Keep Writing Your Story

Keep writing your story on the blog! So glad you "have done it your way…", a friend wrote. 

Others are confused. Questions sit in my inbox. Some questions have been there for months, waiting a response. It’s difficult to respond when I am still searching for answers myself. Ergo, the recent, repeated use of the word transition, in repeated posts about transition. I have been journaling on a private blog, a blog started for just me almost a year ago. Perhaps the intro will help…

I am going Down The Quiet Path. It is time to slow down, reflect and redirect myself. In the past month two major projects I’ve devoted the past years to have come to fruition. The RD paper has passed peer review and will be published soon. The Voting Packet was mailed this month. I did my best with both of those; RD since 1996 and the Gompa dogs since 2001. The FFT dogs – 120+ Champions – have accomplished many exciting wins in the show ring, particularly at Specialties. It is time to move on, to learn something else. As I’ve spent the past months FLYing, there’s been a ‘niggling’ in my head about what that should be. Couldn’t put my finger on it, but it was there. Pieces of the next project would emerge, only to fade. Criteria would do the same. I am a scholar by nature. The project needs to be challenging with great opportunity to learn. I love dogs. Breeding dogs. Teaching dogs. Working with dogs. In particular I love the little Apso from Tibet. Edgar Sawtelle was also there in corners of my mind. The words Down The Quiet Path came to me yesterday in the kennel. I decided to start a blog for me, just for me….a diary of sorts of my Quiet Path.

That doesn’t answer Susan’s questions or the other questions keeping hers company in my inbox. Cathy assumed correctly about part of my meaning of ‘transition’. The Gompas – and all that has meant – have consumed my life for ten+ years. I’m ready for them to simply be part of my life, rather than a ’cause’. During those ten years I tried to meet everyone’s – including my own – expectations. I learned that was impossible. I had vision for the Gompa dog breeding program, remaining true to the spirit of Ceese’s Kennel Without Walls idea. I learned that was next to impossible. It’s been difficult for me, an experienced breeder, to keep the lineage going. I learned adding factors created by breeding dogs being ‘elsewhere’ really compounded the challenge. I discovered that as committed as I remain to keeping the Gompa lineage intact, separately, that’s next to impossible.

Throw in almost two years of training Edie and Elliot for agility… I’ve learned teamwork… well, let’s say I’m learning teamwork. I’ve got a long ways to go! My relationship with both of those dogs is deep, strengthened by our work together. The other dogs under my care have begun to haunt me…their minds not challenged. Of course they know rudimentary things, including how to learn. Time, the time required to build the working relationships I have with Edie and Elliot, is non-existent. In the past I was content with the relationship I had with each of my dogs. Now I am haunted by the untapped possibility of each being in my care.

While I’ve been so ready to be done with exhibiting dogs in conformation, that transition comes with mixed feelings. This year’s National was a bit of a swan song. Stevie – Grand Champion FFT Take The Money and Run – had a great week. It was bittersweet to watch Julie exhibit her…

For the first time ALAC hosted a cut-down Sweepstakes. FFT dogs won both Best of Breed and Best of Opposite. Vickie with Champion FFT Kisses of Fire…

Julie with Lily…

I love that photo.That was a beautiful class of bitches, yet Lily stands out. At the conclusion of judging, Julie and I looked at each other, communicating with our eyes. “Take that!” See?! There is still a competitive bone or two in me! However, I’m no longer willing to spend my time doing the things required to walk in the ring, time after time, dog after dog, one Champion coming after the other. Neither is she.

So those are some of the things I’ve been juggling with, struggling with. While I will try to do with the Gompas what I did with the Fleetfire lineage (make sure there was always a direct line back to the founders), the breeding programs will be integrated. Integrated several different ways. Ella (FFT) is here to be bred to Tigle (100% Gompa). Echo (Gompa x Keeper) will be bred to Danba (100% Gompa). Takpa (100% Gompa) will be bred to both Siku (Gompa x Keeper) and Tigle (100% Gompa). Margo (Gompa x Keeper) will be bred back to Tigle. And maybe, just for fun Whisper (Gompa x Keeper) will be bred to Edmund (FFT).  🙂

That’s the current plan for the next several years. Time will tell how that works out.

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3 Comments on “Keep Writing Your Story”

  1. Susan says:

    Thank you, Debbie, for telling us more of your side of this story. I have used your blog as a place to give/take/share information, but obviously the burden of responding and sorting and sometimes refereeing has always fallen to you, probably often without thanks or recognition. I have to admit to missing the old blog where we were more likely to share stories about how all of our dogs were faring, but as an aging female, I totally respect and recommend your decisions to take your life your way……

    Go forth and keep us posted if/as/when it works for you.
    I will be particularly interested in Margo’s progress since I have her mom and her aunt and her second cousin and….all here. Thank you for taking the Gompa cause so far and for continuing to take it in the best possible direction. I am probably too old to have another one in my lifetime, but my life wouldn’t be what it is now without the ones I have.

  2. Cathy says:

    Debbie, thanks for the update on what you are thinking and where you see the Gompas going…along with your own kennel. Life changes, we move on. No one should expect more of another, in my opinion. You have done amazing things for the Gompas – for the Lhasa heritage. David and I look forward to some day sharing our lives with one of these treasures. Best wishes to you in whatever direction you decide to go and however it turns out. And thanks for letting us share in you and the Lhasa’s lives. Cathy

  3. Melanie says:

    Debby, I think you are doing a wonderful job. You have always done a wonderful job. FFT or Gompa, you have beautiful Apsos. Allow the dogs to take you for a walk through life now. After a while, it will all make sense. I am looking forward to seeing the results of your next projects!

    I still dream about the little grey bitch showing me into some garden I have never been to. I’m going to plant that garden someday! 🙂


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