Pulse: Wheaten terrier already grand champion

When Naperville resident Kim Wright went looking for a soft-coated Wheaten terrier, she went the extra mile to find just the right one.

Her efforts paid off and then some.

“We had a soft-coated Wheaten, and when I found a breeder here in Illinois, I said I wanted a female but there were already five people ahead of me on the list,” Wright said. “But the breeder knew someone in South Carolina and got the two of us together.”

Wright said she immediately “took the checkbook from my husband,” left and drove straight through to South Carolina to get her precious “Doree.”

Doree replaced a terrier that died from kidney disease. But she isn’t just a replacement.

At 2 years old, Doree already is ranked “Grand Champion.” She recently was the runner up in her breed class Feb. 11 at the 138th annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, the most prestigious show in the country.

“When I got Doree, we were just looking for a great family dog that was good with kids, and I have two sons,” Wright said. “I never expected to have her be a show dog, but I later learned from the woman who let me adopt her that her entire lineage were champion dogs, and they told me about some handlers in Belvidere that would check her out.”

The rest, as they say, is history. Doree has steadily moved up the ranks appearing in shows from St. Louis to Philadelphia, Michigan and New York.

“I never imagined this would happen,” Wright said. “She’s even been the subject of stories on Chicago radio and local television in Rockford and Belvidere.”

Mom on mission

Peril of flying with nut allergies

When it comes to flying, Naperville mom Amy Wicker worries about more than on-time arrival. The founder of AllergySafeTravel, an online travel resource for people with food allergies, created a short film to highlight the issue of flying for those with nut allergies.

“According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are more than 4 million Americans, many of whom are children, that are allergic to peanuts and tree nuts,” said Wicker, in a press release. “I wanted to tap into the emotional power of film to graphically highlight actual allergy sufferers who view flying not as a pleasurable experience but as a health risk.

“The fear is an allergic reaction can be triggered onboard, not only through ingestion but through contact and inhalation.”

The six-minute film, “More than an Inconvenience,” includes one-on-one interviews with people who have had adverse reactions on board flights. It also features interviews with people with food allergies so severe they were afraid to risk flying.

The film won Best Short Documentary in 2013 at the LA Film and Script Festival. It’s available for viewing at www.allergysafetravel.com.

Famous alum

Belushi to perform at MAC benefit

One particularly famous actor will be one of the first to perform in the recently renovated McAninch Arts Center at College of DuPage.

Jim Belushi, a 1974 College of DuPage graduate who grew up in Wheaton, will be the highlight of MAC Madness 2014 on March 8.

“We are grateful to Jim Belushi for graciously donating his time to help the foundation and College of DuPage,” said Cathy Brod, vice president of development and executive director of the College of DuPage Foundation. “It’s fitting that he is one of the first people to perform in the newly renovated Performance Hall, and we appreciate his continued support of the McAninch Arts Center.”

The fundraiser will feature Belushi and the Board of Comedy. The night will begin at 6 p.m. with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres followed by Belushi’s improv show and live auction at 7 p.m. and a post-performance celebration at 8:45 p.m.

Tickets are $250, and proceeds can be designated for the John Belushi Scholarship Fund, MAC General Fund, the Cleve Carney Art Gallery and Endowment Art Fund, or New Philharmonic.

After the benefit performance, Belushi and the Board of Comedy will present a late show at 9:30 p.m., and tickets are $44 adult, $42 senior and $32 youth.

Robyn Coffin, a former College of DuPage theater student and John Belushi Memorial Scholarship recipient, said she was able to attend COD because of the award.

“I am a working actor today, and I attribute my studies at COD as a major reason I work now,” she said. “The scholarship made it possible for me to learn and hone skills that paved the way for my professional career and my work ethic. I will always be grateful for the Belushi scholarship.”

The performances are part of the McAninch Arts Center’s 2014 Grand Opening Season after a 14-month, $35 million renovation that was funded by the $168 million referendum that passed in November 2010.

For tickets to MAC Madness 2014, visit collegeofdupage.thankyou4caring.org/mac-madness-registration. To become an event sponsor, call 630-942-4476 or email farrowe535@cod.edu for more information. To purchase tickets to the 9:30 p.m. show, call 630-942-4000 or visit AtTheMac.org.