CAVE CREEK, AZ - It sounds like the plot out of a movie: a favorite in a national dog show competition meets an untimely death and now accusations of poison and foul play are flying around.
Lynette Blue, who co-owns Cruz, a three year old Samoyed, thinks her prized pooch was deliberately poisoned at the Westminster Kennel Club Show.
Cruz, a three year old Samoyed mysteriously died just four days after the show on February 16.
"He was a gentle sweet soul," said a tearful Blue about the dog she bred and owned.
Blue tells ABC15, Cruz was in Denver with his handler Robert Chaffin to compete in another dog show.
On the day of the show, Chaffin called Blue to tell Cruz wasn't feeling well. Chaffin called Blue a second time when Cruz began to cough up blood.
"I got pretty scared," said Blue, who says Cruz was a strong and healthy dog.
Cruz was rushed to an animal hospital where he died just hours later.
"The tests showed he had no clotting factor which is indicative to rat poison," said Blue.
The veterinarian who cared for Cruz told Blue he may have ingested a lethal dose of poison which can take two to five days to kill.
"Basically he could've been hemorrhaging internally and we didn't know," said Blue.
But Cruz's owner and handler don't believe he ingested the lethal poison on accident.
Instead, Blue and Chaffin are both suspicious of animal rights extremists protesting the show who may be to blame.
"That's always the possibility it could've been somebody like that ..or some deranged wacko that likes to see things hurt," said Blue.
Blue said she was so devastated, she didn't think to order a necropsy.
There is no hard evidence that Cruz was deliberately killed.
"The timeline adds up. There's no other scenario we can come up with other than poison," added Blue, who said they traced Cruz's steps in New York and couldn't find where he would've been accidently exposed to the poison.
Without the proof, Blue may never know what really happened.
"I raised him from a little baby, he was born in my home...and he was just an extra special little guy, " cried Blue, hoping to someday have answers.