The Collie Question for december 12, 2009

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December 19, 2009

'Tis the season to give thanks for someone who has made a positive impact on your participation in the breed. Tell us the name of your mentor or a special person and how they influence (or influenced) your Collie worldview. What was the thing they told you that made all the difference?

Deadline for submission -- December 24, 2009

from Noreen Bennett

My special thanks goes to Peg and Jim Vohr. My first collies were from Gay Acres, Florence Roberts. My family showed only in Obedience back in the 70's and 80's. I decided I wanted to have a collie to do it all in the early 90's. I saw Peg showing her two big blue males -- CH Tartanside The Mariner  (Briney) and CH Raptorvale Mariner Avalanche, CDX (Lance) -- in brace and thought they were beautiful. I introduced myself and explained I was interested in a dog that should be shown in conformation and performance. I made sure I introduced myself to her any time I saw her. I was single, working full time and living in a condo with no yard. Peg took a chance on me and believed in me. She helped and guided me in getting a handler, etc. The result? CH Mariner's Poetic Justice, CDX, CAN CD, RN, HT, OA, NAP, AJP, VX, -- 1995-2007.

from Jackie Bullock

Joyce Dowling has been my mentor for many years. She influenced my Collie worldview through the many hours she painstakingly took to teach the correctness of head in every detail. She "schooled" me in every aspect of our lovely breed and pointed me in many directions to "look and see." She taught me the thing that made all the difference was "the face." Expression was her #1 priority! She spent years sharing all she learned to a very eager student. She has always had a very small kennel, but walked what she taught, every face there was and is lovely to this day! Thank you Joyce! God Bless!!

from Sheila Michalek

Lenise and Kara Adams of Donlen Collies. When I bought Mollie (Ch.Donlen's Total Package) they told me they would help and stand by us and they did that and more. I've had other breeds and breeders always say they'll help, but this is the one breeder that meant it and they went above and beyond. I couldn't thank them more for handling Mollie and making her a champion.

Donlen Collies -- Illinois THANK YOU!!!

from Lacy Sweet

I want to thank Corinne Zellner of Criterion Collies for all she's done as a mentor/friend -- she is a huge influence to me. I purchased my foundation bitch from Corinne. One thing that has always stuck in my mind that Corinne mentioned, was that fad dogs will come and go, but the Standard never changes.

from Janet Wood

I would like to thank Kristy Reppert. I lost my 12-1/2-year-old tri in July of this year. I began searching for a breeder in Michigan. Kristy was referred to me through another breeder. From the moment I made contact with her she was like a member of my own family. Perhaps Collie people are just one big family. The litter of puppies she had was her first as a breeder. Kristy introduced me to "Tyson," one of the puppies in the litter. He is a uniquely colored Blue Merle. Kristy and I spoke frequently as Tyson grew and was finally ready to leave his mother's side. She was so knowledgeable about everything from ears to AKC registry. When my family finally made the 200- mile trip to pick up our boy it was a very joyous moment indeed. We still keep in contact and I'm grateful for all she has done, mostly by providing me with the new love of my life. We share the collie bond and that is a bond not easily broken.

from Ryan Yaeger

I am lucky to have many "Special People" who have guided and influenced me in a sport that I really like doing. First there is Laura LaBounty who leased me CH Special South of Th Border, A.K.A. Pedro. He is the best collie a person could want, and without him, showing and teaching me, I don't think I would have gotten this far. Then there is Pete Denbow, who is teaching me grooming and a lot of other things about showing your dog to look the best that it can. Ms. Tuff gives all of us "Collie Kids" hints on showing, grooming our dog and ourselves and how to act in the ring. There are so many more people, some I don't even know their names, that have come up to me to offer advice. I am only 12 years old, but I hope that I will always be as helpful to any new Collie person as everyone has been to me. I also want to thank MomMom and PopPop and all my family for being there for me, I love you all.

from Roxann and Dale Heit

Thinking back there have been several mentors along the way that have influenced our views in more ways than we often realize.  Most of all we would have to say my sister Tracey Williams taught us to always look for balance. After breeding into the Marnus family, Marcia and Ron invited us into their home.  From our visits we have learned to look for head detail and correct expression. To this date, I find expression hard to define, you can not describe it until you see it. When you bring together balance and a beautiful expression you see the picture as described in the Collie Standard.  To this day, we still refer back to the Collie Standard: "The Collie presents an impresive, proud picture of true balance, each part in harmonious proportion to every other part and to the whole."  Expression is one of the most important points in considering the relative value of Collies.  "Expression," like the term "Character," is difficult to define in words.

from Beverly Schwab

My first person that gave me advice on Collies was Edith Levine. I bred to her Champion white and she explained to me how to test breed for problems in starting a breeding program. She was quite a lady and her theory was right on. My second person was Pat Shyrock (Starkweather). She was a very informative breeder and loved the collies. She always teased me about the tri that kept going over her tri male. I loved talking to Pat. She judged shows for POW and CCWP and did an excellent job. May she rest in peace with all her collies.

from Amy Skeels

I bought my rough collie, "Jonah" from Amy Gau of Rosepoint Collies in April 2008 when he was 4-months-old. She answered my many emails and phone calls, always reassuring me that I was doing everything just fine. She told me books to buy about grooming, combs and brushes to buy, how to do his nails . . . everything. But, the best thing she told me over and over was to have fun with him. That was the best advice ever! He is now almost 2 and he has his CGC, loves agility, is a "Pets for Life" dog and is getting ready to become certified for the R.E.A.D program. He is quite possibly the best thing that has ever happened to me and I owe it all to Amy Gau, she is an amazing person and breeds amazing dogs.

from Andrew Nelson

Both Suzanne Berggren of Nightwind Collies and Nancy Kelso of Kelso Collies have been extraordinary mentors.  Suzanne eagerly shares her experiences, knowledge, and passion.  I've made the hour drive to her place more times than I can count to groom and play with dogs and to enjoy Suzanne's friendship.  She's taught me much about dog shows, but, more importantly, entrusted me with her piece of the breed she holds dearly.  For this, I am grateful.  And Nancy Kelso was brave enough to trust this 22-year-old college kid with a wonderful 3-year-old tricolor bitch, sired by CH Kelso's Moon Dancin, HSAs.  Kelso's Trophy Wife, or "Tootsie," is athletic, enthusiastic, energetic, structurally sound, and has a beautiful expression and a beautifully fitted coat--exactly what I wanted.  Nancy's faith in me as a dog owner, willingness to answer my questions, and support in both conformation and performance has been outstanding.  For this, I am grateful.

from Carrianna Glenn

My mentors were Ralph and June Zink of Shenmoor Collies. They taught me everything they knew about collies and dogs in general. They taught me that even if a dog was not groomed to perfection it should be shown clean and well trained and in proper condition. I spent many evenings in June's kitchen drinking coffee and listening to all the wonderful stories of the great collies of the old days and all the different shows they went to.

The Zinks became more like my parents, they were always supportive and made suggestions in hope that I would do the right thing. We lost June this past year to cancer, I miss her dearly. Ralph is doing well at almost 90 years old, but no longer has any collies. He still lights up when you bring him collie pictures. They were true mentors in Collies as well my mentors in life. It is with pride I call them my friends and mentors.

from Marguerite McGrath

I have had the good fortune to have been mentored by several people in dogs. Two of the people who were particularly helpful were Marianne McDonough of Wyndfall Collies, probably best known for her dogs Ch. Karavel Sudden Wyndfall and Ch Wyndfall's the Titan and Valerie Nassetta of Paradice Collies, home of such beautiful dogs as CH Paradice's Along Came Jones and CH Paradice's Cloak and Dagger.

From Marianne, I learned that there are no short cuts to success. She stressed the need for long hours, hard work, careful training and respect for the people who came before me. I learned much about the mechanics of breeding and so much valuable advice about neonatal puppy care that many of the collies born in my home owe their survival to the knowledge Val shared.

I owe both of these ladies a great debt of gratitude.

from Theresa Uzelac

My first mentor in Collies was Bob Kelly (Glenesk Collies). Bob was the person who introduced me to dog shows, and showing collies. Bob helped me choose, and get started with my first show dog, CH Rosslane Lochlaren's Iceman (Rio). At the time I started in Collies, Bob had over 20 years of experience in the breed. He shared his knowledge, and taught me the basics. He was always there for me with support, and encouragement. He guided me, but also allowed me to learn from my own mistakes. The advice he gave me that has always stuck with me is to not follow trends. He said there were plenty of collie lines to choose from. Pick the line you want to go with because it is what you want, and pleases you, not because it is popular, or pleases everyone else. Bob is still to this day, one of my most loved and cherished friends. Thank you Bob!

from Gregory Alden Betor

I have been fortunate to have a number of mentors over the years but my first mentor, Carol Scherr, was of immense help.  She taught me how to use pedigrees; understanding that names printed on paper are useless unless you know the dogs represented by the name of the paper. She made me practice "going over" dogs to evaluate them.  And she insisted that I do so blindfolded so that my eyes did not deceive my hands.

Others whom I need to thank are Sue Karbatsch, Bobbie Roos, Barb Linder, Steve Field, Pat Starkweather, and Marion Durholtz . . . all of whom gave freely of their time to assist me in understanding the Collie.

from Diana Hiiesalu Bain

I have three very important mentors, Barbara Browning, Martha Ramer and Sayuri Harami. Barbara was my first mentor. She said temperament is everything. I have always appreciated starting out with this as my idea of a good collie. I've done obedience, tracking, herding, therapy, TV and print work, agility, and now mostly conformation. A collie with a sound temperament will give you their all in most situations and won't leave you when you need them most. I believe good temperament breeds good temperament and it should always be considered. Martha taught me a ton. First, what a clean, one-piece head felt like, and balance. All my dogs go back to her three main sires multiple times. Sayuri is a rare individual and I traveled with her extensively. She taught me there is always something good in a collie and she always found it. My foundation bitch Kaia came from her family. I love all three of these women a lot and am thankful for their impact in my life.

from Gayle, Katherine and Debra Guthman

Babbi Dilbeck, D.V.M. has proven more than once the power of positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement has shown itself to be remarkably successful with dogs, and Babbi took it one step further, using positive reinforcement with novice handlers. She never thought twice about handing over her remarkable tri smooth boy, Cole -- Signet's Black Magic, PT, RN, MX, MXJ, OF, VA, Major Ptd., -- to us so we could feel the rush of success in the performance ring. Her encouragement lead us to the performance rings with our collies. Babbi leads by example. We have also learned a most important lesson from her; good sportsmanship is a way of life.

from Martha Ramer

Terrie Parker, Cinderella Collies.  It wasn't just one thing that Terrie said -- it was many things.  I had been in Collies for nine years with little success and Terrie was willing to spend the time with me.  She taught me there is a whole dog and that one part flows into the next.  She taught me about skull and stop and how if those two things are in the right place, everything else will fall into place too.  Terrie taught me not to 'settle.' Settling for average means you will always have just that --average. Our times together with others in the motor home, talking, and yes, arguing too, were priceless.  Her talent and experience was way ahead of her time. I am forever greatful to her for guiding me in the right direction.

from Deb Chambers

My mentor was Helga Kane of Kanebriar Collies. From the very beginning, she literally took me with her everywhere she went, from kennel to kennel, showing me the most beautiful collies SoCal had to offer back in the early 1980s. I recall many wonderful afternoons sitting around her kitchen table, where she always took the time to explain the things that were the "hardest to get and the easiest to lose" in breeding.

She would, over and over, repeat a phrase that sticks in my mind to this day -- over 25 years later --and it has made all the difference:

"It is the presence of virtue, not absence of fault, that makes a good collie a great one."

I am very grateful to have had such a wonderful teacher and friend.

Merry Christmas and THANK YOU HELGA, for all the wonderful memories, helping me find Kaylie --Ch Kadons Debutante Cotillion -- and for passing the torch. You truly are a class-act.

from Cathy Keefer

Think and plan ahead; have goals and plans (long- and short-term) -- even though they may need revision along the way; look at your dogs and think about what you want them to look like before you take a thinning shear or scissors to them; keep in mind your interpretation of the Standard . . .and strive to make your collies better, not worse for your efforts.

But, most of all . . .

At the end of the day (in or out of the ring), good or bad, be proud to take your dog home with you!!! These may not be the exact words that Bertha Garrison said . . . but these are the lessons I learned from her.

from Deborah Rymer

My mentor is Barbara Cleek. It is not anything in particular that Barbara has said to me over the years, but more in her actions. She has shown me patience. I am so very lucky and blessed to have Barbara as a mentor. She has opened up for me the wonderful world of Collies and the people that love them. Thank you Barbara!!

The Collie presents an impressive, proud picture of true balance, each part being in harmonious proportion to every other part and to the whole.

– from the AKC Collie Breed Standard

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