For these hounds and humans, dog show a couples’ competition

May 9, 2023, 6:08 AM


CORRECTS SPELLING OF PHOTOGRAPHER'S LAST NAME TO PELTZ INSTEAD OF PELL - Owner-handler Debbie Develin shows Tips, an otterhound, in breed competition during the 147th Westminster Kennel Club Dog show, Monday, May 8, 2023, at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York. (AP Photo/Jennifer Peltz)

(AP Photo/Jennifer Peltz)

NEW YORK (AP) — As otterhounds lined up to be judged at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show Monday, Tips and Creed could be forgiven if they secretly were rooting for each other.

Same goes for their owners and handlers, Tom and Debbie Develin. The Boyertown, Pennsylvania, duo are a couple. The dogs are, too, in a manner of speaking — they live together and have had a litter.

Although there are a number of husband-and-wife professional dog handlers who sometimes compete against each other at the United States’ most illustrious dog show, that’s less common among so-called “owner-handlers.”

“We cheer each other on and then see how it goes,” Debbie said.

The Develins, both retired from managerial jobs, got their first otterhound years ago after Tom learned that the dogs had a reputation for friendliness. They live up to it, he says. Tips and Creed make therapy visits at hospitals and elsewhere when not busy with dog shows, agility, obedience and other canine sports.

Tom started showing one. Debbie helped. Eventually, both were in the ring.

Otterhound fanciers are a tight-knit group, partly due to sheer numbers. The big, shaggy, spirited hounds trace their roots to medieval England but are now among the rarest breeds in their homeland and in the United States.

On Monday, neither Creed nor Tips advanced to the competition’s next round. But Creed got a ribbon, and both Develins came away happy for their dogs and their competitors.

“It’s like one big family,” Debbie said.


New York-based Associated Press journalist Jennifer Peltz has covered the Westminster dog show since 2013.

United States News

Goats graze on dry grass next to a housing complex in West Sacramento, Calif., on May 17, 2023. Goa...

Associated Press

No kidding: California overtime law threatens use of grazing goats to prevent wildfires

WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Hundreds of goats munch on long blades of yellow grass on a hillside next to a sprawling townhouse complex. They were hired to clear vegetation that could fuel wildfires as temperatures rise this summer. These voracious herbivores are in high demand to devour weeds and shrubs that have proliferated across […]

4 hours ago

FILE - FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried leaves Manhattan federal court in New York, Feb. 16, 2023. (AP...

Associated Press

Prosecutors say Sam Bankman-Fried’s arguments to dismiss cryptocurrency charges are meritless

NEW YORK (AP) — Sam Bankman-Fried’s lawyers made meritless arguments in a bid to convince a judge to toss out criminal charges alleging that the FTX founder stole from investors in his multibillion dollar cryptocurrency fund, federal prosecutors said Monday. In papers filed in Manhattan federal court, prosecutors responded to early May filings in which […]

1 day ago

FILE - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, center, poses for a photo with audience members during a fundrais...

Associated Press

DeSantis kicks off presidential campaign in Iowa as he steps up criticism of Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) — Ron DeSantis plans to kick off his presidential campaign in Iowa on Tuesday, the start of a busy week that will take him to 12 cities in three states as he tests his pitch as the most formidable Republican challenger to former President Donald Trump. The Florida governor’s two-day trip to the […]

1 day ago

The draft of a bill that President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of Calif., negotiated...

Associated Press

Crucial days ahead as debt ceiling deal goes for vote and Biden calls lawmakers for support

WASHINGTON (AP) — President disastrous U.S. default. Biden spent part of the Memorial Day holiday working the phones, calling lawmakers in both parties, as the president does his part to deliver the votes. A number of hard right conservatives are criticizing the deal as falling short of the new work requirements for older Americans in […]

1 day ago

FILE - Activists demonstrate as the Supreme Court hears oral arguments on a pair of cases that coul...

Associated Press

Most in U.S. say don’t ban race in college admissions but that role should be small: AP-NORC poll

WASHINGTON (AP) — As the Supreme Court decides the fate of affirmative action, most U.S. adults say the court should allow colleges to consider race as part of the admissions process, yet few believe students’ race should ultimately play a major role in decisions, according to a new poll. The May poll from The Associated […]

1 day ago

A sign outside a Target store is seen Wednesday, May 24, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn. Target is removi...

Associated Press

LGBTQ+ activists call for new strategies to promote equality after Target backlash

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Following Target’s announcement last week that it removed products and relocated Pride displays to the back of certain stores in the South, activists in the LGBTQ+ community are calling for new campaigns to convince corporate leaders not to cave to anti-LGBTQ+ groups. “We need a strategy on how to deal with […]

1 day ago

Sponsored Articles



Why drug-free weight loss still matters

Wanting to lose weight is a common goal for many people as they progress throughout life, but choosing between a holistic approach or to take medicine can be a tough decision.


OCD & Anxiety Treatment Center

How to identify the symptoms of 3 common anxiety disorders

Living with an anxiety disorder can be debilitating and cause significant stress for those who suffer from the condition.

(Photo by Michael Matthey/picture alliance via Getty Images)...

Cox Communications

Valley Boys & Girls Club uses esports to help kids make healthy choices

KTAR’s Community Spotlight focuses on the Boys & Girls Club of the Valley and the work to incorporate esports into children's lives.

For these hounds and humans, dog show a couples’ competition