We started our quest to produce high quality, show Cardigans from very humble beginnings: no real dog experience, no knowledge of how to breed, newly married, and of course......with precious little money to spare! Even back then, once we made a decision and set our goals, we became voracious students. We "pestered" the top people, trying to gain as much knowledge as quickly as possible. Our phone bills to Brymore Kennels approached that of our mortgage. We have made many errors on our journey and have had many setbacks, including the untimely death of one of our early acquisitions due to an auto accident.
Back in 1969, we had a Cardigan Puppy that I bought as an engagement present for Doris. We decided to go to the Trenton Kennel Dog Show, at that time one of the biggest shows and with a tremendous general attendance.
That afternoon we sat on the grass and were watching the Working Group when a man tapped me on the shoulder. That man was Dr. Ed Mcgough, Cardigan breeder, judge, psychiatrist, and president of Rutgers University Medical Center. He shook my hand and said, "Is that a Cardigan you have?" From that innocent question Doris and I were both "hooked".
As they say, "Ed had me at hello." Soon, he had me fill out entry forms. It wasn't long before we made our grand entrance into the world of show dogs. Ahhhhh, that was a sight to behold!
I proudly showed my little pet, convinced that he was the best Cardigan that ever lived. He walked into that ring complete with a "fur saver" collar to which was attached a chain large enough to hold a lion.
When we think about that day we still laugh like lunatics. It just goes to show life sure is strange.
Before there was the second Sprite, there was of course, the first Sprite. Her full name was Ch. Wicklewood Watersprite and we were fortunate to acquire her from George Bud Reed.
Bud ran an all breed pedigree service in Bedford Village New York and he was an early pioneer and maintained good friendships with both Marcia Lopeman and Bud and Betty Hassett. The Hassetts were early mentors to Doris and I, and we spent many a Sunday with them at their home in Long Island.
Anyway, we had purchased our first show puppy form Betty Hassett and she became our very first Cardigan Champion. In one of our Sunday visits, Betty had told us that Bud Reed had a very good litter from Marcia Lopeman's top quality bitch Ch. Kencia Di Bu Canog bred to the great and first Cardigan Best in Show dog Ch Springdale Droednoeth bred by Hal Nelson and owned by Dr. Mcgough. In particular, there was a b/w bitch puppy that showed tons of promise.
Without mentioning any names we got wind of a rumor that said another long time breeder was trying to buy her. Without waiting to confirm that rumor, we raced up to Bud Reed's home and snapped her up.
Although she did die at three, she lived long enough
to produce Ch. Twinroc Caesar's Cadet a dog whose record helped to shape our success and
so when the second Sprite came along she was named in honor of her grandmother. She
lived on through the many Caesar kids and grandkids.
In an earlier accounting, I mentioned how we started with a "tap on the shoulder" while we were visiting the Trenton Kennel Club and being swept up with what we all suffer from, namely, a disease I affectionately refer to as dog show "fever"
The fourteenth show rolled around and lo and behold two bitches showed up and wonder of wonders, Rocky won again. The handler who had both of the bitches congratulated me and said "Congratulations, you won a point."
I obviously had a blank stare on my face, "What's a point?" I can still hear him laughing. He took me aside explained points, championships, etc. and that was the beginning of a 25 year close relationship with Mike Smith who became a mentor for my general knowledge of show dogs and especially my handling career as I learned at the feet of a man who had a boatload of knowledge to offer. In truth, I became like his son and I still miss him as we lost Mike about 14 years ago.
As a postscript to the Rocky story, I should
add that I was so sure of Rocky's quality that I actually wrote to the AKC that the judges
could not possibly know the Standard because if they did, he would never lose.
They wrote back that I was quoting the old and revised Standard. Talk about being
chagrined and embarrassed. Well, that's what we old-timers mean when we
talk about humble beginnings!
She wound up Best of Opposite.
Naturally, I asked the judge why he did not give her the breed and he said,
"That ear just kept hitting me in the eye. The next time you show her to me, if
you do, don't let me see that ear." Two months later I found myself entered under him
again, but this time I showed her BACKWARDS where the ear was on the inside with her
good right ear on the outside. Pow! This time he instantly gave her
breed. Unfortunately that very year a Siberian won the Garden with a missing
half-ear also which meant that the judges apparently did not want to set a
precedent, and so....... Sprite's injury brought a much too soon end to her career.
Now as it turns out, the handler was a close friend
of mine and I knew that he was only doing his job so I was not at all upset with
him. On the other hand I was incensed at the lack of integrity of the judge.
So, when I accepted the Best of Opposite ribbon I muttered loud enough for the judge to
hear me, "You are lucky I don't punch you in the
He instantly fired back, "Well I used to be a boxer."
My reply was just as instant. I said,
"Well you couldn't have been good at that either your nose has been broken at least
I expect to lose to a superior dog, but with my
competitive nature, it's really hard to stomach a loss to an animal that clearly doesn't
measure up. Yep, I've been known to lose my temper!
Sometimes timing is everything in breeding decisions. Although I have never been one to solicit a bitch for any of my stud dogs I had a "premonition" that Jean Clifford's beautiful bitch "Chatty" should be bred to Ch. Twinroc Max in a Million.
I placed a call to Jean to see how she felt about that and she said, "I was going to call you next week about that same thing".*
This litter gave us the following successful show dogs. Ch. Trailwyn Mae West, (Mae-Mae) Ch. Trailwyn Uotobinpics (Otto), Ch. Trailwyn Odyssey, and of course, Otis himself as my stud fee puppy.
Mae Mae was a multiple group placer and winner, Best
in National Specialty Show winner as well as All Breed Best in Show. Otto was a multi
Regional Specialty winner as well as a many time Group placer and Award of Merit winner.
Otis who was lightly campaigned was also a multiple Regional Specialty winner,
multi Group Placer, and multiple Award of Merit winner at Nationals
At the end of 2003, Otis was ranked in both breed
points where he finished ranked 5th, as well as in all breed points where he finished 7th.
His record was 67 shows winning the Breed 47 times. Not too bad for a
"part time" special.
This article is copied from the Twinroc Homepage with the kind permission of Paul and Doris Slaboda, Texas.