Monday, June 30, 2008

The Life & Times of Zoey - Part 5

In June Zoey had become very shaky on her rear legs, so there were tons more of x-rays, spinal taps, MRI's and more bloodwork done. The only conclusion the vets came to, and we actually thought this from the start, was that she was somehow poisoned. Zoey has always loved life, and dying was not an option in her mind. She is a fighter and has an extreme will to live.

In the ensuing months Zoey steadily got worse, but Debbie and co-owner/backer Dan did everything they could think of to make her comfortable. I went to Sporting Field later that year, and Zoey was a bit wobbly on her rear, but with her zest for life, ran around the farm, chasing the cats, and killing them when she caught them, and sometimes falling down. She was totally unaware she was not right.

I called about once a month inquiring about Zoey's health and it was always the same. When the year 2007 rolled around, the monthly discussions became tearful between Debbie and I cause we came to the realization that if Zoey was ever in pain it was a possibility we'd have to put Zoey down cause she was losing her rear totally, but we nixed that as she was still happy and although wobbly and falling over lots, she still had a bright spirit about her. We contemplated getting a wheelchair for her, but thought that may not be good cause she would lose total use of her rear end, and that would be it. At least while she was galloping around the yard, she was utilizing some muscle she did have back there.

An aquaintance of mine (never met the man, but know of his long standing history with whippets & greyhounds) emailed a few times even while Zoey was in her prime to say that, he knew Zoey wasn't being shown anymore, and he would love to have Zoey in her retirement (you know, once she is done having her babies and all). He would travel to the Florida shows when he could (he does live in Florida) just to see Zoey, he loved her that much.

Come July, discussion on Zoey's outcome was getting more grim and more tearful between Debbie and I. She was on a downhill slide, and sliding fast. I was going away on a 2 week family fishing trip to Canada, and if possible could Debbie please not put her to sleep while I was away, as I wanted to be there to see her one last time, hold her and tell her I love her with all my being and to bring her ashes back to Eclipse where, although she had only spent a few weeks as a baby here, she would spend eternity. It was agreed. Upon arriving home from my vacation, I called Debbie and went to Sporting Fields to see my Zoey. Debbie said she had improved when I was gone, and thinks she may hold steady, but I went anyway. When I saw Zoey, I cried, again along with Debbie, while we hugged each other. Her rear end was totally gone, but she could still pull herself up on her front and bunny hop around the yard, which made me smile wide, and she was turning into such a snob, I couldn't believe it, but she did remember me. (She would always remember my voice when I was near her and she's start her kangaroo hopping until I came over and said hello.) I spent a lot of alone time with my girl, and took a ton of pictures not knowing if those were the last I would get. I said a tearful goodbye to Zoey and Debbie and headed home.

August turned into September, September in October and into November we went. I had called Debbie one day asking about Zoey and she said that she was not doing good at all with the cold settling in and she thought it was time. I hung up and cried. Upon checking my emails that day, there was another email from this certain person that said he was still interested in Zoey, but he wouldn't continue to bug me about her and this would be the last time he'd email me, but to please keep him in mind. I emailed him explaining all about Zoey's "illness" and he said he would definitely love to have her with him. I called Debbie saying that before we put her down, to try this fantastic home in Florida. I told Debbie all about the home and arrangements were made. Debbie got Zoey a ride down to Georgia, and Zoey got a ride down to Florida with this mans Father who was driving in from Montana for the winter. It all worked out and on Zoey's 6th birthday, she arrived at the wonderful home of Jonathan Hart on the sunny, sandy beach of Fort Pierce.

To Be Continued...

The Life & Times of Zoey - Part 4

The year 2004 was good, the year 2005 was just mind boggling, so onto the new year...2006.

The first 3 weeks in January saw Zoey and Amanda travel back down to do the Florida circuit, and although not as impressive as last years start, they won 6 BOB, two Group 1, and two Group 2. The following weekend was Missouri winning two more BOB, a Group 1 and a Group 3.

February is the month of the famous Westminster Kennel Club show in New York City, which is around the 14th, but the weekend before Zoey and Amanda were in NJ at the Boardwalk KC shows and they won 2 BOB and two Group 2. Westminster KC came and I was all excited as a bus load of my friends just happen to come in to NY to the show. Judge Dorothy Hutchinson sorted through a bunch of beautiful whippets but finally chose as her Best of Breed, 2005's #1 Whippet Zoey. I just about died on the spot. After many interviews and pictures from the local Morning Call paper, Zoey was resting up for her debut in the famed WKC Groups which are shown live on TV. Zoey put on the performance of a lifetime and made the cut, then was pulled out FIRST, but ended up placing 4th cause the judge picked the dogs 4th to 1st. When she was pulled out first I screamed so loud I think they heard me all the way in February ended with another 3 BOB, a Group 2 and a Group 3.

March was another great month as Zoey won another 11 BOB, 3 Group 1, a Group 3, a Group 4, along with 2 more Best In Shows.

April started off again with a bang, 6 more BOB, a Group 1, two Group 3 and yet another Best In Show. The day of the 15th, Zoey went down with shooting diahrrea at the show. She was never sick a day in her adult life, and the following days she started becoming very lethargic and started running an extremely high fever, 103+. She didn't want to get out of bed or go outside, so she was off to the vets. The vet did all kind of bloodwork, but found nothing. Zoey did eventually get better for the National Specialty which was held the end of April in Boston, MA, and she looked awesome and although she didn't make the cut in the Breed ring, she showed like the star she was. She and Amanda were the most beautiful pair in the ring as the picture above shows.

The first weekend in May were the Bucks & Trenton Shows, and she won both breeds that weekend and another Group 1. This was Zoey's last show where she won anything as her back end was getting very weak.

Over the month of May she kind of held her own, but she'd have her bouts of falling over. Come the Eastern Specialty in June ( I didn't make it that year), she was shown for the very last time.

Zoey's career totals from year 2002 to 6/2006

In The US

18 - All Breed Best In Show

1 - All Breed Puppy Best In Show

3 - Specialty Best In Show

182 - Best of Breed (1 @ 2006 Westminster KC)

10 - Best of Opposite Sex

5 - Award of Merits (1 @ 2005 AWC National)

76 - Group 1

32 - Group 2

18 - Group 3

10 - Group 4 (1 @ 2006 Westminster KC)

In Canada

1 - All Breed Best In Show

1 - All Breed Puppy Best In Show

1 - Specialty Best In Show2003 Hound of the Year

To Be Continued...

The Life & Times of Zoey - Part 3

Now we come to the 2nd half of 2005.

The beginning of July she stayed in Maryland and picked up another 3 BOB, a Group 1, Group 2 and another Best In Show. The rest of July was Missouri, Texas and Ohio where she garnered 9 more BOB, five Group 1, one Group 2, a Group 3 and two Group 4. The end of July they flew to the Western Sighthound Combined Specialties where she was awarded two BOB, and a Group 1 over 500 other hounds.

August was a light month as she was only shown 3 weekends. The first weekend in Ohio at the Mid-West weekend garnered 2 BOB, a Group 2 and an Award of Merit at the Specialty. Onto New York with 3 more BOB and a Group 2. The last weekend of August was in Georgia and won 3 BOB, two Group 1, and a Group 2.

September Zoey and Amanda started in New Jersey winning 3 BOB and two Group 1. Next were the NJ/NY shows winning 2 BOB and a Group 2, then onto Ohio winning 2 BOB, two Group 1 and another Best In Show, and the following weekend to the Southern Specialty weekend in Georgia, and what a weekend it was. Three Best of Breeds, 2 Specialty Best In Shows, two Group 1, and an All-Breed Best In Show. And I have it all on DVD thanks to Ralph & Dianne Chiucchi who video taped it especially for me. I thank you both from the bottom of my heart.

October was another light month, but Zoey won 8 more BOB, a Group 1, three Group 2, a Group 3 and a Group 4.

This took us into November which was another full schedule month. Starting in Pennsylvania close to me, Zoey won 3 BOB, three Group 1 and another Best In Show which I went to that day and actually saw her with my own eyes do this. Tyler even got in on the BIS picture. The following weekend was Michigan where she won 3 more BOB, two Group 1 along with a Best In Show, and a Group 2. The next two weekends were Ohio and MD accumulating another 6 BOB, a Group 1, two Group 2 and a Group 3.

December, the last month of this very long yearly campaign. Only shown these two weekends in December, she was in North Carolina on the 9th, 10th and 11th, and in Illinois on the 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th. Out of these final 8 shows Zoey was BOB every day, and was Group 1 seven of the 8 days, and won 3 MORE BEST IN SHOWS to complete the year!!!!!!!!!!!

Zoey's record 1/1/05 - 12/31/05 is as follows:

12 – All Breed Best In Shows
2 - Specialty Best In Show
114 – Best of Breeds
4 – Best of Opposite Sex
4 – Award of Merit (1 @ Westminster)
1 – National Select Award of Merit
55 – Group 1
23 – Group 2
8– Group 3
7 – Group 4

The team of Zoey and Amanda ended the year #1 Whippet All Systems, #3 Hound and #25 amongst all breeds in the country!!!!!

What a thrilling ride it was, waiting at home for Amanda's phone calls to see how my baby was doing. I lived every moment with them on the road thanks to Amanda calling me after every show (well sometimes I called her). It was a celebratory Christmas 2005 for sure.

To Be Continued...

The Life & Times of Zoey - Part 2

Where were we??? Oh yeah, I remember, 2003. By the end of 2003, Zoey along with new handler Amanda Giles, became a multiple group winner and placer in both the US and Canada.

Onto the year 2004. Zoey was not shown much until June. The Eastern Specialty was being judged by breeder/judge Tracy Hite (Tivio). Zoey and Amanda had now become quite the team, and Amanda was even starting to like Judge Tracy Hite found Zoey amongst all the other beautiful champions, and awarded her Best of Breed. It was a moment I have frozen in time in my memory. Zoey and Amanda went on to amass the following record in 2004 to become #5 Whippet:
3 - All Breed BIS
1 - Specialty BIS
1 - Specialty Award of Merit
29 - BOB
5 - BOS
11 - Group 1
5 - Group 2
2 - Group 3
1 - Group 4

The year 2005 saw Zoey & Amanda win 2 BOB, a Group 1 and a Group 2 in Florida their first weekend out in January, and they never looked back. Continuing on with 7 more BOB's, 2 more Group 1, and 2 more Group 2 took us to the end of January, and #1 Whippet in Breed and All-Breed.

She took a few weeks off until the Westminster Kennel Club on February 15th, and was awarded an Award of Merit. Until the end of February, Zoey was awarded 5 BOB, two Group 1, one Group 2 and two Group 4.

In March, Amanda and Zoey traveled to the shows in Tennessee, Kentucky and Texas accumulating a total of 8 BOB, three Group1, two Group 2 and three Group 3, along with another Award of Merit in KY.

April 2005 was the National Specialty in Arizona, Zoey and Amanda was given another Award of Merit. I was thrilled with this AOM under legendary judge Annie Rogers Clark. Another 6 BOB, three Group 1, one Group 2, one Group 3, and one Group 4 took us to the end of April.

Shown every weekend in May, Amanda and Zoey traveled from Pennsylvania to Mississippi winning 6 BOB, two Group 1, a Group 2 and a Group 3. The following weekend they traveled to Ohio where judges Ralph Lemcke and J. D. Jones found Zoey on back to back days for back to back Best In Shows. On to the New Jersey shows with 5 more BOB, three Group 1 and a Group 2 took us to the end of May.

June was another full month of travel from North Carolina, to Virginia, to Pennsylvania to Indiana where she picked up another BIS and ending in Maryland. Totals include 13 BOB, 9 Group 1 and three Group 3 to go along with her BIS. Half-way through 2005 Zoey was still #1 Whippet All-Systems.

To Be Continued...

The Life & Times of Zoey - Part 1

Zoey was born on November 18, 2001. From day 1 Zoey was a standout in a litter of 10. As soon as her eyes opened at 2-1/2 weeks, she was out of the swimming pool. Even as a baby she always had that "look at me" attitude, was silly as could be, and would do little leapies even as a youngster. She is sired by my beautiful boy Jimmy-George and her mother is my gorgeous girl Penny who is doubled up on Luke, and if anyone knows me knows Luke is my alltime favorite Whippet, so I was extremely excited to get a Luke look-alike.

So on a cool day in late February 2002, I packed up a few of my kids, along with Zoey, and went to Sporting Field kennels in Virginia for a day or two. I got there and put my kids out in a run. I went to find Debbie so I could drag her to the kennel to show off the Luke-alike I was so very proud of. Upon finding Debbie, I think in the cow barn, we mucked some stalls and fed some cows. I was like, "let's go look at my dogs, you have to see my new puppy". Well we started working our way up to the kennel, and got detoured along the way doing other things like switching dogs from kennel to exercise yard, scooping poop and filling water buckets for the dogs out in the yard runs. This was all amongst many phone calls Debbie got on her cell phone.

We were finally up inside the kennel, and I was ushering her out the front door to the one run along the driveway where Zoey was. She got another phone call, and answered it and talked while walking out with me. Upon reaching the outside and turning to look at my dogs, Zoey was trotting back and forth, and Debbie's jaw just dropped. She said to whomever she was talking on the phone to, "Uh, I'll have to call you back". She hung up and looked at me and said, "she is the most beautiful Whippet I've seen since Luke". My heart soared, I knew I had a good one to show, and I got great reviews from my mentor and friend.

After talking about Zoey's bloodlines a bit we went to lunch. We were eating our lunch, discussing dogs, pedigrees and me grinning ear to ear when we talked about Zoey. Debbie asked me if I would consider letting Zoey there at Sporting Fields so she could get her ready for the Eastern Specialty coming in June, as the judge should love her. Then we got into how she was that good that she would be a great Special someday, we'd get some backing, and she would show/special her at the shows. It was gut-wrenching decision I had to make in leaving my gorgeous girl at Sporting Fields, but knew with the amount of shows I'd been making the past year or so, and with a 1 year old son at home knew I wouldn't make a lot of upcoming shows either, so I agreed. I cried on the way home from Debbie's house, as I missed her terribly, and I knew in my heart that she was gonna be something special. It's hard to say how I knew she was special, we all want to think we have the next "great one", but she had that extra something, even as a baby.

I called Debbie for daily updates on Zoey. She was on the road with Trent a lot, but took Zoey along with her to whatever show she went to. This was all part of her training/socializing, but actually Zoey never needed any socializing, she was the ultimate social butterfly since day 1.

Come time for the Eastern Specialty in June, Zoey was 7 months old and was ring ready. She ended up winning a very competitive 6-9 month puppy class, and went all the way to Reserve Winners Bitch under judge Bill Shelton. Dan Black happen to be at the Eastern that year, and saw Zoey in the ring, came up to Debbie and said, "I want to own that bitch". This was the best news ever, as he was the financial backer we needed for her career. I was ecstatic, to say the least!!!!

A few weeks later I traveled back to Virginia for the Shenandoah shows and Zoey was awarded her first point and went onto a Best Puppy in Show. I was over the moon. Zoey finished her championship before her first birthday with a Group 1 along the way and a second Best Puppy in Show, this time in Canada, all shown by Debbie. I was constantly bugging Debbie when she was gonna get her out specialing, but Zoey was kind of put on the back burner cause she was currently showing Trent and you can't special two dogs of the same breed at the same time.

Debbie made her daughter Amanda start showing Zoey. Amanda hated Zoey with a passion as she never listened, or came when called. Zoey was put away for a few months, then went up to Canada in July 2003 for the shows up there. Under the guidance of Amanda, Zoey won her first All-Breed BIS in Canada, the same day she won a SBIS at the Whippet Club of Eastern Canada. The following day she was awarded WB & BOW at the Whippet Club of Canada National Specialty. The 3rd day she won BOB & Group 2 at the All Hound Assn. of Canada show. All this was from the Open bitch class over BIS/SBIS Champions. Zoey went back to Canada the end of the year to show in what the Canadians call the Show of Shows. It is open to any dog that won a BIS in Canada, and she went on to win the breed and a Group 1. Zoey ended the year 2003 being Canada's Hound of the Year.

To Be Continued.....

Dog Showing in Canada

Well, I've just recently returned from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada where there were 3 all-breed shows, and the National Whippet Specialty. Vanna had a great time strutting her stuff, although the judges didn't find her worthy of any points, I got tons of nice compliments about her. Rio was only shown on Saturday at the National and the Sweeps. He ended up winning Best Opposite Sex in Sweeps, and I was quite proud of him. It was a stormy kind of day (no rain though) with distant thunder and whipping winds that made the caution tape flap and make tons of noise, which Rio absolutely hates. He was actually quite frightened of this all, but still managed to be good enough for this win.

I got to show a Scottish Deerhound puppy who is just gorgeous, but extremely tough to show. I think her handler should get paid double what she actually gets to show. I also showed her beautiful bitch Feather and she too is such a PITA to show. Lesley makes it look so easy when she shows them that everyone thinks its a

My friend Leila was to stay with me, but she decided to visit friends in Toronto and ended up staying with them for a few nights, so I hung out with my other friends Lesley & Jenny. Jenny lives in Canada, and Lesley lives in NY but was staying at Jenny's house, so I was graciously invited to Jenny's for dinner a few nights. She and her husband have a beautiful home, and her whippets are just as beautiful. We drank enough Bloody Marys, Beer, and Margaritas that my cooler was empty of all alcohol once returning

I had tons of fun, and look forward to my next trip to Canada.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Updated Jaycie/Riggins pups

Here are a few updated pics of the babies. They will be two weeks old on Wednesday.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tyler gets his yellow belt

After 3 months of hard work, Tyler was able to test for his yellow belt in Karate, actually it's Tae Kwon Do, a Korean form of Karate. He had a little problem with his 6 step sequence as he was adding two extra steps, but the instructor let him do it over (3 times a charm). He needed to do his first two forms Kuk Mu One & Kuk Mu Two which he did very well. He also needed to break a board and unfortunately he got a board with a big knot right in the middle, but after about 20 or 30 kicks, the board broke in half. Instructor Rich was very proud that he didn't get discouraged and kept kicking and kicking and kicking until it broke. So now it's time to watch out, and don't piss off the kid, as he'll kick your butt.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Jaycie/Riggins Puppies - 6/11/08

Well the long awaited Jaycie/Riggins pups made their debut on 6/11/08. She had a v-e-r-y long delivery and after a rough start, we ended up with 4 live puppies, all in 3 different shades of brindle and white. We had 3 beautiful boys, Ty, TC and Taylor, and 1 gorgeous girl, TinkerBell. All pups were named by my son Tyler (see where that theme is going?), and all are doing well. I'm very excited about these pups and look forward to them growing up.

Eastern Specialty 2008

The Eastern Whippet Specialty is held every year during the first weekend in June. It was a fantastic weekend for Eclipse and their relatives.

Friday at the Greater Philadelphia KC show, my new puppy Rio was awarded RWD and Best Puppy by judge Roberta Campbell and onto a Hound Group 4. Melissa's boy Hank won BOS in the Specialty Sweepstakes to his sister Feather under breeder/judge Chris Durance-Watkins.

Saturday, the Specialty day judge John Simm awarded Vanna...aka Daydream's Nights In White Satin, Winners Bitch, Best of Winners and BEST OF BREED from the Open class over BIS and Top 20 Winning whippets, then to top it all off she went Hound Group 3. It was a big decision for me to put an 18-1/2 month old bitch in the Open class, but I thought she looked mature enough. Was I ever surprised when judge Simm came over to me in the final lineup of Specials, bent over and said, "you're my Best of Breed". I just about died right then and there. It was a day I will treasure F-O-R-E-V-E-R!!! Thank you judge Simm.

Bucks/Trenton 2008

Highlights of the Bucks & Trenton shows:

- Cold, damp & rainy
- Dogs showed well regardless of weather
- Gloria needing to sleep sideways on bed due to some Feng Shui belief (she called it fung shoo)
- laughed and drank a lot

- nice day starting off with Mimosa's (champagne & orange juice) in the morning
- got Shelbi a little hiccuppy from the Mimosa's (lol)
- Hank went WD and BOS over specials
- Vanna and Steeler both showed well too

Overall a great trip due to spending time with good friends. Looking forward to next year.