Someone wrote to me this morning and asked me if I could write about this subject. So I gave it a little thought and decided, “Sure, why not?” Everyone in dogs has a “first time” doing something. The woman that wrote to me was so thrilled that she had just put the first point on one of her own animals that she was showing. Here are her own words: “I handled my girl Piper a few weeks ago in Urbana Ohio. Nothing new except she went Winners Bitch. I was on cloud nine and sill am. It’s the first time I ever put a points on my own bitch. I handled others and got majors, but this was different. It is a very special feeling, one that I have never experienced before, and I hope to again and again. I know I will never forget it.”
Looking back in my own involvement in dogs, I was never that talented to show my own dogs so I left it to the professionals. I probably am the world’s worst double handler and every professional handler’s worst nightmare so pretty much the dog was left to win on his own merit. The very first time that I ever showed at a major specialty show, I hired Jimmy Moses and my dog won a big four or five point major and back in those days the entries were huge. First of all I was thrilled that Mr. Moses was showing my dog because I was a young, “just starting out” novice and he consented to show my dog. So that was my “first time” having a cream of the crop handler showing for me. Then the other “first time” was that my dog won his first major! So those two things stand out in my mind of “first time” events. I remember driving to the show that day, but I don’t remember driving back home because I was floating, because my feet hadn’t stepped back on the ground yet.
Then there are memories of the first litter I ever bred and there are memories of the first champion I ever finished and the first champion I ever bred. There are memories of the first “big shot” I ever talked to and that was so sweet and supportive of me. That was Carol McPheron who owned GV Ch Scorpio of Shiloh Gardens. She was just the nicest and most helpful person to a newcomer like me.
Can I ever forget the first time an icon of the breed bred to my stud dog? When Bill Goldbecker bred one of his German bred bitches to my dog, I couldn’t believe it. He was a fascinating man who knew a lot about the breed. He didn’t let you forget it either. Now most people when they breed to your dog, they bring the bitch to him. Nope, Bill expected and he got me bringing my stud dog to his bitch. What did I care anyway? He thought enough of my dog to breed to him.
Could I have been any luckier than to be able to lease a bitch for my very first litter from the kennels of Marge Dolan of Dolmar Shepherds? She was from the famous Reno/Rhyme combination. I’ve always said it many times on this blog, I was VERY LUCKY when I first started out to have some knowledgeable people take me under their wings.
Another first for me was when the GREAT, late Joan Ford judged a match show. The entry was huge. I kid you not; there must have been a hundred entries that day. The sun was shining brightly; a cool breeze was in the air……a perfect combination for a dog show. We entered our sable “Charlie” son and without a professional handler at the end of the leash. Well can I tell you when she pointed to him and gave him Best Puppy at this match; you would have thought he just won the Grand Victor title. I was stunned that she awarded our super moving puppy this title.
Then owning BIM Ch Arbar’s Xanadu ROM afforded me many, many “firsts.” She was the best thing that ever happened to me in dogs for a gazillion and one reasons. She was a once in a life time dog and I owe her so much more than she ever got.
And writing this article wouldn't be complete if I didn't include when I bought my very "first" German Shepherd Dog, Helga. Bought from a pet shop, but loved like she was a champion because although she may have taught me everything that a good quality German Shepherd shouldn't look like conformation wise, she also served to remind me of the fantastic mind and temperament of this breed. And after all that was the real reason I bought a German Shepherd to begin with. It was who they were that attracted me to them in the first place. It was their nobility, loyalty and the love for their master that first caught my eye. My very first German Shepherd made me realize that my first choice of a dog breed was the right choice for me.
So looking back over my ownership and involvement with the breed, I remember many “firsts.” How about you? Do you remember some “firsts” in your dog show career? Do you remember the thrill of it all? Did it feel different then then what it feels like today when you win? Do you still get that “rush” when you win? Are there still “firsts” that you are looking forward to experiencing?
From the book: "CHOOSING GRATITUDE: YOUR JOURNEY TO JOY" - Gratitude is a choice. If we fail to chose it, by default we choose ingratitude. And once allowed into the heart, ingratitude does not come by itself but with a lot of other seedy companions that only succeed in stealing joy. To not choose gratitude - daily and deliberately - is more costly than we usually realize. And when we do choose a lifestyle of heartfelt, humble gratitude, we are mindful of the benefits received from our gracious Savior and those He has placed around us. By intentionally thanking God and others, bitterness and entitlement are replaced with joy and the humble realization of just how undeserving we really are. Derived from a popular Revive Our Hearts radio series, Choosing Gratitude: The Path to Joy challenges and equips the reader to live a life of intention. A life based on thankfulness - for the freedom Christ has provided and for the blessings of others.