One Samoyed to Rule Them All
Sookie, a two-and-a-half-year old Samoyed, was crowned Piedmont Park’s Dog of the Year.
Named after the main character from True Blood, Sookie is strong-willed, independent and loyal. “She’s loving and protective of her family but can only stand cuddling with her parents for a few minutes before getting too warm and retreating to the coldest parts of the floor,” says owner Blake Watson. “She literally puts her nose in anything you’re doing near her. In part because we always say she has a severe case of FOMO (fear of missing out).”
Because there aren’t many Samoyeds in the Atlanta area, Sookie beat out 279 dogs in an online photo contest. Then she competed in-park against five other finalists, including a 5-year-old Siberian husky named Azlan who sang along to his owner’s harmonica. Sookie surprised the crowd by jumping through a hula hoop to catch her favorite toy—a tennis ball. “She’s a very intelligent dog, so it probably took a couple of hours for her to understand the trick. Now, when I hold a hula hoop (or any circular tunnel or ring) and tell her to go through it, she’ll give it a modest attempt as long as there’s a nice treat at the end,” Watson says. When the judges from Bark ATL, Dancing Dogs Yoga and the Piedmont Park Conservancy announced Sookie’s name, “my jaw dropped and a sheer wave of excitement filled me. I felt so proud of her!”