(1986) Big Bubba No Trubba CD: After 15 years of unregistered dogs, in 1985 I bought a big black Lab puppy for AKC obedience trials. Bubba was a natural, and at eight months finished his Companion Dog title with three 1sts, an average score of 194.5, and was ranked #50 of all obedience Labs in the U.S. A sad note: a year and a half later Bubba had to be euthanized because of a brain tumor.
(1991) This is Pilot, Sassy, and Baskerville on a summer day in Phoenix, as the tongues give witness. Sassy was my first show dog, and Pilot my first Cardigan. Baskerville was a "Great Irish Danehound," half Irish Wolfhound and half Great Dane. He weighed in at 160 pounds, and when he stood up on his hind legs with paws draped over my shoulders, he was nearly 6 feet tall. He truly was a gentle giant. (Happily, I inherited the dogs and cats in the divorce.) All three are gone now, but they were wonderful companions and I still miss them very much.
(1988) Char-Don Sassy Sword-Dancer CDX: With Bubba gone, a friend I'd met in obedience class suggested I buy a show-quality Lab and try conformation as well. So Sassy, a lovely little chocolate girl, joined my family. She debuted in the breed ring at six months and did beautifully, in the ribbons 95% of the time, which was not common for a chocolate at this time. She won three points toward her championship and a Best of Breed, but when x-rayed at age 2 was found to be dysplastic. I retired her from the conformation ring, spayed her, and switched back to obedience. Sassy earned her Novice and Open titles before I retired her to couch potatohood. I lost her in 1999 at age 12.
(1993) Char-Don's Cheysuli Arrogance NA: Keely was Sassy's breeder "replacement" for conformation. Unfortunately she did not grow large enough for the Labrador standard, so she was never shown. She became my first agility dog just as Agility was sanctioned by the AKC. In the 20" and Over Class, Keely won her Novice title with a 1st, 2nd, and 4th, plus another 4th place as an "insurance" leg. Now 10, she is very gray but still an active part of my canine family.
(1993) Ch. Kismet Cheysuli Wld Blu Yond'r CD: Ch. Kismet Cheysuli Wld Blu Yond'r CD: Friendship with a Cardigan Welsh Corgi breeder introduced me to the breed in 1986 as I traveled with her to shows, plus obedience and agility trials. When I lost my first Lab, Bubba, Debby gave me the chance to put a CD on one of her Cardigan bitches. By the time I had done so, I was hooked on the breed. When that bitch whelped her first litter, I took a big blue boy. Pilot finished his championship easily, despite the then-handicap of being a blue merle. Besides being the #1-ranked Cardigan in Novice Obedience in 1992, Pilot won many Bests of Breed, several Group placements, and was Best In Show at the 1993 Cardigan Welsh Corgi Club of Southern California's specialty. His versatility and intelligence convinced me this was the breed I needed. For 13 years Pilot was the patriarch at Cheysuli, and the foundation for many of the dogs currently in my yard. I said farewell to him in February 2003.
(1995) Lab Coats and Cardigan Sweater Glamor Photo: Gambit is the yellow boy on the left, my last try at a conformation Lab. In keeping with my Labrador non-luck, he retained a testicle and was never shown. He is a sweet, goofy boy who is the ideal "uncle" for my Cardigan babies. Next is Pilot, then Keely, with Sassy on the far right. Pilot and Sassy are both gone now, but Gambit and Keely are still very much a part of the family at Cheysuli.