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Icelandic Sheepdog's rookie run comes to an end at Westminster

Having beaten her only competitor for Best in Breed, Rassa, the Icelandic Sheepdog from Vashon Island, Wash., took to the ring again Monday night to compete against the other winners of their respective breeds in the Herding Group.

Her handler, Tammie Wilcox, jogged Rassa onto the emerald green carpet in Madison Square Garden in front of thousands of dog enthusiasts. Twenty four other dogs of various breeds all competed to make it to the next and final step at Westminster, Best in Show.

Jim Seida / msnbc.com

Rassa, and Icelandic Sheepdog from Vashon Island, Wash., trots in the ring with her handler Tammie Wilcox during the Herding Group competition at the Westminster Dog Show on Monday night, Feb. 14.

After each dog stood, trotted, and did everything they could for the judge scrutinizing them, first place went to a Bearded Collie named Mr. Baggins from Washington, D.C. Rassa didn’t place. Her Westminster ride was over.

"I think she fell in love with the judge," Wilcox said after the show, "I think Rassa might have thought the judge was Donna and she wouldn’t taker her eyes off her." Wilcox was referring to Donna McDermott, Rassa’s owner.

"Did you see her out there?" McDermott asked after the show, "She looked great, and Tammie did such a great job showing her!" McDermott had been watching from the stands. "I wasn’t nervous until I looked up and saw the big screen and it read, ‘135th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show,’ and I heard the announcer’s voice booming over the sound system. That’s when it hit me. That’s when I realized just where we were."

Jim Seida / msnbc.com

Rassa, and Icelandic Sheepdog from Vashon Island, Wash., shows for the judge in the ring with her handler Tammie Wilcox during the Herding Group competition at the Westminster Dog Show on Monday night, Feb. 14.

Wilcox said even though Rassa showed well, she wasn’t surprised at the outcome. "We don’t expect a dog to place in group on their first time out,” she said. “There’s all the lights and the people, we’re so proud that she made it this far."

Jim Seida / msnbc.com

Donna McDermott hugs Rossa, her Icelandic Sheepdog, after the Herding Group competion at The Westminster Dog Show on Monday.

After the show, McDermott was backstage in the benching area with Rassa, hugging her and telling her what a good dog she was. She then gathered up the crates, hairbrushes, leashes and other dog show apparatus and wheeled them toward the elevator. "It’s time to go home," she said.

See Rassa at home on the farm outside of Seattle, Wash., and experience her entire trip to Westminster.

Check back for our ongoing coverage of the furry underbelly of Westminster Dog Show.

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