Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Made in the Shade

Wow. Lately I have been sharing articles regarding the horrendous actions taken against a dog breeder in IL. It can be so disheartening to hear all the awful tales about the travesties perpetrated upon hobbyists by animal rights terrorists. One has to sit back and wonder...why?

Why do we do it?

Why not just lie down and give up? I was reminded of that answer again today. There are the obvious selfish reasons, that I love my dogs (and other critters), and enjoy raising puppies and watching them grow and develop, and then working with them in the ring or other activities. But how much can one take from adversaries, whether closely personal...or just the perception of the general public who are being brainwashed.

I received an email tonight which has me tearing up with happiness. Not only does it bring back memories of a friend lost to us, but it reminds me of another reason that I do what I do!!

Six years ago last month we welcomed a litter from our Remy/Nikki daughter Duri. One of those puppies was a precocious (read, very happy and very busy) little girl named Shayde. Our friend Tim was smitten with her and took her home. She was always a hoot to see when he brought her to shows or performance events -jumping into the air, then into a play bow, over and over again until she would belly crawl to us with her wagging tail high in the air. She was such a silly and expressive girl. Poor Jill Bell had to try and harness that energy in the ring and she did pick up some points, including a major.

Tim and Shayde - on course

Then Tim became ill and after a while was diagnosed with brain cancer. Friends that knew him and the breeders of the dogs he had came forward and took their charges to help him while he dealt with the worst of the treatment. And we thought he had it beat. He came by one day in his fancy new "EOL (End of Life) Car" - a bright red Challenger with racing stripes and push button start and roaring engine. He was enjoying it because he figured he would never see it paid off, and he relished the ride. He took his "kids" home that were at our home - Radar (Silken Windhound), Munch and Shayde (the Borzoi) and a black whippet named Chester that had hung out at our place. We thought we had a while. But we didn't.

So Shayde, Munch, Radar and Chester returned to us. We got Chester back to his breeder in LA without much trouble. Handed him off to his transport at a Dallas show. Sadly, about a month later, Munch became ill. At first we thought it was vestibular disease - but it became worse, and he began to seize. We slipped Munch back to his master, with many tears shed in the process for that big goofy, loving dog. Oddly enough - the suspected culprit? Brain cancer.

So Shayde and Radar both remained her for years. Both looking for a good re-homing situation, yet never finding that match. We were beginning to give up. Thought about bringing Shayde back out into the ring. And then the application came in for a prospective owner. Communications back and forth were great, and full of detail. A young vet student, some sighthound experience with a retired racer and a young ridgeback rescue (LOTS of playing available for the Borzoi with boundless energy). She lived about an hour from a friend of ours, and I was getting ready to go on a trip with her. Perfect. We could meet, at my friend's, and she could see how Shayde did while we were in NJ, and then I could pick her back up on my way home if it didn't work out.

I have received updates from her since then, accompanied with pictures of the silly brindle beast in her new digs and with her new friends. They had bonded - it was so good to hear. And then tonight I received further correspondence from her which just filled me to the brim with joy, and thanks, and some tears.

Here is a portion of her email, that lifted me from the desolate place I had gone to in my head after hearing so much bad news:

"I opted for Willow as her new call name - she's adapted to it beautifully, but I still have Shayde on her tag, as a 'middle name' - I couldn't let it just get dropped when it's been with her her whole life. I chose Willow because like a willow tree, she has only bent and not broken - I know her life has changed multiple times, none of which can have been easy on her, so seeing her so happy and lovey now is a testament to how wonderful her life has been and how much she's been loved all along. And also because I'm a Buffy the vampire slayer fan, and 'Waiting for Darkness' reminded me a little of my favorite character, Willow, since she has a dark side.

So Willow has been amazing, I can't thank you enough for letting me bring her home with me - she's such a special dog, and I really can't imagine life without her now that she's here. I've always had a love affair with borzoi from afar, but I don't think I'll be without one again. Thank you again, so so much, for my baby girl."
No Amanda, thank YOU.
Shayde and some of her new friends, Christmas 2014