Under the lights of Madison Square Garden, a stocky French bulldog from Cape May County made it through the first round of judging at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on Monday morning.

Porter, a 2-year-old bulldog owned by Cape May County veterinarian Terri Marks, did not win an award but finished in the top third of a field of about 36 French bulldogs, Marks said.

"He's enjoying the attention. He's loving it," Marks said Monday from New York City. "He thinks it's great. He's walking around the city, he's having a blast. That's how he is - he's a social butterfly."

Today, the 27-pound dog is scheduled to appear at a taping of "The Martha Stewart Show."

The show's Web site says, "See adorable chows and French bulldogs from the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show." Stewart owns two French bulldogs.

The experience has been rewarding, said Marks, who previously took another one of her dogs - Bo the mastiff - to the dog show.

"I love this. You go into a great big, huge building like Madison Square Garden, and it's dog lover after dog lover after dog lover," Marks said. "Everybody's happy, everybody's smiling, kids are loving it because they get to touch the dogs and meet the dogs."

Even walking down the streets of New York City, passers-by who have frowns on their faces brightened up when the dog walked past, said Marks, who owns the South Paw animal hospital in Middle Township.

Porter's show name is "Messiah's Fabelhaft Burn Baby Burn." The show name is a combination of names to describe the kennels and lineage of the dog and its parents - Messiah's is the name of a kennel in Nazareth, Pa.

Porter - who got the name because as a puppy he resembled a Porterhouse steak, Marks said - was the pick of his litter but developed a deep bone infection when he was a puppy and nearly lost his right paw from an amputation.

Marks gave the dog antibiotics and took him to physical therapy and acupuncture sessions. In September, Porter won at the Lehigh Valley Kennel Club show, qualifying him for the 134th annual Westminster dog show.

More than 2,500 dogs of 173 breeds are competing in the two-day show, which concludes today.

Contact Brian Ianieri:

609-463-6713