:Zena, Thateus and Edgar Sawtelle

This afternoon I intend to curl up with The Story of Edgar Sawtelle and lose myself in the story. Already about one-third through I ear-marked the following passage…

…and then they walked to the barn for morning chores. A pile of secondhand LPs and an old suitcase-style record player occupied a lower shelf of the workshop. Two pennies had been taped to the needle arm, covering the lightning-bolt Z in the “Zenith” embossed in the fluted metal. Through the speaker grill a person could make out the filaments glowing igneous orange in their silver-nippled tubes. His mother unsleeved on of her favorite records and set it on the turntable. Edgar cleaned the kennel to the sound of Patsy Cline’s voice. When he finished he found his mother in the whelping room. She was holding a pup in the air in front of her, examining it and singing under her breath how she was crazy for tryin’, crazy for cryin’, crazy for loving it.

I’m a second-generation ‘dog person’. Mom owned and operated a boarding kennel and grooming shop. My responsibility was the large dog kennel building. My eclectic collection of LPs stayed in my bedroom, but I did have a tape player in the kennel, usually playing Steppenwolf’s first album,Steppenwolf. Two of the songs – Born To Be Wild and The Pusher – were used in the film Easy Rider. If someone played that album right now, certainly I could sing along to every song.

I sing and/or singsong to my dogs all the time. I take lines from songs and incorporate into whatever I’m doing with the dogs. Many of our dogs’ names are derived from music in one fashion or another. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle captures so many of the small things about caring for and training a number of dogs, along with maintaining a kennel. It’s those things I enjoy most about the dogs. The day-to-day care. Training. Watching the young puppies grow and learn.

I attend very few dog shows myself. When I step into the ring, it’s not as much about the winning as it is an arena to display what we’ve been working on. Each dog either Julie or I (or Kaylee or Tammy) exhibit  represents pedigree study, planning of matings to bring forward particular attributes, getting those puppies on the ground, teaching those puppies. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, so far, depicts much of the actual work involved accurately. His father is often found at the kitchen table going through records, studying pedigrees.

Show photos continue to trickle in.  This is Thateus being awarded his third Best of Winners in a row, for a third major.

And here’s Tammy with Zena, being awarded Zena’s second major.  

The following photo really isn’t Julie awarding the finishing points to Thateus and Zena. 🙂
Judge Maxine Beam was more interested in lunch than having her picture taken, so Julie held the ribbons awarded to new Champion FFT That’s What I Said and Champion FFT The Ezential Road. 

Zena and Thateus are cousins; Zena’s dam and Thateus’s sire are littermates. A cool, fun fact is that Hattie and Damon finished on the same day at the very same show, three years before! I’m handling, Hattie – Ch. FFT Dance of the Black Hats. Julie is handling Damon – Ch. FFT Dancin’ After Midnight.

Both Damon and Hattie are placed in forever homes, the culmination for the dogs we’ve brought into this world, raised, trained, shown and bred.

Like Edgar’s mother tweaking Patsy Cline’s song we’re…crazy for tryin’, crazy for cryin’, crazy for loving it.

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