My Bad Attitude

Eight days left in Lent. I am obliged to make a sacrifice for the season. Giving up things I don’t like – e.g. creamed corn or broccoli – would not be right. Giving up chocolate or ice cream, which I love, would not be sufficient either since I rarely have them.

So I settled on my music, which makes up a very important part of my life. And I’ve stuck to it. No listening to music in the car, the office or at home. No working on playlists, indeed not even looking at them. No shopping online for items to buy, download or stream. Nothing of that sort at all. I don’t think I’ve even touched a CD since Ash Wednesday.

Well, it’s been hard, as it should be. I ought to be offering this up in penance. Instead I find myself grumbling, “Hope you appreciate this, O Lord.” That won’t do at all.

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Speak of the Devil…

The aforementioned big fellow was Best of Winners, Best Owner-Handled and Award of Merit at today’s Lone Star Borzoi Club specialty in Fort Worth. With that comes a big, fat five-point major to finish. Val may now be styled Ch. Soyara’s Vala Rama. He joins his brothers Finn and Dan in the champions circle.

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Big Val

Val Major

The handsome (and huge) Val (Soyara’s Vala Rama) winning a major at the Alexandria KC show.

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Houston Weekend: The Good

Our intent for the weekend was to try to get majors on big Leo.  His performance with Gerry Thornton was improved but the best he could do was Reserve one day.

Carmen, who had just come into season and was puking and suffering from diarrhea, gave us the surprise by going Best of Breed three of the four days under, respectively, Keke Kahn, Alvin Krause and John Wade.  In a single weekend, she became a Top 10 Borzoi in breed competition, picking up some 100 points.

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Houston Weekend: The Bad

Last weekend was the Houston World Series of Dog Shows, in which Carmencita and big Leo competed (about which more anon).  Sadly we were involved in a sad and highly disreputable situation that resulted in my euthanizing a Borzoi whose owner didn’t want dead.

Early in the week, we received an e-mail from a Borzoi person here in Texas about a companion home in the Houston area that was having trouble with a Borzoi purchased from a breeder from the North.  The dog, two years old and apparently not socialized, was having aggression issues and, despite the owner neutering him and hiring a trainer, the dog snapped at her young son and their Whippet.  Clearly the situation could not continue.

Now for a breeder, there’s one and only one thing to do about this:  take the dog back at your own expense, refund the purchase price and, if necessary, quietly put the dog to sleep.  Instead the breeder, when contacted, said that if the owner got it back to the breeder (i.e. return it at the owner’s expense), the breeder would put it down, or the owner could put it down themselves and get a replacement.

Let’s be clear, no breeder should sell a dog who is not socialized.  No breeder should sell a dog with a bad temperament.  No breeder who sells a dog to a companion home should ever suggest that it’s the owner’s responsibility to euthanize a dog whose problems were caused by the breeder’s greed and neglect.

As this was going on and Borzoi Rescue became involved, I could see the whole Way of the Cross stretching before us.  And, in this sorry situation, that’s exactly how it played out.  On Friday, Madame got a call from the owner.  The owner had to get the dog out of the house, as it had bit their Whippet, and would be bringing it to the show to turn over to us.  Borzoi Rescue had sent us a surrender form as, predictably, we were the only ones available to take custody.

The Borzoi was surrendered to us at the show.  We told the owner that we would see what could be done and she left sobbing.  We thought that being near another Borzoi would trouble him less but when Madame ran a little test by bringing Carmen over by the crate he was in unfortunately he reacted badly.  With a breed as fast and as strong as a Borzoi, a dog with a bad temperament can’t be trusted enough to be placed in another home.  We made the hard decision to euthanize.

By this point, predictably, I was the only person available to do it.  So it was my sad task to take the poor creature to our vet and put him to sleep.  All friends having failed and comforts fled, I stayed with him as he drew his last breath; it was the respect he deserved and I was the one who had to supply it.  At least it was very peaceful and in his final moments he was treated with dignity by the staff.

There will be blood, buckets of it.  There was no reason for Madame and I to be involved in this.  It grossly offended my sense of ethics about how dogs are treated and how people should behave.  I am a member of the BCOA (which has code of ethics and guidelines for breeders to be followed) and so is the breeder, so I will be preferring charges.  Everyone talks about cleaning up our own house and cracking down on unethical breeders; well, let’s start here.

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News from the Show Scene

Leo Dallas

(photo by Malinda Julien)

Mr. Leo (Soyara’s I Wanna Be a Producer) is just a class dog with only one point and not much show experience.  Because Leo is a huge boy (34 inches) and Madame is vertically challenged, we gave him to Gerry Thornton to show at Dallas.  While he didn’t get anything out of the three days he was shown, his performance improved day by day and by the last go around Madame said he was really starting to stretch out and move.

San Antonio for four days next weekend, then Houston for four days with very large entries as well as a BCOA TSE on Friday.

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Happy Fourth of July

American Flag

Happy Fourth of July to all my American friends (excluding, of course, the social-justice Red Guards).  Whatever its faults, flaws and challenges, still the most dynamic, forward-looking nation on earth.

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A Great Career Comes to a Close

Dutch National 2015

Dutch’s show career came to a close at the 2015 National Specialty.  We would have liked to be the triumph of Lacey’s final show, when she won the 2006 National Specialty, but sadly he didn’t even make a cut.  As the picture shows, his gait is as smooth and flawless as ever.

Madame said he was the hardest dog she ever handled, so it’s a tribute to her skills that he ended 2014 as the #1 Borzoi in Breed, Owner-Handled competition and Grand Champion points.  Dutch’s last all-breed show was the Baytown KC show, where he got a Group 4 under Judy Webb.

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A Keen Couple of Cuties


(photo by Kelly Brunarski)

At the 2015 BCOA National Specialty in May, Carmen and Aida were the Best Brace in Show.  They duplicated the feat achieved by their brothers Dutch and Ilya at the 2011 National Specialty.  One litter, two dogs, two bitches, two Best Braces.  Well done, boys!  Well done, girls!  Well done, Madame!

(Note:  I thought at first that Aida’s feet were off, but both are standing very nearly square.  Not too shabby!)

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Big Little Town

Our mailing address is Rosharon, TX, a small crossroads off TX-288 south of Houston and the middle of the Iowa Colony-Rosharon-Bonney microplex.

This unassuming place consists of a smattering of houses, a post office, a gas station and, since this is Texas, more than one Baptist church.

Oddly enough, it also has an airfield for skydiving, a research center for Schlumberger, and the US headquarters of Mammoet, the Dutch heavy lift company.  Quite a little town!

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The Tall and the Short of It

Madame and the Beeg Boy winning a Hound Group 2 at the Kennel Club of Texarkana show.

Dutch Jumping

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The New Deal

When we moved from Cincinnati to outside of Houston in 2009, we lost our fiber-based internet connection and had to move to wireless broadband.  At first, this was through a mobile hotspot and the monthly quota was only 5 GB, which, we rapidly found, didn’t go very far at all.  Needless to say, Verizon didn’t, has not and will never put in high-speed internet at this location.

Madame and I got smartphones earlier this year and she also bought a tablet.  At this point we went onto a new data plan that spread 16 GB over all these devices.  Again, we found out that this didn’t go very far.  Even streaming video for a few minutes eats up more data than I’m comfortable with.

So where has this left this leave this poor little blog?  Not very well situated, I’m afraid.  Doing any posting to my satisfaction takes time and research and if I’m having to dole out miserly every byte of data I’m certainly not going to be spending much time online.

Recently, due to an unfortunate event, the situation has changed.  Madame had her phone stolen at Whole Foods; that’ll teach her to shop there!  She suspects that two clerks worked to snatch it when she laid it down on a counter and was distracted.  When she told me, I immediately had Verizon deactivate it.  It was insured, so a new phone was delivered for the deductable of $99.

I was at Verizon having it activated and they offered something attractive.  I may end up being a fool for accepting, but it helps the data conundrum.  They gave me a 7.5″ tablet free for $10 a month for a two-year contract and will now give us 30 GB of data a month for all our devices.  Since really it’s a zero-sum device game – it’s only Madame and I, after all – we’re effectively getting nearly double the data for just $10 more a month.

I hope this will let me be a little more active in contributing to this poor little blog.  Certainly, if few read it before, even fewer look at it now but that’s not the important thing.  Due to circumstances, my life is somewhat circumscribed:  I go to work, I come home from work.  If Madame is away for the weekend, I stay at home.  If I go with her to a show, I help her out but otherwise have little to do.  Not only do we not go on vacations together, I don’t even go on my own.

Not to complain about this, but things like Facebook help me connect with people even though I may never meet them and this poor little blog provides an outlet with which to express myself.  Between one thing and another, I haven’t been very active with this but I want to be and I’m looking forward to doing more here.

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News from the Show Scene

The Beeg Boy and Carmen went to the Nolan River KC shows this last weekend and Dutch came out on Saturday going Best of Breed under Dana Cline and later Group 1 under Pat Trotter; Carmen was Best of Opposite Sex.

On Sunday both repeated their placements under Charles Trotter.  Dutch didn’t get anything in the Group, but he did get an Owner-Handler Hound Group 1.  He also got 22 breed points each day, so after a single weekend of shows, he has half of what he got in two-plus months of shows last fall.


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Miracles Happen

Madame was out of town for a BCOA board meeting early in November and asked whether I would show Miss Carmen (GCh. Soyara’s Carmen Fantasy) at the one-day Beaumont KC show, as, apparently, the halt, lame and blind were all unavailable.

The entry was really just a favor to the judge.  We knew it would be a very small show because few people want to travel for a single day.  Beaumont is about 90 minutes away, so it wasn’t a big deal to drive over there for a while.

Carmen turned out to be the only Borzoi there that day, so we were Best of Breed by default.  We went out for a bit of a drive and returned for the Hound group, to be judged by Dr. Eric Liebes.  Rather to my astonishment, Carmen and I got a Group 3, defeating all of 17 dogs.  It was Carmen’s first group placement and the first one for me as well.  She may accumulate more but I certainly won’t.


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What Happened?

I’m back.

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