By Ann Rubin
(KSDK) - He won Best in Show at Westminster, the famous dog show. Now a Belleville-bred beagle is back in town making public appearances.
Call it a crush, call it puppy love. But a senior citizen in Peoria, Illinois had her heart set on seeing Uno. And even though he's now a big star, Uno made an exception just this once and made a house call Wednesday evening.
One look inside Rosemary Kramm's home and it's obvious - she loves dogs. In her 91 years, she's had three poodles and a beagle. But it's her love for a dog she's never even met that somehow transformed her these last few weeks.
"Oh I just went crazy," Kramm said.
She saw him on TV. Uno, the star beagle that won Best in Show at Westminster. Something about this world champion moved her.
"I was crying so hard I couldn't even see the screen," Kramm said.
"I've never seen her get that excited about something in my lifetime," Kramm's daughter, Kathy said.
Rosemary's home healthcare nurse noticed as well, and decided to take action, to pass on word of her enthusiasm.
"That's when I emailed Kathy and the other owners," Leah Santini said.
And much to everyone's surprise, the owners responded. Actually, they showed up on her doorstep in Peoria with Uno.
Rosemary got to meet the dog of her dreams, up close and personal.
"Oh I can't believe you're here," Kramm said.
As it turns out, the champion beagle was born and bred in Belleville, Illinois. He returned to the state for a quick publicity tour. Peoria wasn't too far out of his way.
Uno will make thousands of public appearances following Wesminster but his owners and breeders knew one of them was non-negotiable. They knew they wanted to meet Rosemary.
"We all agreed that this was the best thing that we could be doing with this dog right now," Breeder Kathy Weichert said. "I mean, he makes people happy and when he makes people this happy, it's overwhelming."
So for an hour, Uno lounged in Rosemary's living room, eating treats and posing for pictures like the pro he is. And if his job is to be an ambassador of the breed and of goodwill, he was certainly both Wednesday.
"It's made me very, very happy," Kramm said.
Uno will be in the area a few more days. He'll be appearing at a dog show in Belleville this weekend. Then next week, it's up to Chicago where he'll get a proclamation declaring a special Uno day in his honor.