It is that time of year when we have birthdays coming fast and furious. The Q litter just turned six years old the end of January, and spring will bring with it birthdays for Cash in April, and the Dream Team in May. Also in April, granddaughter Arson will celebrate her second birthday.
Birthdays always make one think, and, with the discussion of temperament, I have been pondering this breeding thing. . . . Let me start where it started with us. That is, with a small stinky bundle of brown and black that came to us from Oregon one July day. That was a day that literally changed my life. The small creature who came out of that crate and sat in my friend Beth's lap on the long drive from Washington, DC, to Harrisonburg contentedly chewing on her buttons (and protesting mightily when returned to her crate) was to become BOSS Select CH Kolari Landmark Make It So, HIC, CGC, CDâ€”known to her friends as â€śMolly.â€ť
Molly grew up with Shelties (Robin is still appalled at what a messy creature that was who lived with her in her X-pen and routinely dumped the water and rumpled up the bedding). She thought she was a Sheltie for the longest time! I remember taking her to a Sheltie match in the DC area where she was in an x-pen near the winding roads through the park. When I looked up from grooming, I saw a car stopped near her. The occupants asked whose dog she was. When I claimed her, they told me that their daughter had Belgians, and that this puppy was absolutely gorgeous! This was the first inkling I had that maybe this brown kid was something special! All I knew was that she didn't look like any other of the few Tervs I had ever seen!
Molly's introduction to the dog show world came when she was just six months old. We trekked to Maryland for a show in what you folks who live here know is a crowded, noisy building. Molly was in heaven! There were people everywhere, and all sorts of smells and sights for a country puppy to enjoy. She first grabbed the attention of the Terv world not by her presence in the ring, however, but by her actions! Outside the ring, I threw a piece of paper into the steward's trashcan. Nothing would do but that the diligent Molly get in there and retrieve that paper for Momâ€”and also inspect the interesting contents of the can. Before I knew what was going on, puppy was wearing the can, and the world had met Molly. I can't tell you that Molly and I won that day. It was all over so fast that I still don't know precisely who won (but I do know that Alleyne told me just a few months ago that her bitch who won that day never did finish. . .). It was an auspicious beginning, however. Faye Dickens was there and had to know more about this brash puppy. When shown her pedigree, she was somewhat amazed. There were â€śold dogs&rdqup; on it not even in her database! Her assessment was that â€śsometimes those old dogs have a lot to offer.â€ť The other outcome of this show was that Molly and Terry met again.
Terry was our Sheltie handler. Shelties were, and still are, pretty much a handler breed. There are a few owner-handlers who do well, but unless one is an expert groomer and has ballet dancer grace, putting a nice dog out with a handler saves time and money. Terry and her husband had seen Molly as a baby puppy and even then announced that although they knew nothing about the breed, this was one of the soundest puppies (mentally and physically) they had ever seen.
The next thing I knew, Molly was headed for North Carolina with Terry. I assumed that Tervs were like Shelties and gave in to her pleadings to be allowed to show the puppy. I had to laugh at her description of getting Molly ready for the ring that first time. Since they really did know nothing about the breed, one of them would wander by the other Belgian setups and observe the grooming. Then they would go back and do the same to their charge. Terry said she had to resist the urge to trim the long hair out of Molly's ears (but was delighted that these ears were supposed to be prick!). The team learned fast. Molly's first time in the ring with them (and her second time ever) garnered her a five-point major. The next day it was a repeat for four points. Poor Rocky, our Sheltie, was in the shadow of greatness (he finally did finishâ€”but long after that Terv upstart)!
Terry asked if she could take Molly with her on their Florida tour, and, still not realizing the fun of handling my own dog, I sent her. When she came back, she had added that CH in front of her name (at the tender age of 8 months) and had never been defeated (other that that first timeâ€“with me!). What rankled was that I never saw my girl show in the classes!
Her career after that was almost meteoric. Before she was three years old, she was ranked the number one bitch in the country. She was Select at her first Belgian Gala under judge Robert Pollet, and BOS at the first Berkshire Independent Specialty. She and her new handler, Larry, were seen in many groups and brought home their share of the glory. Had it not been for the constant presence of Jimmy Moses and Mystique, there is little doubt that she would have added and BIS to her name.
Along the way, we met Bernadine Paull of Hi Time kennels. She was quite intrigued by this granddaughter of her C-Sam. One of her pronouncements, which time alone will prove to be true, is that outstanding as Molly's show career was, she will be known primarily as a producer. This is where you kids and grandkids come in.
Molly entered the whelping box rather late in her career. She was already four years old when her first litter by BIS Select CH Tokeens Fyre-N-Ice, CD, TT, was born. This was also the first litter for Ice, and from that litter of seven have come six American Champions, a Canadian CH, a HIT, a group winner, several group placers, and multiple titles in obedience, agility and tracking. Her second litter was by Select CH Winjammers Tidal Wave (multiple performance titles), who, incidentally, was reserve WD at that same Belgian Gala where Molly got her first recognition by a foreign judge. Molly and Splash produced five pups, two of which did not survive the rigors of C-section birth. The other three, now known as "the Q's" also are multi-talented. Quick and Quasar have between them over 50 agility titles as well as obedience and tracking letters. Quell has a CH in front of her name and is preparing for a second career in agility. She was a â€śpuppy backâ€ť to Molly's breeder and spent three years with Linda in Oregon and Indiana (producing one litter) before coming back to us to continue Molly's legacy here.
Molly's third â€ślitterâ€ť was a lesson to us-the more effort you put into something, the less comes back sometimes! This litter was by CH Bergerac Bazille via a long distance romance. The end result of all the tests and trips to the airport and Molly standing patiently with her hind legs on my lap after an insemination was one lone puppy called, strangely enough, Makeit One For The Money. We figured that there were more puppies in the beginning, but Cash drove the rest of them crazy or wore them out with his constant activity. He came out screaming and cussing and has been a dynamo since day one. I never saw a puppy so adept at taking things apart and shredding paper! Fortunately, although he is busy, he has the sweet temperament that Molly has bequeathed on all her children. He has been observed sitting absolutely still and lovingly licking the faces of three-year-olds who have rushed up to hug the big dog. Cash is constantly amazed and delighted by the world and keeps his tail up as a banner announcing his pleasureâ€”he can put it down when he is not marching around on his toes surveying his kingdom. Cash has nine points and may, if Willie gets motivated, go out after those majors.
Our next breeding was to have been the Molly daughter, Whitney, to a young unproven male by the name of Quazar. As often happens when multiple folks are involved (and from all corners of the US: Alaska, Michigan and Virginia), the plans fell through. Although Whitney was subsequently bred to CH After Shock Ulysses to produce CH Arson and several other promising daughters, we hated the fact that we had made all these arrangements only to have others not follow through. Willie and I thought about it awhile and decided to breed Molly one more time. This was not done lightly as she was eight years old and would be nine when the litter was born. Taken into account were the attributes she offered (and many folks have noted how strongly Molly stamps her puppies) and her wonderful mothering skills. There was nothing Molly liked more than taking care of and playing with her puppies! Therefore, humans on both her side and his blessed the planned union.
When we took Molly in for her pre-breeding blood test, a soft lump was felt near one of her nipples. It was the opinion of several vets that this was a cyst and that it could wait to be removed until she was spayed after her litter was weaned. So we decided to wait rather than risking the health of any potential puppies by putting their mother under anesthesia while she was in heat. We knew if we could ask Molly, that this is what she would have wanted too. Our decision may or may not have cost her life.
So it came to pass that one cold March day that Molly and I set forth for Kentucky so she could meet this young man who her mother said had asked for her hand (or maybe it was the other way around). We were quite the sight! I had just fractured my ankle in a freak agility accident and was hobbling about. Because of the uncertainty of March weather, we were in our old black Jeep and must have looked like the Beverly Hillbillies rolling down the road with crates and bags and other assorted junk. Finally we found Libbye's home nestled among the trees (and past the sheep, as Molly noted). She bounced out of the van and greeted her new human friends as she did all othersâ€”with a wag and an engaging tilt of her head. Soon she was in the lap of her new friend, Steve, while she flirted with the enamored Quazar. This was the beginning of the Dream Team! It was on this day that we met Derek and Kristina, who were summoned to see this lady who had come calling. I think they liked what they saw as they â€śsigned upâ€ť that very day for a puppy!
Willie and I were both working when the Dream Team was conceived and were in a bit of a financial bind. Kristina offered to whelp the litter since she was home most of the time and wanted the opportunity to observe the pups closely to make her choice of the bitch puppies. We happily accepted this offer. Of course, Molly had her own ideas about how things would go, so on the day that Derek was to pick her up (fortunately, due to car problems, he had not attended a seminar that would have put him at our house a day or two laterâ€”and as it turned out, too late), Molly's temperature bottomed out somewhere below 99! Frantically, I called Kristina and Derek only to get no answer. Libbye offered a cell phone number, and between the two of us, we managed to reach Derek at the edge of town on his way out. Molly could have her pups any timeâ€”did they still want to get her? Oh yes. The only change of plans was that Kristina came along to keep an eye on the proceedings in the back seat on the way home. I hear it was an, um, interesting ride, with Molly's every little moan and sigh cause for increased vigilance from the front seat. Finally, they made it home, and Molly inspected her whelping box. It wasn't too longâ€” in fact, it was the next morningâ€”when she announced that she thought it might do, and that, oh, by the way, I think I am having my puppies. And so the Dream Team was born on Mothers Day of 2000â€”four little girls and a big red boy. This last was Molly's gift to us. We had told her we wanted her son, and to make it easy, she gave us no choiceâ€”you don't want to make humans think if you have a choice! This big guy came to be known as BigMooseBrother, SageMoose, Sage, or U-CD CH Makeit Dreams And Schemes, CGC, OA, NAJ, HCTs, TD, and his sisters answer to Sonnet, CH Maria, CH Psyche MX, MXJ, and CH Tango, CDX, HCTs, TD. Some of you call Maria or Psyche â€śMomâ€ť as well. Because Kristina had told us her dream was to finish a dog from the bred-by class, and for the fine job she had done, along with Libbye, raising this litter (and supporting Molly through a scary time with mastitis), we added her name as co-breederâ€”along with Linda Casper, Molly's breeder.
This brings me to one of my points in all this rambling discourse, and this is the issue of temperament. I can say that I have bred all my litters with temperament in mind, and this would be true. However, I cannot in any way take credit for the wonderful temperament that I had to start with and which is carrying through so strongly in all of Molly's sixteen puppies and in their puppies. This credit must go to Linda Casper and Jeannie Bowman. If you look at Molly's pedigree, you will notice that the bitches are little known. They did not make their marks in the show world, although many of them were wonderful show dogs. They were all the result of careful breedings planned by Linda and Jeannie. The culminationâ€”and virtually the last of Linda's lineâ€”was named Molly. Molly's sire was a dog Jeannie bought named Rusty (CH Go Ahead Pappa Don't Preach CD). Rusty finished easily (despite dropped central incisors) and at a young age but was not specialed a lot. He was a family pet and was much beloved by Jeannie and her husband who were distraught at his death a few years ago. Rusty only produced three littersâ€”two with Molly's mother, Daisy, and one with one of his daughters (an accidental breeding that produced CH Go Ahead Lonesome Doveâ€”Gusâ€”who is the father of Quell's first litter). From the second litter came Molly as well as sisters Kayla (CH, UD, TDX, MX, MXJ) and Annie (CH TDX).
Molly came to me in a roundabout way. I met Linda when she was a veterinary student at Colorado State University and I was a lecturer and subsequently studying under a National Cancer Institute training grant in veterinary pathology. We both finished at the same time and both of us headed back to Kentuckyâ€”she to practice in Louisville, and me to a fellowship at UK. There was a point when we considered the possibility of Linda hauling my horse back for meâ€”until we rethought how we might get a 16Â˝ hand Saddle Horse into a trailer made for her petite Arabians. Well, it was a good planâ€”with perhaps a few flaws.
Some time later, I took my Shelties to a match in Louisville. We got there bright and early. The coffee was just getting hot and the smell was wafting through the arena. At the pot surveying the wax cups doubtfully was someone who looked terribly familiarâ€”it was Linda! Feeling somewhat like the person who removed the thorn from the lion's paw, I offered Linda a â€śrealâ€ť cup. We had a fun day! This was also memorable as being the first time I met a truly charming lady named Daisyâ€”who put her paws on my shoulders and gave me a kiss upon being introduced. Knowing nothing about Tervs (but later â€śwarnedâ€ť by well-meaning friends), I was delighted with my introduction to the breed. I showed my Sheltie and I believe we were High In Match that day. That doesn't matter any more. What matters were the words I heard Linda sayâ€”â€śWould you like a Terv when I breed my next litter? I like them to go to homes where they have to use their brains as well as be beautiful.â€ť And so it began. Seven Years later, I got a call from Oregon telling me my puppy was ready! And that is how I ended up in the airport all those years ago on that hot July day. That was the start of the legend of Molly.
Molly is gone now. The â€ścystâ€ť turned out to be a malicious form of cancer that claimed our beloved girl only six months after the birth of her litter. Do I regret that last litter? Not in the least. Molly loved her son Sage and played with him and spoiled him up to two days before her death. I know if she could have told us, she would have said that her five puppies were passing on her legacy and would bring joy to many other folks, as she would have herself. Although Molly is gone, her joy and love and all those physical traits that we love do go on. I am honored to have had the opportunity to live with such a wonderful dog and to have made choices that have enabled all the hard work and thought that went into making her what she was to continue. Someone once called me to tell me that their bitch had shown against Molly and what an honor it was for them to be able to see a dog that so epitomized the standardâ€”â€śthe standard in miniatureâ€ť is what she said. That is for history to determine. I knew a dog that loved life, which loved people (she would have been reserved with strangers had she ever met one), who loved her puppies and who shared her life for a brief period with us. When she stopped playing with Sage, when she started seeking out cold ground to lie upon to stop the pain she was experiencing, when she lay on the daybed staring at something unseen by us on the ceiling, we knew that her time with us physically was at an end. I held her and talked to her as she went to sleep for the last timeâ€”it was the day after Thanksgiving in 2000. Willie and I both cried at losing her, but we see her every day in Sage, in Nike and Justin, in Quell, and in all her kids and grandkids. May we always hold true to the gift that Jeannie and Linda gave us. The gift of a loving, happy, biddable dog with a sound mind and a sound body with which to share our lives! Thanks to all the boys who have made their contributions to the legacy started those many years ago: Ice, Splash, Sabre, and, Molly's favorite husband, Quazar. And thanks to all you folks who have Molly kids and grandkids! Live, love, enjoyâ€”we have been given such a wonderful gift! May the generations see a continuation of what was passed on to us. Thank you Molly and all you other wonderful Tervs who carry on the tradition of pretty working dogs who are a joy to live with. This is in memory of you, Molly: BOSS Select Champion Kolari Landmark Make It So, HIC, CGC, CD C-BAR (direct), P-BAR (direct) and soon, we hope, O-Bar!!!
Thank you so very much!
Jan George, January 28, 2004