Dennis McCoy and longtime partner Randy Garren. Photo by Julie M. Mueller.
Fri, 03/03/2023 - 10:24pm

Question of the Week

What is your fondest memory of Dennis McCoy?

Jane Fowler

Laurel, Delaware

I remember Dennis' absolute elation the night he won the Non-Sporting Group at Westminster with Isabel Robson's beautiful Dalmatian bitch the same night Bobby won the Hound Group with her wire Dachshund! We wondered if this was a record of one owner winning two groups at the Garden! And the spirited verbal "sparring" that went on between the two handlers! Great fun!


Bonnie Linnell Clarke

Holly Springs, North Carolina

On January 19, 2023, I spent most of the day with Dennis. Yes, I had him all to myself!

I was his chauffeur from the Tampa airport to Brooksville, Florida. After checking in at the hotel (my room wasn’t ready), we went to a fabulous Italian restaurant for lunch. I haven’t laughed that much in years!

Dennis was effervescent! He bubbled! And, he was kind! One day wasn’t enough!


Pattie Proctor 

Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts

My fondest memory of Dennis was during the time that my brother Scott was quite ill and at that point in time could hardly walk. Scott’s passion was showing his famous English Cocker PacMan. At one particular show Scott and my Mom showed up, and Dennis and Randy saw that Scott could barely walk, never mind run around a ring. Dennis took the lead from Scott and jumped in the ring to show PacMan. Such a kind, selfless, raw act of human kindness I shall never forget.


Barbara H. Furbush

Salisbury, Maryland

I knew Dennis McCoy for more years that I can remember. I was showing Miniature Poodles and he was showing Dals, Standards and Toys. Dennis was always a wonderful, caring person, and his smile could win you over in a minute. I NEVER saw him under much stress keeping the Poodle Club of America on top. He would work through any problems so carefully that no one even noticed. In 2012, he called me on my cell phone, as Jack and I were on our way back to Maryland from visiting in Georgia. When I answered the phone and realized it was Dennis, fear struck me, as I knew it was probably that call with please accept show chairman for the Poodle Club of America. It was very hard to tell Dennis McCoy "no." We talked halfway through Virginia. He promised he would be there to help with any problems that might arise. Finally, after his explanation and a promise of blue and gold M&Ms with PCA on them for the show, and a box of the best chocolate candy, I accepted. He even bought a very tall directors chair so he could be seen from across the Civic Center if needed. Dennis never let me down. Our working relationship was flawless. Thanks to Dennis and Randy for guiding the Poodle Club of America National Specialty like clockwork. Dennis, we will miss your smile and cute little smirks!  

Johnny Shoemaker

Las Vegas, Nevada

My fondest memory of Dennis was when he would sit in his director's chair at the PCA National. He would direct and run the show from that chair. He always had a smile on his face and made it an enjoyable event. Another favorite was visiting his and Randy's home before they moved and seeing his fish pond and other parts of the property. Another favorite was when we had dinner at Mari-Beth O'Neill's house. Mari-Beth is an excellent cook, and Marjorie Tuff and I went there, and Randy and Dennis were there. We had so many laughs and such a great time. I shall miss Dennis very much.


David Frei

Seattle, Washington

A terrible loss to all his friends, family and the dog-show world. I first got to know Dennis way back in 1991. It was my second TV Westminster, and Dennis had just won Best in Show with Peter (Ch. Whisperwind's on a Carousel), the beautiful white Standard Poodle. In doing a little research recon with him before the BIS competition, he sheepishly told me his “lucky charm” … pink socks. So, after he had won and we were interviewing him on the floor for television, I asked him about the socks, and we all laughed as he flashed them for everyone to see on TV. God rest your soul, Dennis. You made it a better world in so many ways for all of us. 


Daniel Mehling

New Orleans, Louisiana 

Early ’90s on the Tar Heel dog-show circuit, watching Randy spray up the special and Dennis fly around the ring with dog. Dennis and the dog were one well-oiled machine ... Enjoyed watching Dennis show the Puli, and the many Dalmatians, but his love was for the Poodles. 

Stuart Cairns

Johnstown, Ohio

Stewarding for Dennis, he asked me if I agreed with another judge that a Miniature Bull Terrier can win without a perfect bite.

I replied, it’s the overall dog, and bite is just a fault, and should be judged on degree of fault, as our standard addresses.

Later he asked me if I had a photo of my favorite dog. When I showed him a photo, I said I didn’t think “he” would award him, as his bite wasn’t perfect.

His reply was, “I would award that dog with no teeth.”

A couple of years later, he gave this dog’s son, without a perfect bite, a Group 2.

I wasn’t at the show, but I was the next day, and he said to me, “I judged a Minibull yesterday who only lost Group 1 against a really top dog because his bite was just off.”
He made the comment, “I think he is better than the one you showed me.”

My reply, “Well, the goal is to improve — that’s his son.”

Knowing Dennis was strict on bites, I took that group placement as an amazing compliment.


Doris Cozart

Denton, Texas

I have so many fond memories of Dennis. What I will miss the most are the phone calls.


Barbara Beissel

Ocala, Florida

Almost everyone who knew Dennis and spent time being a friend has one or more memorable stories. Mine go back to when Dennis and Randy were still handlers and my first trip to the Tar Heel circuit. 
I was invited to stay at their home in Apex in my RV, as there was a show one or two weeks after Tar Heel close by. While Randy rarely joined us, Dennis and I had a great time finding new places to have lunch, go shopping and just had much fun hangin' out. 
I am so happy I made a special trip to Brooksville in January for one reason only, to spend a little time with Dennis, which I did. We laughed, each of us believing the other was our "evil twin." 
So many memories of a special guy I will always miss and cherish.


Eric Liebes

Peyton, Colorado

My favorite memory of Dennis includes our legendary friend, Edd Bivin. Joan and I went to dinner with Dennis, Randy and Edd after a nice day of judging at a Utah show. The wide-ranging conversation came around to notable Poodles of the past. Dennis (and Randy) started to ask Edd about dogs from long ago who they had only seen pictures of or that were in their pedigrees. Then they sat back as they compared what they knew of the dogs, and what they produced, against Edd's actual memories of the dogs, many of whom he had judged. So much knowledge between all of them, such respect for our sport and the dogs, so much sharing of the breed Dennis loved. 


Mary and Scott Olund

Marin County, California

One fond memory we have of Dennis is the time we introduced him to San Francisco celebrating New Year's Eve. Loved watching him smile all night long. 


Maureen Peteler

Lake Placid, Florida 

I have known Dennis since 1995, as my handler. He finished our first Toy Poodle. Later as I pursued my Poodle judging, he was a mentor at Poodle Club of America shows I attended. He always encouraged me to do more. And never give up.

When I was invited to Judge 4-6 Puppy sweepstakes in October 2021, Dennis McCoy was judges hospitality. There were a lot of emotions at this show, as it was the first show after the pandemic, including mine.

Dennis cared about me and others. Made sure all was well with my hotel room. The club members treated me like royalty. The flower, dinners, lunches and gifts. More than he would know. 

Dennis personally asked me every day, and understood my emotions. I will miss him.


Carol O’Brien

Durham, North Carolina

Those of us in Dalmatians knew Dennis for his expertise in piloting Penny to her Westminster group wins. When I moved to North Carolina, I watched as Dennis grew the Tar Heel Circuit and the clubs within it. He was always the dapper circuit chair with his monogrammed folding chair at the corner of the group ring and his voice resonating when announcements needed to be made. And as a Dal and Non-Sporting judge, I recall many times when he examined my dogs and made it clear what he liked or if he had a concern. Only weeks ago, he pointed my new puppy.

So many people in so many facets of the sport —or lovers of good restaurants or fashionable men’s clothing — will remember Dennis often. He was truly a unique individual.


Richard F. Sedlack

Middlefield, Ohio

I had dinner with Dennis and Dr. Dot Izmirlian. No dog show in sight. Just three people talking. A quiet, pleasant evening.     


Greg Anderson

Simi Valley, California

There are so many great memories! And I know many wonderful talented folks who knew Dennis have a lot to share. Dennis and Randy go way back! When I was just Junior handler, I was a shy kid (yes). Dennis was at Santa Barbara Kennel Club and showing a Standard Poodle and I was only 17 years old, but I couldn’t take my eyes away from Dennis and Randy — I was in awe of that talent! I just remember Dennis coming up to me and saying, “Kid, you should show my Poodle!” I laughed and was so humbled by those words!

Ten years later, I was North Carolina showing, and he came up to me and said, “Kid, you should show my Poodle!” I was shocked he remembered me! Dennis was always the kindest man, we became fast friends for years! I had the great privilege to ring steward for Dennis this past summer at Santa Barbara, and when he saw me, he said, “Kid, you should my Poodle!” with that twinkle in his eye. I was honored and blessed to know Dennis for many, many years. God bless Randy.


Barbara Miller

Brookville, New York

Everyone who knew Dennis admired him for his canine knowledge, his honesty and his charm. There’s no doubt the dog world has lost a great man.


Linda Rowell

Dublin, Georgia

I remember so many things, events, conversations, competitions, dinners, laughter … I miss the twinkle in his eye, his mischievous smile, his love of food, his inquisitive nature, always asking questions, but, most, I’ll miss never seeing him again at the shows.

Leslie Simis 

Temple City, California 

I’ve known Dennis and Randy (can’t mention one without the other) for more than 30 years. I had the pleasure of spending a lot of time with them, not only at shows, but at their home and kennel as well. My respect ran deep, as I was often humbled by the enormous talent embodied by both of them. Dennis was an incredible handler, and an absolute blast to be around, all while being impeccably dressed. There were many nice things they both did for me, but one thing stands out above the rest. On the occasion of winning my first all-breed Best in Show in 1998, I came home to a beautiful bouquet of flowers and the sweetest note you could ever imagine. I was so humbled to think that someone who was like a superstar to me could take the time out of his busy world to do something so very touching for an owner-handler like me. I will NEVER forget it, and I will never forget you either, Dennis. Godspeed, my friend.



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