“A Nice Weekend For A Drive
By Dale Tarbox
I entered the Tonawanda KC shows for several reasons.....first and foremost , it was a Specialty and I was hoping for a major entry. " Olivia" had not been shown since the end of May because of a lack of drivable major entries. She had just turned 18 months old and being Canadian Bred we had to put her in Open....she is still very much a puppy...in face and in actions!
After finding out that the entry was just over by 2 in dogs and not a major at all in bitches, we had thoughts of not taking the 8 hour drive toward Buffalo. But with some networking with people in the club,it appeared that everyone was aware that they needed to show up to make the major. So we packed the crate in the car , and off we went. Terry Silver asked me all they way there, "Why are we driving hours for a major that is over by 2??" I kept assuring her that from what we knew..all would be fine and she needs a major. I was not that sure! But it was a nice weekend for a drive! Saturday came and we counted every dog, for a while we were 2 short, but then they showed up.
"Olivia" went WB, now we had to hope for BOW for the major....my stomach was in knots! Then to my surprise and delight..she was pulled out and was given BISS!
I was delighted...not only had she become a champion, but she was also a BISS Ch.!! She showed beautifully for Terry who had not handled her since September of last year in the puppy class at the GDC of Canada.
Serge wanted to show her in the group...Terry made the decision with my approval that he should, he is the breeder after all and .....hey..she was a class dog going into the ring with well advertised , Best in Show dogs......if he wanted to try for a placement...why not
I was happy to see that Terry had him practice with her a little before the groups...he had never handled her and no man had. She was happy to see him, she remembered him as soon as he spoke French to her!!! Her whole boy was wagging. He stacked her well and she was happy.
Off they went into the ring.......to my amazement she showed like a seasoned special...she hit every mark, coming back to the judge she stopped perfectly and spotted me 3 rings over. She looked great. Serge did a great job...he really seemed at ease and she was happy. I was thrilled that she kept all 4 feet on the ground...something she doesn't always deem a necessity at a dog show! The judge, Mrs Maida Puterman, pulled 4 dogs, the Dane, the Siberian Husky, the Dobe and the Rottie . She pointed......and I was thrilled...she had won the group. A feat in itself . A number of well ranked specials were in that group, but she had shined and she was rewarded for her quality. She is a moving machine and has almost perfect footfall, not unnoticed by Mrs Puterman who remarked on her reach and drive and her lovely type.." what a Great Dane bitch should look like" I was more then pleased. So were Serge..and Terry who had been coaching from outside the ring and cooling her down for Serge. We were all more then pleased....it's an amazing feeling.
A half hour later we were back ringside and Serge was ready to take her back in for Best. Terry was telling him not to be disappointed if he doesn't win, there are many good dogs in this Best lineup and they are all advertised and ranked .....Serge was looking at her like " hey..we are going in to win....don't even think that we aren't!! " I , on the other hand was again 3 rings over, sick to my stomach, only able to look up occasionally to see my "baby Olivia" in the ring for Best In Show!!! What I did see was a statue.....she was standing and looking at where I had been at group time. Again , she moved down and back and hit her stance and looked straight ahead....she saw someone who looked a bit like me and pulled herself up and stretched her neck and looked unbelievable . Terry said at that moment she was glad she was outside the ring watching the "moment"!! I did manage to see it too. I still did not think we had a chance of winning, but I was proud...very proud of my girl.
The Bull Terrier, who I think is a wonderful dog, did the same thing, he did his down and back and stopped perfectly....his handler stepped back and gave him 6 foot of lead..he looked great. I was sure he was going to win. He has a record and he is advertised heavily, and he is a good dog. All the dogs did their thing and the judge brought everyone out from the tent as a class for one more look....I held my breathe as she went to her table wrote down a number and signed her book....then they were out again...she walked up the line..I wasn't looking, I had my head down....I believe I was praying. Then I heard...." I'll take the Dane"......at first I thought I was hallucinating...I was 3 rings away..how could I hear that?? But then I saw Serge throw his arms to the sky and saw the other handlers congratulating him....it was true!!! On my way to the entrance of the ring I spotted Terry on her knees.....in my foggy mind I remember thinking " that is weird". She told me later she had held her breathe for so long that when she heard "I'll take the Dane" she dropped to the ground.
To say the least we were estactic...Serge and I were crying, Terry and Ron ( Serges partner) were hugging, Olivia didn't have a clue, but she thought she must have done something right!! Again, the club members were there hugging and congratulating....it was fabulous. The group judge even gave me a hug....
From WB to BISS to the Group 1st and BIS.....a dream come true !
Terry and Serge did a great job with Olivia,giving her the confidence she needed to be a star. Terry Silver is a great handler and has always been and will always be an important part of the Sandale Saga and I am glad she was there to help with this win and to share it with me. It was indeed a team effort......
I am so proud of "Olivia" and her decision to be the ultimate showdog on this particular day! She was so tired she slept for 2 days!
Driving home the next day ( we didn't show her as she isn't being specialed and there was no need too!) Terry laughed and said.....the "what if's are unbelievable..what if we decided it was too far to drive for a chance at a major.....what if 2 males were absent..you wouldn't have shown her and there would have been no Ch, BISS or BIS......what if there hadn't been a judge change for the group..she may not have won the group....no BIS!!
We were in the right place , at the right time, with the right judges and with the right dog....."
I think she is right.....I guess that is how people like "us" win a Best In Show every once in a while.
BIS, BISS CH Saul-Sandale The Divine Ms "O"