Thursday, December 9, 2010

This Is Personal

Two years ago a litter of puppies was born in a heated whelping box to a Champion Smooth Collie named Izzy.   Four short months later their human leaves this Earth for a better place, Heaven.

This human had great plans for two of these puppies, a little girl and little boy.  You see this was supposed to be the first, of many, litters born of her own champion stock.   The human's daughter was lost and didn't know what to do as she was not of the "Dog Show World".  

Hank and Ivy 2009

As you can guess, the human is my mom, and I am the daughter.

I've attended shows where my mom was subjected to the ugly side, the political side, of this world.  Where other handlers, owners, fanciers shunned her, told her she was nothing better than a back yard breeder and she'd never produce anything of quality.  Her and I both knew all of this was because they were scared, scared of her dogs and what she was doing to better the Collie breed.

Since my mom's passing I've handled Izzy and my dog Chase in confirmation classes.  My experience was worse than moms.  I was told my mom would disapprove of what I was doing.  That the puppies, Hank and Ivy, that Lorie was showing were pet grade and would never be anything special.  That I completely ruined Izzy (a multiple Best in Show,  and Best in Speciality Show winner) and she'd be nothing more than a brood bitch.
Izzy Best in Show
Since that day I've seriously questioned keeping this going.  Continuing this thing that mom was so passionate about.

Mom had come so close before in qualifying for Eukanuba National Champion Dog Show, I believe she was 1 point away from qualifying when she was campaigning Shade.

Right to Left: Best of Breed Judge, Theresa (Shade's handler), and Columbus Collie Club President and of course Shade

Then Lorie and Hank started winning all the Best of Variety / Best of Breed's or Best Opposite Sex to Best of Breed/Variety (means he is the best "boy" in the ring and a "girl" won Best of Breed).  They were winning every weekend they went out.  He qualified for and we received an invitation to the Big Show so off to California we went.

Hank with his own Hollywood Star

Sunday morning helping Lorie get Hank ready for the show ring with a picture of mom close at hand the realization that we were completing something mom worked so hard to achieve hit me like a ton of bricks.
Me, Lorie, Mom and Hank
It was very hard to keep the emotion under control and I finally gave up and just had my moment of tears.  Lorie and I shared a big hug and Hank licked my hair and then we moved on to the business at hand.
Hank and Lorie
Hank and Mom
Lorie, Mom, Me and Hank
My emotions during this weekend went from extreme sadness missing my mom, to anger at her life being cut short.  Pride was always there.  Proud of Lorie and what she's accomplished.  Proud of Hank, just a puppy really at barely 2 years old.  Proud of myself for not giving up and following through.  Most of all proud of what mom accomplished.  Hank's temperament and confirmation are a result of her careful breeding.  

This show was different, while there was the tenseness of the competition, for the most part all the competitors were friendly and respectful.  We never encountered, nor heard any of the snide catty-ness that is often heard at the small shows.  Every class I watched; the judging was fair.  Each dog was given it's fair look over, logical questions about confirmation were compared animal to animal.  It wasn't obvious who would win here the moment they entered the ring.  It was very refreshing to see the best dog win, and not an animal that either meets a minimum of breed standard, can not move with fluidity, or shows none of the Collie temperament. 

As my husband stated earlier today, I am energized about this adventure.  I'm making breeding plans and  will again enter Chase in local shows to brush up my handling skills. 


  1. What a great accomplishment. I hope you can keep on keeping on with your mothers dream.

  2. ...awesome post. I'm sure this is an emotional roller coaster for you, but my's awesome. Your mom is with you. What a story...

  3. Jeni, your mom would be so proud of you! Good for you continuing on with her dream!
    Great post!!!! Great pictures!!!

  4. A moving post. I guess the grapes get less sour the further you moved up the vine. It's good to know that things are handled with integrity at the top. That's great that you respect your mother's goals and want to achieve them for her.

  5. Your Mom has very good reason to be proud of you~ she sounds like a very special person. Great post, and I'm glad that you have been able to take the high road, you can't go wrong ;-)

  6. You have done such a wonderful job of continuing what your accomplished mother, started!
    WOW, I am very impressed with how you could keep it together, though you had moments, through that show!It seemed to be "Graced" for you~
    Very proud of you, and happy that you may have been sparked to continue as well!

    God Bless your heart Jeni!

  7. As it should be . A testament and an homage to your moms good work. How proudly she must be looking down on you!

  8. Awwwww, my tears are falling as I type this. As someone who has lost a Mother too soon in life, I feel your emotions coming through. ((((hugs))))
    I also believe that you made your Mama proud. Oh yes!
    I'm so proud of you, too, for not giving up and letting those sour grapes pull you down. (They only do that because they are insecure and jealous anyway). Seeing the photo of your Mom with Hank focused on it....really touched my heart. It was as if he knew why he was there and he was going to do his best for her. Go Hank!

    I loved this post, my friend. And I love you, too. Thank you for sharing this journey with us.


    I leave you with one of my favorite quotes:

    "Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great."
    Mark Twain 1835-1910

  9. I'm so glad to hear that you did this. Your mom would be proud to have you continue to pursue her dream. The dogs are beautiful. My mom wasn't a breeder but she loved collies and we always had one or two. Great dogs.

  10. Being with you ringside, while Hank and Lorie did their thing, made this show so special for me! I hope you continue to work with Hank, because I'd like to be with you next year when he again makes an appearence at the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship! Your mom is smiling down from Heaven.

  11. I felt priviledged to have met you during such a poignant moment in your life,Jen. As with anything of importance, you were on a mission. It was personal, and we were all rooting for you. Your mum would have been proud had she been there, but in my own belief system, she was watching and smiling all the while. You're a special lady with a great husband and a dynamite dog. I hope we stay in touch.


Happy Trails!