ser1August 30, 2008 at the Tonawanda Kennel Club show a very spectacular event occured.. “Olivia”, Saul-Sandale The Divine Ms "O", went Best In Show From the open fawn class. Olivia went WB, BOW, Best In Specialty Show under judge Ms. Angela J. Porpora, handled by Ms Terry Silver. Then, handled by her breeder Serge Guillet, she went on to Group 1st under Ms Maida Puterman and Best in Show under Ms. Angela J. Porpora. We have asked her breeder and owner Serge Guillet and Dale Tarbox to share with us their experience that day.

A Day In The Life Of a
Best In Show Dog



It all started on January 21, 2007, This puppy girl was the 6th puppy to be born out of 9. Olivia came into this world at 12:30 a.m. and weighed in at 20.4 ounces. This being my third litter I had a couple friends over to help and Dale was on the other end of the phone to ensure all was has it should be…

Taylor is the most wonderful Mom and delivered, nourished and nursed those puppies to perfection. It was a very easy gang to deal with until they all started running around the house.olivia3wk

Olivia caught my attention from the beginning…She had a darker face and was rolly poly. She was always rounded and had these beautiful curves and angles and that face…She strutted her stuff around the house like she owned the world. From there Olivia was a gift I gave to Dale for mentoring me and putting up with me all these years…Dale graciously put me on as her owner also …So this beautiful little girl went to her home at 9 weeks with Mom Dale Tarbox.

I saw Olivia again at our Canadian Nationals. I hadn’t seen her for 6 months or so. It was like she never left. She was all over me full of love and kisses - I was amazed…When you have those puppies in your home and you nourish them and love them - even after they leave and don’t see you for a long time, they always remember you.


Then Dale told me she would be coming to the Western NY Specialty show. Being so close to home we decided to enter. I was so looking forward to seeing Olivia again.

The morning of the Specialty, Terry was showing Olivia. Dale made sure to tell me to only see her after the event…Olivia went on to win BISS from the Class. I was so excited and proud to see my little princess accomplish something so wonderful!

That finished her AKC title… how wonderful!!

Then Dale, Terry and I talked and we decided I should show her in group. So I practiced stacking and moving Olivia a little bit and she was very comfortable with me. She kept looking at me with those eyes as if she was saying, “my daddy, is it really you” and I kept rubbing her neck and kissing her to make sure she didn’t go all gaga and kept all four paws on the ground. So in the ring we went – there was a feeling that is very hard to express. It was like everything went in slow motion. Terry had given me a few tips and I made sure to follow them. Olivia and I were standing 5th in the group line up. After the judge moved us for our first go around Terry came at ring side to give me water and a towel to keep Olivia cool. At this point I got very emotional (in a very good way) to have Terry Silver being there for Olivia and me at ring side… I just couldn’t believe my own eyes. Having seen and read and heard of all of Terry’s accomplishments and what a great handler she is - I was like WOW!!! Then I got back to Olivia and was stroking her and talking to her about how proud I was of her and how beautiful she was. Her eyes were locked with mine ( it was very special moment)… we were up next so as I was positioning Olivia into her stack it happened again… all went into a blur and very slow motion. I was remembering all of what Terry said… I stood tall and grabbed the choker and I whispered to Olivia, “This is it… look at you my baby girl… look how beautiful you are.” The judge then went over her and she was solid.... just perfect …the Judge instructed us to go down and back. Olivia felt like a feather, with this long elastic stride, so I said to myself, ‘bend your knees, take long steps and follow her.” She was perfectly straight. She stopped square on the way back and around we went… the crowd was so supportive!!! It gave us all the pride and comfort until we reached the end of the lineup. There stood Terry… again she said, “That was wonderful she looked great…” I was in 7th heaven…We cooled her down again prior to going back out. Olivia perked right up as she saw someone that looked like Mom. She felt like a million dollars at the end of that lead. It felt like there was only her and I in that ring. We make the cut and I was like YHEA… We stacked again…the Judge came down the line, grabbed her face and said “she takes my breath away!” I said “mine too”. All the way around we go, stop and stack… the judge pointed to us and we went Group 1st. I gave Olivia a big kiss and said thank you princess…What a thrill!!!

Now everyone is congratulating us and there is this incredible feeling of warmth. We were just glowing…Dale said great job and Terry seconded that. I couldn’t be happier…Terry brought Olivia to Dale’s van to let her rest.

Terry came back and kept me very calm and shared some very interesting stories…I went to our truck and walked my dogs and shared that great feeling I had with them.

Time for “Best In Show” ~ Terry hands me Olivia again. I’m stroking her, kissing her, talking to her….We go in first…There is a bit of an electricity feeling in the air. As I’m reaching for her hind leg and getting ready to stack her she stands real tall. Something caught her attention. Olivia felt a bit more tense at this point… we’re not as connected…I said to myself “man don’t mess this up”. I hummed her a song we use to play before her bed time when she was a little pup….She relaxed and we were connected again…Around we went. She felt like a dream! Her movement was in a class of its own… covering all that distance in so few strides… it was magical!!! The crowd was clapping whistling and she just kept moving bigger and sooo proud… all the group winners were judged and we stood there 1st in line. Olivia had been perfect. Then the judge went to the table and came out with the BIS ribbon I said to Olivia you deserve that one my beautiful girl. The judge thanked everyone and said, ‘I will have the Great Dane please…..” I opened my arms looked to the sky and said, “Thank You God,”. I grabbed Olivia’s beautiful face and kissed her and told her, “You did it my baby girl you did it !!!!”

*From the bottom of my heart I want to Thank Dale Suzanne Tarbox for making this dream come true and Terry Silver for guiding me and believing in me. To all of you owner, breeder handlers out there find a good mentor. Listen to the ones who have the years of experience and are in tune with you. Always make it about what is best for your dogs and hear them…. Dreams do come true…You just gotta believe….



“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 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 stomach was in knots! Then to my surprise and delight..she was pulled out and was given BISS!9-1-07-BOW-Olivia25
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 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'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" first I thought I was hallucinating...I was 3 rings could I hear that?? But then I saw Serge throw his arms to the sky and saw the other handlers congratulating was true!!! On my way to the entrance of the ring I spotted Terry on her 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 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 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 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"