Honour is a bit better today–she lost 4 lb this week, which she CANNOT afford, and the Zithromax upsets her stomach. So now that she can breathe a little mre easily she’s propped up on the recliner and is being fed pudding made with heavy cream, and scrambled eggs with cheese, and toast dripping with butter, and everything else I can think of. Guaranteed I’LL gain ten pounds; we’ll see how she does.
After sleeping for a few hours yesterday I finally got to sit down and watch Westminster. Here are my thoughts:
1) Lovely to see a harl Dane in the running. It was made especially nice for me because I know many of the dogs in his pedigree and had the privilege of meeting his great-grandfather, Willie (Ch. Amherst-Davisdane Roadrunner) shortly before Willie passed to his great reward. Willie has been a tremendously influential dog in harlequins, and it’s wonderful when that happens to a dog who was healthy, lived a long time, and was bred and owned by a person as lovely as his is. Small trivia point: If you’re in the Boston radio market and listen to WBZ, Walt Perkins (one of the sports guys) is a Dane breeder and owned some close relatives of the dog who won Breed. They always let Walt do the Westminster recaps and it’s because he’s an extremely knowledgable dog person as well as a nice guy.
2) When Stump won BIS I honestly broke down and cried. I know that every dog in Westminster has his or her own story or bit of poignant history, but Stump is not only a tremendous ambassador for his breed, he’s still sound and gorgeous at an age when many dogs can barely hitch around. I watched him show and fell in love with him when he was specialing six years ago; he is the reason I very nearly switched from Danes to Sussex instead of Danes to Cardigans. Sussex Spaniels are a very special breed and one of my absolute favorites; they are totally underappreciated and I have no idea why they are not better known. They are unfailingly polite, wonderful dogs with an incredible sense of personal dignity and a gentle silliness that is extremely endearing. I hope Stump brings more advocates to the breed and encourages more young breeders to get into Sussex; they are always on the verge of extinction and they desperately need talented and dedicated new breeders. The existing community of breeders is really great; very devoted to the breed and very involved in research and breed issues (one of the biggest problems is getting them pregnant and then keeping the puppies alive–there’s something hinky in the breed that makes puppies very slow to get going, and nobody knows quite why), very good in terms of rescue, etc.
Some of you know that I helped with a Sussex rescue a year ago, so I am one of the terribly few that has had the opportunity to see a Sussex Spaniel on my couch. I was thrilled to get him back to his breeder, who was terrific, and it made me even more in love with the breed.
3) Is it just me, or is movement getting a LOT better, especially in the short-legged terriers and the big dogs? Maybe it’s just because I love Charmin and Merci so much (the Sealyhams; they can move like wow), but the Dane could actually move this time, the Saint could move, the Scottie could move, the Chow could move… gives me hope for the future. For a while there it seemed like half the breeds were being judged on outline only and as soon as they were moved out of a stack they looked like marbles falling down a hill. The Neos still make me wince a little, and of course the GSDs are a whole post on their own, but I felt like there was a lot of nice sound dogs out there this time.