Perception vs. Reality

“The life you see this very moment isn’t necessarily the life of your future. You might be viewing things through the eyes of your fears, limitations and false assumptions. Once you clean up the stained glass window you see the world through, guess what? A whole new set of possibilities appear. Remember, we see the world not as it is but as we are. That idea changed my life.”Robin Sharma

 The past two months have been extremely emotional ones for me.   There have been highs and lows, successes and failures, joy and profound sadness.   I love Robin Sharma’s discussions on stained glass windows – that what one person sees is not necessarily what another does when looking at the same item or event, because we each look at it through a window coloured by our life experiences and events.   Where one person might say something is horrible, another says it is beautiful, and that is okay – each is putting it into their own context.

The death of Robin Williams yesterday has opened a new well of feelings, and a renewed need to really look at the joys and successes in life.  

Over the past two weeks, I did a lot of traveling and spent a lot of time in the company of the dogs.  I knew that this was Dolly’s last outing as a special, but really didn’t announce it, just kept it to myself, lest I be accused of trying to influence the results.  Only after our last showing on Friday night, did I celebrate her career as I posted in previous blog post “Wasn’t that a party?”

So, the results of the shows we attended weren’t “SPECTACULAR”, but in retrospect they were pretty darned great!!   Now that I have had time to digest it all, the kids were consistently “in the ribbons”, and the more I think about that, the more I realize that really, that result almost says more than had they been spectacular.

The Canadian specialty, although I had hired a handler, he unfortunately got stuck in another ring, and didn’t make it for specials.  Would the results have been different? Who knows.  But with a fairly incompetent breeder-owner-handler Dolly still managed to win the Award of Merit, and I’m actually checking with CKC on whether she should have also had the Select.   That isn’t too shabby for a 7 year old bitch, who has had 3 litters!

At the first Western Reserve specialty Dolly was Select bitch.  Again, given the excellent quality of the entry, I am pretty proud of my girl for that achievement.  Did she beat the #1 Cardigan in the country? No, but with 20+ specials in the ring I was pretty happy! 

Patrick had an amazing run for his first outings.  After his UKC successes, he was Best of Opposite Sex in the Puppy sweepstakes to an older puppy at the Canadian National. 

patrick cccc

At the Western Reserve Specialties and associated shows, he was Winners Dog at the first specialty, Reserve Winners at the second specialty and supported entry, and Best of Winners at the final all breed show!  Two four point majors his first weekend in the U.S.!

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Patrick’s brother Sean, also placed very respectably placing 2nd or 3rd in every show.  This is a shot of this duo a couple of weeks ago.

sean

Duffy, had a blast, but is suffering from teenage boy ganglies!  He reminds me of his mother at this age, and hopefully he will come into himself just as beautifully.  The structure is there, he just needs some body around the framework! :D

It wasn’t Cara’s weekend to shine – but that’s okay.  Cara is a bitch you love or  you hate and I still love her despite her brattiness.  Only one token bark this year, no grabbing the leash and barking at Tim all the way around the ring!

And then there was the Dragoon.   I’m very proud of how he did!

 Dragoon CWCCWRDragoon was Select 3 of the 4 days, and 1st Award of Merit on the fourth.   At Thursday’s specialty he was pulled out behind Zorro, a grand 14 year old special who we have watched grow up over the years with his former Junior Handler Philip Myers.  There wasn’t a dry eye in the house when this pair won the specialty!  Congratulations to the Myers family, Tim & Tracie, Stephanie Hoyer and Bob Caldwell who were all involved in his creation and development!  It was a beautiful moment, and I hope that my guys will still look that good at that age!

Interesting to note that Zorro’s dad, Oban, is also Patrick’s father, so together with Dolly and Dragoon’s Select awards and Patrick’s Winners Dog, it was all in the family!

On the second day of the specialty the dog winners were Jacque and Don Glenn’s Oscar (a red boy I adore) and Cindy Bossi’s Leo (another boy I hope to use in the future).  Lovely males that there was no shame to be behind in the line up.

On the third day another nice young male, Keats, owned and bred by the Beshau family and Nancy Willoughby was the breed winner, and on the last day Cracker, a male bred the Anthonys.  

Looking at it in retrospect, although he never won the top male prize, Dragoon was consistently #2 or #3, while the winner each day changed.  I am pretty pleased about that also.  It may not garner him points in the rankings, but it definitely felt good that he was always in that final line up!

So while the reality is, no we didn’t win the breed at any of the specialty shows, my perception is that we still had a very good showing.  Maybe if my dogs and I were consistently top contenders I wouldn’t feel the same about being the bridesmaid, but right now that spot feels pretty good!

 

 

Wasn’t that a party?

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This has been quite the week, and I can finally get around to updating the blog and dedicating this post to my very special girl Dolly.   I made a decision about a month ago, that this week would be Dolly’s last week of showing as a “special” (a champion), in shows.  She is 7, she is a mother of 19, wonderful puppies, and I arranged to hopefully send her out with a bang, showing her at three specialties the last week of her career.

Last week we travelled to Calgary, Alberta to show at the Alberta Kennel Club shows, and the Canadian National Specialty.   Dolly placed Best of Opposite Sex or Select in the 4 all breed shows, and at the Canadian National was Award of Merit, Best Brood Bitch, Best Veteran and Best Brace with her son Patrick.

Unfortunately the photo taken there was so ugly, I didn’t purchase it – so we have nothing to share from that weekend.

We then travelled down to Ohio, for the CWCCWR specialties where there were more dogs in the specials class alone than there were total entries at the Canadian National.   On Thursday, under judge Emily Fish Barnhart, Dolly and Dragoon were Select Dog and Select Bitch – an amazing end to her specials career.   

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In addition to this her son Patrick (Yasashiikuma I Am Not a Number) was Winners Dog the same day.

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On Saturday night, I posted an invitation and invited people at the show grounds to “Dolly’s Retirement Party”.

While she didn’t “go out with a bang” as I would have hoped she had a very respectable week of showing as an end to what I can only call a phenomenal show career.

 

Seven years ago I could never have imagined what a wild ride this little puppy would drag me along on at the end of her leash!

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She finished her Canadian Championship easily in 3 weekends including going Best Of Winners at the booster preceding the specialty in 2008 in her underwear!  What a little tube she was!

Three days later, at the CWCCWR specialty in August 2008, she was Reserve Winners bitch under Gayle Garvin.

Just after this, I lost Chris, and disappeared from the show scene for 6 months coming back out at the CWCCA National specialty in Topeka KS, April 2009.  Despite the early end to our show season, Chip still ended up as #1 Cardigan in Canada that year, and Dolly as #5.

Dolly’s show career kicked into high gear with her Best of Winners Award for 5 points at the specialty under Breeder Judge Jon Kimes, and the following day Winners Bitch at the Three Trails Regional Specialty under Gayle Garvin for another 5 points.

Dolly began accumulating group placings in Canada, and in September was awarded an All-Breed Best in Show by Cheryl Myers-Egerton, the first Canadian bred bitch to achieve this award, and she did it in her underwear!

 

This qualified Dolly for an invitation to the Show of Shows in November 2009, where she again made history as the first Cardigan to even place in the group, placing 2nd behind the current #1 herding dog in the country.

In 2010 we returned to the US for another Natrional Specialty, where she was again awarded Winners Bitch to finish her US Championship with 3 5 point majors.

In August 2010 Dolly headed out west for the Canadian National Specialty – and won Best in Specialty!  This win also gave her the final qualification for her Canadian Grand Championship Excellent.  To date she is still the only GCH EX Cardigan.

Following this in July 2010, Dolly went down to the US for a short visit with Debbie and Katie Brooks to pursue her American Grand Championship also.   For the first two weekends she was undefeated, and would have completed the requirements the third weekend except for the final judge.    So she went into the CWCCWR specialty in August 2010 needing that last point.

 

Instead she picked up 5 points, and Select bitch under judge Simon Parsons, from the UK!  This made her the first American Grand Champion bitch!  And she is still the only Dual Grand Champion!

Next on her agenda was the Chesapeake Cardigan Corgi specialty in October 2010.

 

Dolly achieved a specialty Best of Breed  in the US with her incompetent breeder/owner/handler on the other end of the lead!   After this she went into the Group with Howard Huber, and came out with a group 3.

April 2011 – we once again headed south for the CWCCA National – this time in Houston under James Reynolds.

 

At this show, Dolly was 3 weeks pregnant with her first litter – the Double D puppies – Dash (Dare to Dream Big), Darren (Double Dare), Draco (Dragon Defender), Justin (Dancehall Doctor) are all Champions at this time.  Darby, Thor, and Bunny were all placed as pets, and Daisy was unfortunately placed with a friend who abused my trust.

In December 2011 Dolly and I travelled to Florida for the Eukanuba Invitational.  At this show Lois Demers handled her to the 1st Award of Excellence.

 

Then in March of 2012, I made the trip over to the UK for Crufts with Dolly and Dragoon to fulfill a bucket list item – to show at Crufts.  Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to handle her to Reserve CC under breeder judge Kim Neilsen.

In April of 2012 we headed to the US again for the CWCCA specialty and Dolly won an Award of Merit

Dolly CWCCA 2012

 

Shortly afterwards Dolly was bred for her second “lit” (not a full litter) resulting in my beautiful Cara.

In April 2013 we headed down to Arizona for the CWCCA National and Dolly brought home Runner up Brindle Bitch in the Megan, as well as Brace.

At the end of the year she had the Spy litter, and was not quite back into “fighting shape” at the 2014 National.  However her kids did her proud and she brought home Best Brood Bitch

Which brings us to this weekend, and Dolly’s party. :)

Dolly and I would like to thank everyone who stopped by to share in cake, drinks and treats.   Dolly herself would like to especially thank those who slipped her cheese, and meat snacks :)   Here are a few photos from Saturday afternoon.  Thank you all for your support of us over the years.   As the Irish Rovers sang “Tell me, me oh me oh my,
Wasn’t that a party?”

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Dolly enjoying a tiny corner of her cake!

Dolly enjoying a tiny corner of her cake!

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Pruning the tree helps it develop stronger

Last weekend I wrote about my history from the beginning and how I went from my first champion to Dragoon and Savannah.   The tree, however, did not grow in  totally straight. There were many twists, turns  and some branches needed to be pruned off in order to develop a healthy line of dogs

So going back to the third generation, I had a nice girl named Abbey (Yasashiikuma Cinnamon Heart) that was the source of another branch of the family tree.

Abbey was bred twice to Hunter.   

judodkcThe first litter, born on the first night of Hannukah, was my Hannukah litter.   In this litter were two puppies I allowed friends to co-own, paying nothing for them.   Judith, pictured above, and Mike.  Unfortunately the co-owners of Judith divorced, and the husband decided he wanted her (out of spite) and I lost her in a court battle, getting paid less than I had expended on show entries and handling.  Apparently later he met a new girlfriend who didn’t like the dog and left her with his ex-wife, of course now spayed.   Mike’s co-owner took him to Ireland, and then dumped him.  Thankfully I did hear where he ended up and I was informed when he passed on a short while ago

The repeat of the litter, a year later was the Spice Litter.

megan

Megan was a pretty girl with a lot of very nice attributes.   The youngest in a houseful of adult dogs she believed she was the princess until the arrival of her half-sister Gale a few months later.   Megan had a very short and satisfying road to her championship.  When I had asked others if there would be competition at the Orangeville show, I was told, “Oh no, the judges suck.  But we will be entering the Credit Valley show the next weekend”.  So I decided to enter Megan just for the ring practice, after all entries were only $9 a day back then!  To my surprise there were 8 other class dogs and bitches entered, and by going Best of Winners all three days she was at 9 points.  Only one point from her championship!  The next weekend, all that was entered was one special.  I thought it impossible, but we beat the special for the last point and Megan finished her championship!

Megan had a litter in 2003 sired by Am/Cdn Ch Phi-Vestavia Uriel of Careleon.   Sabra was from my “Liqueur Litter” and finished quite quickly.  She was a substantial bitch, with a pretty head, but needed a better front, and to be lower stationed.   

Sabra died suddenly while I was at a conference.   Not knowing what had killed her I had an autopsy done at Guelph, and learned more than I wanted to know about Chylothorax.  Sabra had one litter sired by Harry Potter and the girl I kept from that was Jaime, Yasashiikuma Cerydwen Sorceres.  (Yes, one S due to space limitations).

Jaime was a very pretty girl, and I had great hopes for her.   She had passed all her health clearancs with flying colours, I had plans to bred her, and then disaster struck.   In July 2009, Jaime also developed Chylothorax.  This time I knew the warning signs, and with great expense and a lot of praying, she came through it.  You can read about that time by clicking here.  Mother and daughter both having this was too much to ignore, so Jaime was spayed and that branch of the family tree was truncated  Happily, Jaime is in an absolutely wonderful pet home where they absolutely adore her and is doing well.

Megan’s second litter, born in 2004 was sired by Am/Cdn. Ch. McLea’s Admiral.   This was my Ice litter and the girl I kept was Cinder (CH. Yasashiikuma Fire and Ice)

Cinder was a very pretty girl with lovely movement, and finished quite quickly by 9 months old.   She had one litter for me – the Fire Crew born in 2008 and sired by Merrymoon Noblestar Jacob.   From this breeding there were two very nice puppies who did very well.

Ch. Yasashiikuma Burning Issue (Chief) is owned by Norman Dale of BC and was shown to his championship by Norm’s daughter.   On the road to his championship she earned a Group 3 with him, and was Best of Winners at the Canadian National in 2010. Not too shabby for her first show dog!

And the girl that I kept was Ember, (Ch. Yasashiikuma Slow Burn) who finished in a single weekend at the London shows, even defeating Dolly for the breed one day!   There was so much that I loved about this girl and would have loved to have carried on with her.  Unfortunately her hips were not good enough for me to carry on with, so another branch of the tree was truncated, and Ember lives with her half brother in Chicago.

Megan did have one more litter, unplanned by me, sired by her 9 month old nephew Spud.   That was my “loose ladies” litter, and they were all placed in pet homes.

So, unfortuantely, although there were some very nice puppies produced by this branch of the family tree, unfortunately none of these lines have been perpetuated, and Chief is my only option to carry on with.

For the next installment, I will go into the detail on the other two branches of the tree – the legacies of Gale and Libby.

 

 

A Historical look at how far I’ve come

I belong to a number of social networking groups where discussion takes place about breeding dogs, breeding better dogs, canine structure, rearing, etc.

One of the lament’s that is heard over and over again is that it is impossible to buy a good quality show dog.   After my latest fiasco (see the blog post Uterus for Rent) I have become one of those breeders who is not going to sell my show dogs outright any more.   On the breeder’s side of the coin, there is the feeling that purchasers want the instant gratification of purchasing a specialty winning top ranking dog, and are not willing to work their way through the ranks and put in the decades of hard work to develop a line that is recognizable as their own.  I can’t think of a single instance where a Cardigan person I have regarded as a mentor, has achieved their successes with a dog they have purchased.  They have all started with a “decent” dog, and through judicious breeding, achieved their success on their own.   It may take a decade or two to get there, but how do you know where you are going if you don’t know where you have been?

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Downstairs in my rec room, I have what I call my “wall of fame” or pictorial pedigree.   On it is every generation, finishing their championship, and when I feel frustrated by the slow progress, I can look back at it -and see just how far I have come, or maybe where I didn’t fix something I should have.  

But with this blog post I will detail how I went, in six generations,

From this: To this:
penny

Penny – New Champion – November 1991

Dragoon - Gr 1 - McKinley KC

Dragoon – Gr 1 – McKinle

:

In the beginning

In 1985 I purchased my first “show dog” – an Akita named Ben.  That is where the kennel name comes from (it means Gentle Bear in Japanese).   I never bred a  litter of Akitas, and Ben only had one oops litter, which did not survive.   When he attacked my daughter severely in a totally unprovoked attack, I wanted a breed known for gentleness, and that is where then Alanna my first wolfhound came into the house.   Two months later Penny joined the household. 

As a show dog, I now realize that Penny left a lot to be desired, but she had a wonderful personality, was extremely intelligent and did quite a bit of movie and advertising work.  For those interested her part in a Shining Time Station special is the subject of a blog post “Star Quality“.    She loved flyball and was just a gutsy little great dog.    Twenty five years later, if a dog of Penny’s conformation showed up in one of my litters, I would place it as a pet, but if I had I would not be where I am now.

F1 – The first generation

 

penny AM CDN CH TESSARACTS PETE OF SANTANA - PETER - Copy
 Cdn. Ch. Finnshavn Disglaircopy Ceinoig  Am/Cdn Ch. Tesseract’s Pete of Santana
 Rudy1  candy

This generation produced two Canadian Champions – Ch. Yasashiikuma Rudolph Valentino (Rudolph) and Ch Yasasshiikuma Heart of Gold (Candy).   Both had improved toplines and rear assemblies over their mother.  Both still had the short upper arm and lack of prosternum.  The both still had far too much daylight under them.

 

F2 – The second generation

 

candy Tesseract Pete of Santana son -
Cdn. Ch. Yasashiikuma Heart of Gold Ch. Markwell’s Matthew Cuthbert

abbeyCdn. CH. Yasashiikuma Cinnamon Heart (Abbey)

 brandyCdn. CH. Yasashiikuma Heartbreak Kid (Brandy)

This half-brother/half-sister breeding did a lot to set better toplines, body proportions, and begin me on the road to developing the the “type” that I had pictured in my mind.  On Abbey the upper arm was still short but she was definitely lower stationed than the previous generation.  She was bred twice to Hunter and there were several nice puppies that I went forward with that are not part of this branch of the family tree, so I have excluded them.  For the purpose of this pedigree, Brandy is the dog I went forward with.

 

F3 – The Third generation

 

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Cdn. Ch. Yasashiikuma Heartbreak Kid Phi-Vestavia Storm of Yasashiikuma

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Cdn. Ch. Yasashiikuma Weetartan Sedalia (Ruby)

About the time the Heart litter was born, I also brought into the house Gale, a daughter of Hunter and Gloria (Phi-Vestavia Good Gracious).   Gale hated showing and had the nickname of “Pukey Puppy” because she threw up every time she went in the car (which she thankfully FINALLY outgrew), but she became a very important part of my breeding program is behind every dog in the house today.   Gale was bred to Brandy, and produced a “tribute litter’ to my late partner Bill.   Ruby was the bitch I kept from that  litter.   As you can see this is much more the style of dog I have today, although she could have used more bone.

F4 – The Fourth Generation

 

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This generation was again a line breeding when I took Ruby back to her grandfather  Hunter.   The purpose of this breeding was again to “cement” the improvements I had made.

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This breeding produced three lovely littermates – Jade, Tiger and Topaz, all shown here at the Woodstock, Ontario shows.  Jade finished her championship first, and moved up to specials, which allowed this photo of Best of  Breed, Winners Dog and Best of Winners to be taken.  As you can see the breeding produced consistent toplines, rears, improved fronts. There is no question that these three were litter mates.

F6 – The Vision realized

 

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AM GCH HEART OF GOLD POWER PLAY CDN CH. YASASHIIKUMA IMPERIAL JADE

 

Dragoon - Gr 1 - McKinley KC

Dragoon – Gr 1 – McKinley KC

Am GCH (Bronze), CDN, UK, FR, NED, LUX CH YASASHIIKUMA LEST WE FORGET (DRAGOON)

So the final step was a line breeding for which I selected Powell (Am GCH Heat of Gold Power Play.    The results was my multi-champion Dragoon, currently sitting as #7 in the US with limited showing.   

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Since Dragoon was a singleton, I repeated the breeding two years later.  The pick male from that litter is Baden, Yasashiikuma XIV K Scout’s Honor owned by Sherri Hurst and Charlotte Lamont.  Baden was Reserve Winners Dog from the 6-9 puppy class at the CWCCA National Specialty in 2013Savannah Win 2014-page-001And the girl I have kept from that litter is Savannah (Am. Ch Yasashiikuma Savannah Smiles) shown here finishing with Barb Peterson who took her home to finish for me with 4 US majors. 

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But the buck has not stopped here.  Dragoon has gone on to produce a lovely son for Al  & Irene Driver – ALD Speed Racer – who is currently sitting one spot ahead of his dad in the ratings.   

So, I think this proves, with hard work, vision and patience, it can be done.  You don’t need to start with excellence, you can create it yourself.