Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Goodbye Sammy

~ submitted by Tracy Thorleifson
On Monday I said goodbye to part of my family and one of my best friends. At 11.5 Sammy had developed severe orthopedic issues, front and rear, and could no longer stand, sit, or walk unassisted and would not eat except when I hand fed him. It was time. I spent much of the weekend and all day Monday either crying or denying. The vet came to my house and the end came quickly. It was, I suppose, a good death as such things go, but he is still gone.

One friend, veteran of many more losses than I, commented that at such times there is nothing unique to say. She is, of course, right. For all of us to live and to love dogs inevitably invites loss and grief, sooner or later. While there may be nothing unique to say, I am resisting the idea that my pain is not unique. It is my grief, my loss, my friend and constant companion who is gone – and Sammy was unique. The place in my heart that was his, was his alone. The individual that was Sammy is irreplaceable.

A trainer once aptly described Sam as a 220 amp dog in a 110 amp world. Endlessly enthusiastic and intense, Sammy lived and loved fiercely. He was my first show dog, my first AKC champion, my first obedience dog, my first Novice A title. Most improbably, he was my first (and likely only) High In Trial obedience dog, winning at the 2002 Briard National Specialty by qualifying when far better dogs NQ’ed. He was my entree to the dog community and many of my current friends were met through him.

Happiest when at my side – and always in the same room with me – Sammy and I had reached that stage in our relationship where we knew each others’ faults and no longer tried to change them. I accepted that he would bark long and loud if left outside, fence fight with the neighbor’s dog if allowed, and chase any cat who had the bad sense to be visible on our walks. He accepted that breakfast would inevitably be late on weekends, and that the younger dogs went to class while he stayed home. It was both comfortable and predictable. The crinkle of unwrapping cheese and the hiss of whipped cream in cans brought him running and steak or chicken for dinner meant excellent table scraps. He liked Brie cheese and pasta with pesto sauce. Baby gates were objects of suspicion and accorded great respect, while fireworks and thunder storms were endlessly terrifying. Even at 85 lbs and 27+ inches tall he thought he was a lap dog, and often spent evenings on the sofa next to me.

There will be other dogs. There are other dogs. Ellie, who is 9 and now practically perfect, is a constant comfort. At ten months, Griffey is still carving his own place in my heart. But they are not Sammy and even with their presence the house is quiet. The place next to my bed is empty and no dog lies beneath my desk as I type.
There is nothing unique to say yet everything about this loss is unique.  I miss. Right now I think I always will.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tyee Shows, B.C., Canada

submitted by Carol Wolfram  We had a great time up in Canada. There was a large Briard entry of 5 dogs!   Four of the five are pictured above - Griffey (left), Ricki and Ruckus (center) and Jojo (right).   De La Rossa Moravia Campanella "Ricki" (top left),  Crack A Joke Moravia Campanella "Ruckus" (2nd down left) and "Jojo" (3rd down left), an Aladax bitch, are all owned by Bonnie Judd of Aldergrove, B.C.   It was fun visiting with them and their owners. Helen Moulden brought her two Briards Dante and Aminta to visit with us. Iris Bergen and her parents were there and brought their Briard Felix by to visit and everybody enjoyed hanging around just to talk Briards.     I was kept quite busy with both Bijou All Flash No Cash "Tessa" (pictured at Mill Bay) and Bijou Educated Guess "Griffey" (with judge). Whew, I don't think I have ever run around the ring so many times before. Griffey was quite the little star in the breed ring. He showed well in the classes for both myself and Tracy. Then I had the pleasure of running him around in the adult groups every day as well as two days of puppy groups and puppy Best in Show. He just kept going into the ring again and again. What a trouper he was. I was also very happy with how well Tessa did in obedience plus of course the fact that she finished her Canadian Championship. She earned two titles up there (Ch and CD) and we will go back up for more obedience trials in the future.  The last picture is of the mother and son (Tessa and Griffey) on the dock across from the hotel where we stayed, a lovely little park right across the street!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Mother's Day Puppies!

Ch. Nightwind's Instant Winner - "Ivan" (OFA Good, Thyroid normal) X Radieux's And The Winner Is HSAs - "Emmy" (pointed, OFA Excellent, Thyroid normal).  This was a frozen semen breeding so Gail Oneal is especially happy to report that 9 puppies were born Mother's Day: 2 boys and 7 girls.   PNWBC members will recall that Ivan was owned by Pat and Sandy Parsons and shown to his championship by Gail in the late 90's. Gail may be contacted via email at

Road Trip

Griffey (left), Tessa (center) and Nash (right) relax after playing fetch.  Tessa and her son Griffey stopped by to visit Nash and stretch their legs on the way to catch the Black Ball Ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria, Canada.