I wouldn’t trade places with the new people just coming into this breed for all the money in the world! (OK, maybe I just lied…….I think I’d take all that money in the world after all)! I am so happy that I came into this breed when I did………..all the way back in the 70’s. Gee, I just aged myself didn’t I?
Let me tell you guys what you missed. A big fat black and white German Shepherd Dog Review with pages and pages of the top (and hoping to get to the top) German Shepherd Dogs. I mean I saw pictures of Grand Victors that we’re still talking about today. Some of you know the ones that I mean. They still decorate some of the pedigrees of our dogs that we are breeding and showing today. A few of those Grand Victors that come to mind were Lance, Mannix, Scorpio, Judd, Harrigan, etc. And those puppy ads in the Review…..why I remember one time someone ran a two page ad on three or four month old champion sired puppies. Can I tell you about the pictures they advertised (I can still see them in my mind)……well let’s just say all of the puppies very equally magnificent looking. I dare say that they would still be winners today. They were that good! They were deep bodied, plush coated “champions in the making!” I’ll never forget that ad, it impressed me so much. Having subscribed to the Review, received it, read it, advertised in it and read it all over again……..we held in our hands a magazine that was on it’s way to be award winning and recognized by her peers in the world of dog specialty magazines. Yup, some of us experienced a WOW FACTOR!
Thumbing through the Review, you not only seen all the “greats” in the German Shepherd Dog kingdom, but you also seen all the “greats” in the handling profession as well. We’d see the smiling, winning or furrowed brow of a handler staring back at us from those pages in their show winning pictures. You’d get to say hello to Bob, Jim, LaMar, Sandy, Gail, and Gary, Gerry, Henry, Mary, Freddie, Terry and even that young curly haired, tall skinny guy. What’s his name? Jimmy? Isn’t that guy still around today?! Seeing these handlers lined up in the ring, competing and doing whatever it was to beat their fellow handlers was watching handling expertise at it’s finest. Having these “second to none” professionals handle your dogs was experiencing the WOW FACTOR!
And what about all those wonderful judges we had? Do you know what it was like to see Ernie Loeb standing in the middle of the ring evaluating one of your dogs? How about the ever wonderful true lover of the breed, Mrs. Connie Beckhardt? I think I saw Harry Schneider’s name on more Premium lists back in those days. Then there was Fran Ford. Was there ever a more “gentlemen” of the breed than Fran? He’s still judging today. How about Ralph Roberts? I’ll never forget the year that the German Shepherd Dog Club of Greater New Haven had Ralph and Mary Roberts fly in from the west coast to judge a futurity and a five point major show. Can I tell you Mary Roberts was a class act….a true lady in every sense of the word? My bitch took Best Opposite Sex in the Maturity under her and a five point major reserve the next day under her husband. That was my “Nuance” that you see at the top of this blog. The futurity was so huge, that we were taking pictures of the winners in the dark! Yup you newbie’s, don’t know what you’re missing! Having these icons of the breed award your dog his championship points, well you just knew you were experiencing the WOW FACTOR!
Oh and lets not forget those most magnificent of all shows, the National Specialty show put on by the Parent Club each year. One’s coming up again real soon. Check out the dates on The German Shepherd Dog Club of America’s website. If you haven’t been to one of these shows, you just must put it on your “to do list.”
In my day I saw some of the top dogs in competition at these National shows. The Covy Tucker Hills magnificently pretty dogs dominated many of the entries at these Nationals. Their Christmas ads in the Review didn’t have too much competition for uniqueness and beauty. No, I take that back…..there were many wonderful Holiday ads now that I think about it! The stud dog classes and brood bitch presentation took your breathe away. Presentation after presentation of top quality filled classes. Youngsters that would go on to make breed history were getting their first introduction at some of these National Specialty shows.
Do you know what it was like being a newbie back then rubbing elbows with the elite in the breed? I sat next to and talked to living, breathing, walking encyclopedias of the history of our breed. I don’t know, but there must have been something in the water at that time because I can’t say that I had any problems meeting and befriending some of these marvelous people. When I hear new people in the breed complaining that no one will help them or even talk to them this only reinforces my belief that I’m glad that I started in the breed when I did! Yup, definitely something in the water back then and we didn’t even have what you guys have today with the vitamin and flavored enhanced waters! Exhibiting and attending a National in these days was experiencing a WOW FACTOR!
I want to know when’s the last time you experienced a WOW FACTOR in this breed. When’s the last time a dog stepped into the ring that took your breath away? Oh I don’t mean the pretty little bitch setting herself up in the ring all by herself or the handsome boy in the Best of Breed competition. All of them are nice representatives of the breed all right, but I’m talking about the one that you’re still talking about a couple of months later. I’m talking about the one that you’d take out a second mortgage on your home to make an offer to his owner for. Where are those dogs? He may not be the one with the most winning titles, but he’s the one that if he didn’t have a title at all, you would just have to have him anyway! Is he out there? Is someone hiding him just waiting to spring him on a hungry audience?
When was the last time that you went to a dog show and watched artistic expression from the tip of the dog’s nose to the handler’s expertise to the judge’s unquestionable knowledge? I mean did you ever walk away from a show knowing you just experienced a blending of like minds in the middle of the ring where you were awed by the dog’s quality, fascinated by the handler’s presentation and agreed with the judge’s decisions? Then you just experienced a WOW FACTOR!
How about watching the German Shepherd Dog do what he was bred to do? Did you ever sit at ringside watching a totally obedient dog in the ring being put through his exercises and come out with a 100% winning score? When’s the last time you saw a German Shepherd herding sheep, or have you ever seen them do this at all? Ever see a German Shepherd attack his handler’s padded sleeve? How about watching a German Shepherd be put through his testing for his Temperament certificate? Ever see a German Shepherd rescue a drowning child? How about a hero dog going back into a burning house to pull his master to safety? Has your dog ever put himself between you and a wild animal that wanted to make you his lunch? What about watching a dog trained for police work knock the breath out of a bank robber who’s running off with your life savings? Then you’ve experienced a WOW FACTOR!
I suppose a WOW FACTOR can mean different things to different people. A WOW FACTOR can be how in awe you are of your bitch that just produced a litter of twelve healthy fat new born pups. A WOW FACTOR can be how you shake your head in disbelief as you watch your young daughter pull your dog’s tail for the hundredth time without him even giving a whimper. A WOW FACTOR can be when you call the owner of the stud dog of your puppies and tell him after watching one of the youngsters in this litter gait around your backyard that you just watched a future Grand Victrix in the making! A WOW FACTOR can be that you are in awe and wonderment that one of the icons of the breed has decided to take a chance on you and mentor you and because of their help, you just finished your first champion!
WOW means just that……WOW……how did that happen, what did I just witness, or how did I get so lucky? WOW means something extraordinary just happened and you just experienced the WOW FACTOR!
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My rating: Living with German Shepherd Dogs is always a WOW FACTOR: (4)