No paws barred: Competition is fierce for Jordy and Bentley


Jordy of Arlington is a top contender in the Owney Look-Alike Contest. Owney was a train-riding dog who was a mascot for the mail service more than a century ago. (John Kelly/WASHINGTON POST)
John Kelly
Columnist October 9, 2011

As the race between Jordy Robinson and Bentley Perry enters its final days, things are getting ugly, as they so often do in intensely competitive contests. This is the point in the campaign when the “oppo” comes out: opposition research.

It’s time to go negative, and it doesn’t get much more negative than this: Bentley Perry has been seen urinating and defecating in public.

John Kelly writes "John Kelly's Washington," a daily look at Washington's less-famous side. Born in Washington, John started at The Post in 1989 as deputy editor in the Weekend section. View Archive

Of course, so has Jordy Robinson.

Bentley and Jordy are dogs. They’re vying to win the National Postal Museum’s Owney Look-Alike Contest.

Owney was a mixed-breed terrier who rode along with mailbags on U.S. postal trains in the 1890s, becoming a mascot of sorts. His taxidermied body — newly spruced up — is on display at the Smithsonian. To celebrate Owney’s makeover, and his appearance on a postage stamp, the museum invited dog owners last month to post pictures of their pooches. The top three vote-getters will have their photos displayed at the museum. The top vote-getter wins an iPaw — er, iPad.

“From the beginning, we’ve been in the top 10,” said Jordy’s owner, Patrice Robinson of Arlington County. “After a few days of voting, Jordy and Bentley kind of had the top two spots and have been battling for the top spot every day since.”

Patrice knows this, because about once an hour she checks the Facebook page where the contest is being held. She searched for information on Bentley and found an article in his hometown Oakland Tribune. He lives with owner Judy Perry in Fremont, Calif., and has already won an Owney look-alike contest at the Niles Dog Show in Fremont. Bentley also appeared as Owney at the Golden Gate Railroad Museum.

For Patrice, those are quite enough honors for Bentley. “We just really want to beat him,” she said. People can comment on the voting page, and as of this writing, Bentley had 12 comments to Jordy’s four. “One of the comments is a negative comment from [Bentley’s] camp,” Patrice said. The comment: “He’s cute but Owney had dark hair.”

Said Patrice: “We decided not to respond. We did have a supporter set that person straight.”

More than 70 dogs have entered the contest, including Peppy, Beasley, Roxy and Schwanson McPuggerson. The winning dog needn’t be identical to Owney but should possess some inner Owneyness.

Patrice thinks her canine has the right stuff. She and her husband, Jeff, adopted Jordy in 2008 from the Animal Welfare League of Arlington. The mutt had been given up by a family from Arkansas who kept him mainly in their garage. Jordy’s fur was long and matted, and he was traumatized. “He was pretty neglected and unsocialized,” Patrice said.

But he bounced back quickly. “We call him our diamond in the rough,” Patrice said. And he’s great with Patrice and Jeff’s 9-month-old daughter, Virginia.

And so the race continues. Like a good political operative, Patrice has been mobilizing the base. “We’ve been sending out daily reminders, Photoshopping photos with little slogans,” she said. “We have a mailing list of over 100 people. We’ve created Jordy’s Facebook page and also contacted the animal shelter and his groomer, Happy Grooming in Arlington.”

So come on, Washington! Are we going to sit back and let a California dog beat ours?

“At this point, we’re in it to win it,” Patrice said.

Voting ends Oct. 17, and you may vote for Jordy once a day at http://apps.facebook.com/promosapp/172763/entry/191763.

Obelisk list

Last week, engineers rappelled down all four sides of the Washington Monument, meticulously examining every square inch to see what might have been damaged in the 5.8-magnitude earthquake that struck in August. Among the things they found were a few surprises:

Missing mortar.

The masonry deterioration known as spalling.

Timothy Spall, an English actor best known for his role in the Harry Potter movies.

A bumper sticker that read: “This car climbed Mt. Washington.”

An engraved commemorative stone from the Know Nothing Party that read: “Just kidding. We love the Pope!”

Graffiti that read: “Cool Disco Dan.”

A broken kite from the Smithsonian Kite Festival.

A lost Frisbee.

A Myrmidon on the pyramidon. He was named Don.

Five years’ worth of Marion Barry’s tax records.

Eighteen-and-a-half minutes of tape from the Nixon White House.

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