Transition. The word has been in my head lately. Several friends commented – to me, not on the blog – about my End of an Era post, which followed Julie’s Saying Goodbye. Kathy thought End of an Era sounded like a final post for the blog. Vickie mentioned, “how does one comment on that post?” Perhaps Transition would have been a better title.

Transition; movement, passage, change from one position, subject, stage to another. I’ve been in a personal transition the past several years. Small transitions, but changes just the same. Adding another day to my work week really interferes with my creativity. Words used to come pouring out of my head. My fingers couldn’t wait to tap, tap, tap. Up by 4:30, coffee in hand, the keyboard lured me into the library. Fatigue seems to silence my fingers.

Other transitions pop into my head. Or are released from my head. Transition within the Gompa dog breeding program. Transition within my son’s life. My garden is in a perpetual state of transition, which is true of all things growing.

End of one era, beginning of another. We’d been talking about moving down a different path for years, a path with new challenges, something new to learn. Julie began her Judge’s Path some years ago. The Gompas have been my path for a decade, delivered to me August 31, 2001. While we share those paths with each other, it’s the ‘FFT Challenge’ path we’re walking together.

A couple three years ago we challenged each other to earn a performance title on one of our retired Champion. Julie chose a Connor daughter called Lily – Ch. Timbers’ She Tsabo Confidentially Yours. I chose Edie, a Connor granddaughter – Ch. FFT Carpe Diem RN. Note the RN at the end of Edie’s title. 🙂

Melissa upped the ante when she challenged us to have a dog ready to run agility at the upcoming ALAC National Specialty in October. Challenge accepted! Three of my last five FFT dogs have been in agility training for a year and a half. Julie has been working with Lily and Fernando for as long, along with her Gompa dog Rishi.

Looking at the list of agility FFT dogs (and one Gompa) – in training or in the ring – it seems appropriate that Victoria’s son Roman is on the list. Roman (and Mary). Lily (and Julie). Edie (and Debby). Rumor (and Judy). Fernando (and Julie). Rishi (and Julie). Elliot (and Debby). Chloe (and Ginny). Norma Jean (and Debby). And while we don’t deserve the credit, I’ll add Melissa’s dogs from FFT lineage to the list. Josie. Ella. Myth. Victoria is behind the majority of these dogs. As breeders, what better testimony is there? What more could we ask? What better way to make the transition? Champions Gone Agile!

Here’s Julie and Lily – Ch. Timbers’ She Tsabo Confidentially Yours – running and qualifying in Novice Standard…

Ella – Grand Champion FFT Melou “Well Said” runs a nice serpentine…

Rishi – Kunza Rishi – graduates…

Ain’t life Grand!

A Grand weekend. Another Grand Champion, another off and running! And three Edmund kids picked up points toward their Championships.

Ella – Ch. FFT Melou “Well Said” – owned and shown by Melissa Torgerson, completed Grand Champion requirements several weeks ago at the Indianhead Kennel Club shows, topping it off with a Group 3 under breeder/judge Keke Kahn.

Stevie – Ch. FFT Take The Money and Run – finished her Grand with a Group 4 at the Fargo-Moorehead Kennel Club on Saturday. Sunday she was again awarded Best of Breed and a Group 3.

Ginny’s Ethan – Ch. FFT Midnight Flamenco Dancer – won Best of Breed at Flatirons Kennel Club, both Saturday and Sunday, the first time out in a year.

Edmund’s kids, Myth and Elliot, received 3 Best of Winners over the weekend; Myth’s was a major. And Norma Jean won her first point. Woo hoo!

Myth as a puppy…

Looking for a photo of Norma Jean and Elliot to share, I’m reminded of people with more than one kid. The first one has an awesome baby book. The second one, a few photos. Nothing for the rest. Actually had that real experience when going through my mom’s house. The baby photo of my youngest sister was priceless.

This photo of Elliot clearly demonstrates we’ve had our head up our arse when it comes to conformation classes. We’ve been busy with agility. I claim total responsibility for iffy performances in the conformation ring. But hey! You should see him tunnel these days! It doesn’t look like this.

Norma Jean’s name is FFT Purple Marble. It’s a long story I’ll share someday, but these autographs are dear to me…

Victoria…end of an era

In Saying Good-bye, Julie wrote about the timeline, Victoria being there for significant milestones in her life. Looking for a graphic to include with Julie’s moving tribute, I came upon this page from an old ad.

Ah. Victoria. The foundation for the future. Biopsy normal kidneys. Olivia’s daughter. Fourth generation tail female to my foundation bitch Jelly Bean. Renal Dysplasia. Not giving up or getting out. For me too memories came flooding back, memories marking the long and winding road Julie and I have walked together. Indeed Victoria was the foundation for the future. She produced five Champion offspring, including the best Lhasa Apso we’ve ever bred.

(Sorry, but I cannot figure out how to exclude the ad from this slideshow of her Champion offspring.)

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Champion FFT C’est La Vie
Champion FFT Sine Qua Non
Champion FFT Que Sais-je
Champion FFT Veni Vidi Vici RA NAP NJP CL3-R, CL3-F, CL3-H
Champion FFT Do U Wanna Dance

Each of these dogs had wonderful careers in the ring, including Specialty wins. C’est La Vie remains with Julie. After contributing to the breeding program, the other four moved on to forever homes.

Move on. We’ve talked about it off and on for years, including deep soul-searching in the mid-nineties. It wasn’t yet time. While enthusiasm waxed and wained there were still goals that excited us. Anticipation of a great puppy in the next litter. Another breeding dog achieving another Register of Merit as a producer. Kicking some a$$ at the next Specialty. Class dogs was my name and Best of Winners was my game. The group ring was Julie’s thing. She did it magnificently. We have bred and/or owned ??? 120 Champions. Our dogs have been consistent winners at Specialties, from Best in Sweepstakes to Best in Specialty Show. Many, many times. Fernando was a Best in Show dog. We’ve had dogs in the top twenty year after year. We still do, in spite of competing very little this past year. What more is there to do?

Tending garden sounds nice. Relaxing on the deck this summer sounds even nicer. Learning something new sounds grand. New challenges outside the conformation ring even grander.

Julie’s right. It is time to go forward on that new path. What’s grandest of all is that she and I continue to move along the dog path together. There’s nothing like old times and old friends, except perhaps, some old wine…shared, of course, with an old friend.

Here’s to us girlfriend! And to Victoria! Here’s to the end of an era! Here’s to our new path! Wherever that may lead us!

Saying Goodbye

Julie wrote the tribute. I couldn’t have done it better. There are things I want to say, want to write. Later.

On April 20th Fleetfire Timbers’ Victoria ROM chose to say “good-bye.”

Victoria had turned 15 yrs old last Halloween, she had been blind for over a year but other than that she was happy and healthy.

I’ve told myself I have accepted death as a natural part of life, and it is better to end life than to suffer.  And yet, I find myself in tears each time I think of Victoria. I’m sadden by her loss, of course, but it is more than that.  Victoria’s life was a timeline to mine.  So many milestones were reached during her 15+ years of life.  I remembering naming the litter, sitting at Debby’s kitchen table, how many times over the years have Debby and I shared that experience?  I remember Debby gifting Victoria to my daughter Kaylee, her first Junior Showmanship dog-Kaylee is now almost 25 and an expert handler/breeder in her own right. Victoria is C’est La Vie’s mom, the dog that changed me and my life the most.   Phone calls on health, new litters and sharing all the wins and losses, the highs and the lows that have been part of my “dog” life.  Victoria has been with me through all of them these past 15+ years.  For the past couple of years I have been telling myself it is time move on, and although I know it is right for me it is very hard to let go of a past I truly loved and made me the person I am today.

I think Victoria is telling me the time is right, it is time to go forward on that new path- without her.

Brothers moving…

From Julie:

Here are pictures of brothers Fonda and Sean in movement.  We were hoping to get one of Audrey the littermate, but there has been a lack of shows around here.  Fonda’s was taken on the day he finished his Championship in August and  Seans’ was taken late last fall.

Edie tests the slideshow option…

Okay. I cheated! But she looked so cute in the slideshow test that I’m sharing her this morning!

Carpe Diem! Seize the day!

Champion FFT Carpe Diem RN…

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Thank you..Thank you..Thank you

What a nice letter! Anna lives with my sister Kelly’s in-laws.
Dear Debby,
Just a short note to say thank you for picking Anna to come share the rest of her life with Don and I.  She is absolutely one of the best things that has ever happened to us.  Life would certainly be very dull without her.
She is my constant companion and I believe she was sent to me as my healer.  She came at the time I was deep in Chemo treatment and I know she was partly responsible for keeping my spirits up and helping me maintain a positive attitude.  She seems to know when I am sick and she immediately becomes my second layer of skin.
I am ever so grateful we were so ready to have a dog in our home when you were ready to place her with a family.  We love her so much and can’t imagine our life without her.  I admit that she is a little spoiled but she is just so darn loveable and cute, it just can’t be helped!!!  She is on a 3 week grooming schedule so she looks gorgeous  most of the time.  She is very playful, extremely friendly and most of all, she makes us laugh.
Happiness rules in our house because of her.
Debby, thank you for sharing Anna with us.  She is a beautiful addition to our household.  I can’t believe that it is almost two years that we’ve had her.  My, how time flies when you have something wonderful and beautiful in your life.  That’s what the “Anna Banana” at our house.
Hugs and love,