It’s Good to Be Back

The Saluki has always had my heart.

When I was a small child, I had an imaginary friend. She was a pure white Saluki named Saphire. She had blue eyes. I was only five, so forgive me!

Years later, I had several of various origins, but as they passed on, or got adopted (many were Elektra situation rescues), I let the breed go for a while. Many in the community were quite unpleasant. And many of those rescues had taken pieces of my heart with them. I saw things that no young person should ever see- no person at all, really.

Months, years, a decade passed.

I was sitting in my Canfield, OH temporary motel residence this past Spring, when my frend told me I should contact Shiri Hoshen about some real desert bred, amazing Saluki puppies that she was planning.

Maybe. I’d be moved before they were born and ready.

So maybe. I guess.

“Did you contact Shiri, yet?” my friend asked.

Okay, fine. I’ll do it. I did it. I talked to Shiri, and she was lovely. The two parent dogs were and are amazing and beautiful. I recognized animals behind them that I’d admired in the past.

But, was I ready to let this breed back into my life, to open that raw wound again?

Months passed, and puppies arrived. Silver brindle boys struck me. They were so, so, so beautiful. It wasn’t long before I lost myself in the excitement and joy of bringing home one of these special, primitive, beautiful, elegant, and truly magical hounds back into my home and my heart.  They are not German Shepherds, or even Whippets. They fill a different space in one’s life. When I say jump, Quest wants to know how high, and if I’m coming. Streamer wants to know why, and if I’ll go first to test the waters. He’s a companion whose affection and trust is earned, not bought or demanded or assumed.

I must have done something right, because he is utterly and completely mine, and mine alone. His eyes are wise and knowing, far beyond his tender age. The wisdom of a thousands years and then some is deep in his breeding and his quick mind. He is already royalty and devotion and elegance and power and speed.

I’ve let him in, and he’s let me in.

I once again belong to the companion of kings, the dog of the desert, of the Saluki.

I’m so thankful, both to his breeder, and to my friend who prodded me just enough to get me to reach out. Streamer and I have many adventures ahead, and it’s so good to have this part of my heart and soul full again.

Hoshen’s Strike in Flight at Windridge:

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A Wonderful Discovery

Scottie and I discovered a gorgeous place to walk dogs, and we couldn’t be happier. Today I had a dreamy session of photo-taking with my beautiful, beloved, and most favorite puppy- Quest ❤ He is now six months old. The scenery here is stunning, as is my boy (not that I am biased!).

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It means the world to us to have a truly ideal place to run, swim, and hike with our dogs. Enjoy!

A Brown Small Puppy and a Great Big Show!

Last week my darling, beautiful, sweet little Quest went off for an adventure. His breeder offered to take him to the German Shepherd Dog Club of American national speciality show in St Louis. The show was just days before Quest’s six month birthday, so he’d be shown in the baby puppy class. This was exciting news to me. I knew that with his stable, wonderful temperament, he’d have no trouble with the journey, the crowds, or the show itself. I figured it would be a good experience for my future hopeful. While I was disappointed I couldn’t go with him, I knew he was in the best hands he could ever be in with Anya, his breeder at Hammersmith German Shepherd Dogs.

All of this was exciting enough, and then I realized that the judge was none other than James Moses. Yes, that James Moses! The handler and breeder of so many incredible GSDs, including dogs like Dallas that are behind Quest himself. There’s no one whose opinion of my puppy I could possibly value more, at least not from a conformation, movement, and show perspective. We all know that *I* already think Quest is perfect!

We waited for weeks, conditioning him and working with him. I gave up on getting that perfect stack, but was assured it was fine, since he’s just a baby. We did, however, get him moving very well, totally perfectly leash trained, and we got him quite fit and in great condition. Scottie and I played ball with him and took him for tons of walks. He already was used to travel, and loved the car.

The big day arrived, and we met Anya late the night before she was to leave for her long drive. She also was amazing enougn to transport my then-foster dog, Killian, to his new owners too! More about him in another post.

Days went by, and we enjoyed hearing about his antics, and how much fun he was having playing with his litter brother, his mom, and all his new friends at the dog show. On the day he was meant to show in the national, I had all kinds of life stuff going on. Scottie was doing laundry or something equally unexciting, and I was cleaning house, washing dishes, and running dogs.

Pat, an Aussie person and friend of Anya’s, had agreed to show Quest, since handlers like Anya cannot show in that particular class. Pat had worked hard with Quest since they met on this trip, and they were a great team. I didn’t particularly expect him to win anything. His class was big, many other puppies, all of them beautiful.

After washing a large load of dishes, I sat down to rest my back. Pat had messaged me and told me I should check Anya’s wall on Facebook if I had a chance. I clicked over to her wall, figuring I’d get a run down on puppy antics and good “puppies-first-show” experiences. Well, I was wrong.

Quest had placed 2nd in his large class, and his brother Clavo had placed 3rd!

This may not sound like much to some people, but at the breed national, and under a judge like this, and in a good sized class- this is a BIG deal. I will admit, I got a little bit teary eyed. Then the happy bragging and sharing began, along with the count down to picking up my sweet, silly boy a few days later. To add to the excitement, his prize was a good sized, shiny, beautiful silver trophy!

I will never forget the few hours after his win. It remidned me a lot of my heart dog Rigby’s big first show weekend. I was still beaming when we picked Quest up a few days ago. He was very happy to see me, and the feeling was mutual. His trophy shall forever be prized by me, as well as serving as a reminder of good friends and good memories, even if I couldn’t be there.

I want to take the time to thank everyone who made it possible- Anya of course. Pat for showing him and putting up with my cluelessness and my spoiled puppy, and Scottie for always being the best, and most supportive.

I can’t wait to see what my little brown (sable) puppy can do from here… the future looks very bright, indeed.

I Can’t Remember Before

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I’ve shared my life with my dream German Shepherd puppy for three months now. It’s hard to belive how fast the time goes by. In fact, I feel like I’ve never been without Quest. I just about cannot remember life before he bounced into it, full of floppy puppy ears, kisses, and giant awkward paws.

He brings so much joy to my life. Sometimes it’s just quiet friendship. Sometimes it really is simply looking at him. He’s magnficently beautiful canine perfection. Other times, it’s his sense of humor. His clownish happiness, and his cuddly affection would melt all but the hardest of hearts.

Tomorrow he turns five months old. It won’t be long before his career as a show dog starts. He’s excelling in every kind of training and bonding I have attempted with him. Every time I present him with a challenge, he nails it.

The other day he was incredible- fearless, gentle, and knowing with a group of adults with disabilities who wanted to meet him. Their loud vocalizations and erratic movements did not bother him in the slightest. He has sense. He’s discerning and soft, yet confident and bold.

Sure, we work and train. I could brag of the many things he knows, or the fact that his behavior in public is already effortlessly flawless. I could mention that I have yet to see him startle at, or worry about, anything. But there’s so much more this beautiful puppy than all of that.

I’m incredibly excited to see where our journey takes us, both in the show ring and in life. I waited nearly the life time of a healthy shepherd to bring home my dream puppy.

It was worth it.

I’ve also spent these months sharing my home with my best friend, and been through hell and back to keep us safe and help make these dreams come true. Here we are, shepherds by our sides, having and doing all the things we never imagined we ever, ever would or could. Sometimes it’s been brutal: a combination of the general hardship of life, and the sadness of having people who only want to see us fail, and would get pleasure out of that. It’s been waiting, hoping, planning, wishing, and finally doing.

It’s only made us stronger, and it was utterly worth it.

I can’t wait to see where we all go from here.

A Cool Treat

Slurpee is my pick for a working partner and obedience dog from our current litter here at Windridge. Only time will tell if he “turns out” and stays long-term, but the prospect is surely exciting. There are many other puppies in the litter with one thing or another to offer, but this one has the look and the nature that I want. He is a real, old-fashioned Golden Retriever.

Here he is at a mere 3.5 weeks of age- fearless, sound, and (of course) adorable.