. He’s AKC registered as GCh Anson’s Unforgettable (SR43836101). He is appropriately named because his story is certainly unforgettable. He is now a 5 year old Weimaraner, acquired off of Craigslist two years ago after a friend told me about the ad. I contacted Mav’s owner about taking him into our rescue. You see, Maverick was in horrid condition. He was 25lbs underweight, all ribs, spine and hips protruding, he had a staff infection on his nose, a pressure sore on his chest, his nails were grotesquely long, and his paws and tail were raw from self mutilation.

I felt so terrible for him that I bought him off the gentleman (and I use that word loosely) just to get him out of that living environment. Mav was apparently locked in his crate all day and all night which led to behavior problems, self mutilation, chewing, weight loss and his overall poor health. I was able to convince his previous owner to let me have him for a small rehoming fee with his papers, and he was signed over to me.

Upon acquiring Maverick and going through his paperwork I located and contacted the breeder to assure her he was safe and sound now. I found out from her that she had been desparately trying to get Mav back but the owner had moved and wouldn’t return any of her phone calls or emails. She was relieved to know where Mav was and that he was finally in good, caring hands. I’ve told her about every little detail of Mav’s expoloits in the ring too and I could tell she was very proud of him and so happy he was doing so well. She was a great help in getting Mav on the podium where he belonged and taught me alot about the breed and the show world. The breeder and I have over the years have developed a wonderful friendship and working relationship.

I spent weeks trying to get him to eat normally by rebuilding his food drive. I was treating his nose, paws and tail daily for infection and just giving him some TLC, exercise and socializing him with the outside world. About 5 months later, in his second show out, he took the breed and he’s been on a roll ever since. He finished in four weekends and went on to earn his Grand Champion title soon after.

I have attached one of the pictures of what Maverick looked like the very day I purchased him in February of 2010. I also attached a podium picture he has had taken since. Within 7 months of taking him in, caring for him, exercising his mind and body and getting him ready for the show ring, he earned his Champion title. He had no points at all when I first got him. Within another 8 months he earned his Grand Champion title. All on a limited show schedule.

Maverick cannot go out on the show circuit as many successful show dogs do because of the way he was treated in his past. He cannot be crated for prolonged periods or he shuts down, so he can only show when I can deliver him ringside for his handler. I have shown him a few times in his handler’s absence and put a few points on him myself – he’s that good, but I usually have a professional handler on him because I want him to have the best chance to win and show well.

Mav earned an invitational to this year’s AKC Eukanuba National Invitational dog show (held in December in Orlando) where he was stacked right behind the top two male weims in the country, and still he made the cut.

He will be once again taking his place next to some of the best Weimaraners in the country at this year’s Westminster Kennel Club dog show. I could never have imagined the day I got him that he would be taking me to places like this, but I guess it’s his way of rewarding me for saving him. I am so proud of him for all he has done, and what he has become right before my eyes. I just love this dog to pieces.

I’ve seen some people post on the Westminster Kennel Club Facebook page that they are “more of a rescue person” but they do like watching the show. Maverick is proof that you cannot judge a dog without truly knowing where it has come from. I hope that his story might help the unenlightened to see that rescue dogs are not just a bunch of misfits with behavior issues. Sometimes they are just poor souls who had the misfortune of having the wrong owners.

It’s like I tell everyone who knows Maverick. You may not end up with a show winning champion, but when you open your home and your heart to a rescue, you’ll certainly feel like one – and you’ll be your dog’s hero for the rest of his or her life. If you could see how Mav greets me when he comes out of the ring you would know how much this boy loves me. He may not win the show, but he will win your heart.



  1. Paige says on  02/09/2012 at 11:34 am

    Good Luck Maverick, I hope you win !!!

  2. SSB Pack says on  02/09/2012 at 12:05 pm

    Dan, it is clear why Maverick is winning, he is a gorgeous rep for his breed. But, when you said “If you could see how Mav greets me when he comes out of the ring you would know how much this boy loves me,” tears welled up in my eyes. Our dogs don’t care about pomp and circumstance they just want to please us no matter what we ask of them.

    I can’t express how much I admire you for loving Maverick and giving him everything he needed to blossom into the star he was meant to be. Every dog is a star with the talent to excel at some job even it is just keeping the couch warm! But, the important thing is that they are given all the love and support that will allow them to reach their greatest potential and to blossom into the dogs they were destined to be.

    Thanks so much for sharing your inspiring story. Good luck to you and Maverick! He is already won best in show!

  3. Monica says on  02/09/2012 at 2:39 pm

    This story is beyond incredible. This, too, brings tears to my eyes.
    What a wonderful love story.
    I hope Mav goes all the way to the top, there is no dog more deserving than him.
    And if not, he is and always will be a champion in our eyes!

  4. Cindy cassidy says on  02/09/2012 at 4:46 pm

    That is the most heart warming story to hear,,,thank you for rescuing him from a horrendous life ! And for giving him a loving home !

  5. Lorie says on  02/09/2012 at 7:56 pm

    Our family has owned Weimaraners for over 20 years and our last three Weims came from a Weim rescue group. It is so exciting to hear that Maverick has a wonderful home and that he earned his Grand Champion title! Way to go Maverick! Thank you Dan for sharing your story and for your rescue work!

  6. Anonymous says on  02/09/2012 at 8:01 pm

    What a great story. Its sad someone treated you so poorly. Congrats on your accomplishment and good luck at Westminister Mav!

  7. Terry says on  02/09/2012 at 8:44 pm

    Thank you for being YOU!!! You have a HUGE heart!!!

  8. Anonymous says on  02/10/2012 at 9:16 am

    I am looking forward to seeing Mav at the show! I hope I can find you both in benching. Good luck!

  9. Lynn Harvey says on  02/10/2012 at 1:54 pm

    This story is so incredible and inspiring. It just goes to show you that with love and propped care dogs love Us so much more than we can ever imagine. This is the kind of story that gets people to adopt dogs. I will be watching the Westminster show and rooting for you. Thanks for sharing such a heartwarming story.

  10. Emilie DiLeonardo says on  02/10/2012 at 5:44 pm

    Dan, I LOVE this article and your story about Maverick!!!! We’ll be watching for him. What a wonderful, inspiring story. Thank you for sharing it! I’ve been a volunteer with Dobie rescue (DAR&E) in NOVA for over 12 years, but adopted a 17 month old Weimaraner 2 years ago from HART rescue. He was left at the pound, had some issues we neeeded to overcome & he is the LIGHT of our lives!!!! We feel so lucky to have him!!!

  11. Big E says on  02/10/2012 at 6:51 pm

    Grayt job, weims rule! Keep up on the rescue. Go Maverick!

  12. Melanie says on  02/11/2012 at 4:38 am

    Congrats! Good to hear there is finally a Weim rescue in VAB. I lived there 1994-2008 and none existed. I rescued Weims there on behalf of Tarheel Weim Club NC. Now I’m in FL and share my home yet again with a rescued Weim. Good luck you you and Maverick1

  13. Best in Show/Champion underdog in my eyes.
    Just heard the news that Westminster is parting ways w/ Pedigree because apparently they are Debbie downer/raining on the parade w/ their depressing ads…truly disappointing but I will be rooting for Maverick & kudos to his savior.

  14. Gunny and Meadow says on  02/12/2012 at 10:16 am

    D3Ar mAver1ck- W3 wi11 be watching you 2day w1th our m0m. Good luck! 1t sure is haRd to tExt witH no tHumBz…

  15. Ma/Gma2Weims says on  02/13/2012 at 11:26 am

    Mav is a handsome fellow. What an Awesome story and I am thankful for the wonderful outcome. As well, I am thankful to everyone who opens their heart and their homes to adopt a rescue. We have and would not trade a moment, our pups have brought so much happiness into our lives. Weims are such a loving breed. May God Bless you for your caring heart!

  16. Anonymous says on  02/13/2012 at 1:20 pm


  17. Anonymous says on  02/14/2012 at 8:45 pm

    Dan and Maverick won my heart for Valentine’s,, story of unconditional love,, rescue dogs rock,, thanks Dan for all you do.

  18. BlessUsAll says on  02/14/2012 at 9:01 pm

    For the first time ever, I am actually CARING about a dog in a dog show, even rooting for him! You have shown me that there is much love expressed by dogs and handlers and owners (may I say “guardians” please?) at the shows — you just have to look for the love behind the pomp and pressures to win, and you’ll find it.

    In fact, I would say that Maverick’s beauty is clearly from WITHIN his heart, which is so big and bursting that it can’t help but be seen in his beautiful physique, temperament, character, motions, and overall countenance.

    Thank you for sharing this truly DIVINE story about one of God’s loved Dogs, Dan. Bless both you and Mav, bigtime!

  19. Weim Girl says on  02/15/2012 at 1:02 am

    Just saw your story on the news here in the San Francisco Bay Area. Thank you for being a hero to a weim! My best friend for 13 years was a weim, I know that they are an amazing breed. My family and I miss her everyday. Can’t wait to show them Maverick’s story. You already know you have a friend for life in Maverick! Bravo to Maverick and you!

  20. stephanie says on  02/15/2012 at 12:40 pm

    Thank you for saving Maverick’s life! His former owner should be in prison for the way he treated Maverick. Love works miracles….please continue to rescue animals :))))

  21. Anonymous says on  02/15/2012 at 4:04 pm

    Congratulations Maverick youre a winner!

  22. P. Fehl says on  02/15/2012 at 4:44 pm

    Bless you for saving this beautiful Weim. I have had Weims for 25 years…they are such wonderful dogs. Congratulations to Maverick for his accomplishments and to you for having the compassion to rescue him.

  23. Dawn M. Viertlbeck says on  02/17/2012 at 8:06 pm

    What a beautiful story. Rescued puppies are the best!

  24. Wow, this is one of the most inspiring stories I have ever read. Thank you so much for rescuing this gorgeous dog. Such an amazing story. The world of dog shows needs more dog owners like you. Thank you!

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