Anything that has ever lived, never truly dies. Oh we may not actually see that person or that animal, but because they have lived, they still walk among us. For one reason is that we keep them alive in our hearts. Their memory lingers on. But if truth be told, it’s more than just our memories that keep them alive. It is their impact that they left that lingers behind. I know this all may seem philosophical but just give it some thought.
Every President of the parent club (GSDCA) that ever conducted a meeting, every board member, every person that was a member that has brought change to the club lives on in the history of this governing body of our beloved breed.
Every judge that ever judged the GSDCA’s National Specialty show that has pointed to the newest Grand Victor or Victrix has helped shape the genetic pool of this breed. Every judge that has judged at major specialty shows has helped dictate the style and movement of this breed through his interpretation of the standard.
Some past breeders are responsible for some people’s kennels that are now producing top winning show dogs. Some past breeders are responsible for putting smiles on family’s faces for all the love and devotion that their dogs are bringing to these people’s homes. Some past breeders are responsible for helping keep our country safe for their dogs are protecting our country by serving in the military or local police forces. When these dogs leave us, their legacy that they leave behind far outlives the short times that they lived here on this earth.
Great dogs are not born every day and I dare say maybe not even in a decade or two. Sure we’ll see some really good ones in our time, but very few great ones! Just think about it, when was the last time you saw a really great German Shepherd and the impact that he left on the breed? How often in your lifetime do you think you’re going to see it? I know everyone thinks that the dog that they own is great and just maybe he is, but I’m talking about the greatness this great dog leaves behind.
How often does a dog like GV Ch Lance of Fran-Jo come along? Lance was a little before my time, so I never got to see this dog in person. From his pictures, he looked to have been a stallion type dog. He appeared to be a hard, dry animal in breed type. He wasn’t necessarily my type of dog, but the impact of what this dog did for the breed remains till this day. Was he a perfect dog? Of course not. For all those that loved him and thought he did some great producing, there are others that blamed him for the problems in the breed as well. Whatever side of the fence you are on about this dog, one thing is for sure; very few ever changed this breed as much as this dog did. Very few have been talked about as much as this dog. Although he has been gone for many years now, his bloodlines are still behind some of today’s top winning dogs. This is truly an example of a dog that walked among us and still does today. A dog that has had this much of an impact on the breed never dies.
Any of the icons of the breed, the greats among the greats has never left us either. If you were fortunate enough to have been mentored by them or even to have shared a friendship with them, they still walk among us. It’s because they have lived and shared their knowledge with us that they never die. Anything that remains still lives on. It’s what they have taught us and we bring to our own breeding program today. It’s in the echoes of our mind that we still hear their words of wisdom. Every breeder that taught you what good movement was about, every breeder that pointed out good character and structure to you lives on every time you look at a dog now yourself. That mentor may not physically be standing right next to you, but he lives on in your memories by his teachings. A teacher never dies because their students carry on their teachings.
Every forefather of this breed that sat down and helped put together the standard lives on every time a judge sets foot in the ring. It is those people’s foresights and wisdom that is carried on in the show ring today. They paved the way for others to follow and for them to leave their footsteps behind for future generations.
Every writer that has written a good book about this breed, every editor of the German Shepherd Dog Review has been responsible for helping educate today’s generation so they too may bring their knowledge for the generations that follow.
Every dog that has played with your children, every dog that has protected your home never dies because your memories keep him alive.
It is because these people and dogs have lived that the breed continues today. The truly great ones (in whatever way you may perceive that) still walks among you and me today. Aren’t you glad that they touched your life? It’s because they’ve positively touched our lives that we pass on to future generations the wisdom of those that walked before us!
I can still hear the soft voice and laughter of Connie Beckhardt or the accent of Joan Ford answering a very novice person’s question. I remember Marge Dolan whispering in my ear at a show, “I want you to run for the President of our club.” I can still hear the cackle of LaMar standing ringside and proclaiming to me, “Darling did you ever see such a magnificent looking animal in your life?” These people have just gone onto another plain of existence perhaps somewhere in another galaxy, but their teachings, their friendship, their expertise still lives on and sets an example of what can be to those that now follow and look to pave their own path. May all those that walked before us, continue to walk with us now. Because they have lived, they never truly have died!
From the book: "CREATING A LIFE WORTH LIVING"...Dreaming is easy. Making it happen is hard. With a fresh perspective, Carol Lloyd motivates the person searching for two things: the creative life and a life of sanity, happiness and financial solvency. Creating a Life Worth Living helps the reader search memory for inspiration, understand his or her individual artistic profile, explore possible futures, design a daily process and build a structure of support. Each of the 12 chapters, such as "The Drudge We Do For Dollars" and "Excavating the Future," contains specific exercises and daily tasks that help readers to clarify their desires and create a tangible plan of action for realizing dreams. The book also provides inspiring anecdotes and interviews with people who have succeeded in their chosen fields.
My rating: Learning from a mentor: (4), Becoming a mentor: (4)