Sunday, March 19, 2017



“Do not stand at my grave and weep.

I am not here.  I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow.

I am the diamond glints of snow.

I am the sunlight on ripened grain.

I am the gentle autumn’s rain.

Do not stand at my grave and cry.

I am not there.

I did not die.”

                                                …Unknown Native American…

Our dinosaur is  now with our Lord and all his loved ones that have left this earth before him.  This includes all the beautiful creatures that were such a large part of his life.  Some champions, some not, but loved and cared for as if they were. 

Although his writings will cease, the memory and the wisdom they contained will last forever.  Honor him by rereading some of his articles.

I do not have the writing talent or credentials that he had but needed to put this on paper for one final entry.  And I think when looking back over his life, our dinosaur would smile and quote his favorite line from his favorite story…

                                                “It’s been quite a party”
Sleep well my love.   Save me a place by your side.   We were all truly blessed… by this,  the last dinosaur.

Think about it!!!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Things You Can't See

Things You Can’t See

I’ve spent years writing about Collies on many subjects.  My writings were from the point of view of a conformation breeder, exhibitor, and judge so it followed that I described mostly what you can see.  When describing what’s important it’s always been my aim to stress health and temperament as most important building blocks for any breeder.  Without both of those basics you can’t have a really good dog.  There is more to be enjoyed about any dog than physical attributes.

Albert Payson Terhune who did so much to make the Collie popular stressed what’s inside a dog as very important.  Terhune knew what a good Collie conformation wise  looked like, but valued what was inside above all.  He wrote of loyalty, bravery, brains, and other things that don’t show as being hallmarks of the best Collies.  These descriptions helped many, myself included, to want a Collie above all breeds.  Now we know that some attributes that Terhune wrote about may stretch the imagination somewhat, but they sure sold Collies to the public.

If you know your breed’s history beyond dog shows you must know what the Collie was bred to do.   Way back in the Collies’ history was a dog who herded sheep, guarded the shepherd’s home, and acted as playmate for is children, This was a trainable dog who took being associated with people naturally and loved children above all else.  They had brains and loyalty which only showed in their actions not in appearance.  Would that we humans valued such things more in our own species.

In my years of showing and breeding I had two dogs who were campaigned, both of whom went BB at the CC of A.  Ch Jadene’s Breezalong has always stayed in my memory as the most correct Collie I ever showed.  Ch. Gingeor’s Indelibly Blue was a very correct Collie as well but Breezy was better in my opinion.  When it comes to hidden traits that make a dog good to live with, there was no comparison.  Hair was hands down a fun dog to be around and Breezy was a somewhat aloof professional.

They had been raised somewhat differently and that may have affected the finished product.  Breezy was whelped at my kennel, but left at six weeks to live with his breeder, Barbara Woodmancy.  At about five months I got him back as Barbara was moving to Florida and didn’t want him to face the heat.  He came back to me will trained, but had spent life as a kennel dog with minimal human contact since Barbara had a job as a nurse.

Hair on the other hand was whelped and raised at my kennel.  He had three young boys to enjoy and was a real extrovert.  When he went to a show he often watched TV with one of the boys while I visited friends.  Breezy on the other hand would eat, go for a walk and take a nap.  Neither dog had any trace of shyness and showed like pros when the time came.  Which one do you think you’d rather live with as a dog to enjoy?

I hear a great deal about how the Collie has slipped down in registration rankings.  There are many factors involved in this phenomenon.  What’s on the inside of our dogs may be something to consider as much as beauty.  The whole dog matters to the public when they shell out their money.

Think about it!

The dinosaur and wife, Phyllis, are facing a new challenge as I write this blog.  Apparently cancer treatments can have some side effects that take time to show up in an aging body.  We’ll give it our best shot and thank all our friends for their prayers and well wishes.  Getting older isn’t much fun!

Monday, January 23, 2017

What's Really Important?

What’s Really Important?

This dinosaur has written about lots of things over the years.  I’ve given opinions on breeding, grooming, and many other topics, but this short blog is much more important.

Shirley Schaffer, a long time Collie fancier, CC of A member and former District Director for Michigan has suffered a real tragedy.  Upon arriving home from a local dog show, Shirley found her home on fire.  In addition to the damage to the home, she lost four house dogs and possibly her cat which can’t be found.

This lady recently drove thru the Michigan winter to help rescue dogs from a Michigan breeder who had passed away and whose family could not care for them.  There was no reward, but it was the right thing to do.

Now Shirley is not wealthy and her older home was not covered by insurance.  This lady who gladly helped out dogs in need, needs our help.  We dog people may spar and argue, but in a time of need, we come together.

Please give all you can to help Shirley rebuild her damaged home and her life.  Things like this can happen to any one of us.  At such a time we’d all hope for help from our like minded friends.

Think about it!!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

News Update

News Update

The dinosaur has good news and bad news.  The good news is that after nine months of both chemo and radiation my bladder cancer is in remission.  The treatments had some bad side effects, but most of them are gone.  One that remains is a tingling and numbness in my fingers which makes writing very difficult.  I’m on medication to help the condition, but so far it still exists.  Without  a drastic reversal the cancer may have accomplished the unthinkable.

Most of you know that I’ve been writing the info “from the desk of the dinosaur” and Phyllis puts it on the computer as a blog.  Time will tell whether the dinosaur returns from extinction or not.  Meanwhile it has been great fun to continue the writing, which I first started in the 1950’s for Ken Martin’s Collie Cues.  Since then it’s been Collie Review, AKC Gazette, the CC of A Yearbook, Collie Expressions and CC of A Bulletin that have helped me spout off to the fancy.  It’s been fun for me and I hope for others as well.

Many of you know of the sad story of our daughter, Alexandra and her Bernese Mt. Dog, Liir.  After much expense and hopes and prayers he’s gone to doggy heaven.  A friend of hers in New York started a Go Fund Me page for her to help defray the considerable cost.  Along with many of her friends some of our Collie friends have chipped in as well.  Phyllis and I thank you all from the bottom of our hearts.

Liir, who was not a show quality dog by Berner standards was a dog to be loved and treasured.  We called him our big, sweet Grandson.  For over eight years he was our daughter’s very special companion.  The things that made him special were not conformation points, but unseen things that we sometimes don’t give enough credit to in our dogs.  If my fingers recover there will be an epistle from the Desk of the Dinosaur about special things we can’t see.  They’re not things that judges give Grand Champion points for, but maybe we dog people are missing something very special.  As Terhune might have written “peace to Liir’s bright memory.”

Think about it!!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Importance of Mentors

The Importance of Mentors

Before I hold forth on mentors and their importance to serious breeders, here’s a personal update.  Since December 2, 2015 our lives have been consumed by treatment for my bladder cancer.  Starting with surgery, then chemo and radiation therapy, it’s been a difficult grind.  In late Sept. 2016 we’ll do a PET scan to find out our success or lack thereof.   Meanwhile I’m feeling much better as the side effects subside and Phyllis and I are trying to live a relatively normal life.  Our friends locally and dog friends around the country continue to inspire us with prayers and best wishes.

A mentor is a teacher, a cheerleader, and hopefully a friend.  As people start into any new endeavor, dog breeding included, they must gather knowledge if they expect to achieve success.  The amount of information they can accumulate and their ability to understand and store it for future processing reminds us of the importance of the pupil’s ability as well as that of the mentor.  Some people can be in dogs for years and be exposed to paragons of knowledge without showing any significant improvement.

So how does the budding fancier select someone that they would like to call a mentor?  There are many criteria to examine before you make this decision.  What qualifies someone to serve as a mentor?  You might consider success as a breeder, as an exhibitor, as a judge, as a speaker, and as a writer.  All of these areas can affect the success or lack thereof of your selection of a mentor.  A person can be imminently successful in the first three areas, but if they cannot pass the secrets of their success along, then they fall short as a mentor.

I consider myself fortunate to have had several mentors  and  though they played different roles they all played important parts in my life as a Collie fancier.  Albert Payson Terhune and his writings created in me, as a child, the thirst to understand the Collie and the terms to describe a good one.  Also in my early days as a youngster I was blessed with a mother who encouraged her only child to excel at every interest he had, including Collies.

Because my mother was willing to drive me to Honeybrook Kennels of W.R. Van Dyck I was exposed at an early age to someone who had the knowledge for which I thirsted.  She also paid most of the bills to buy puppies or dogs who did not cover themselves with glory, but added to my understanding of how puppies develop and what a good dog looked like. As her knowledge increased she also bought the blue puppy who would become our first champion.

Terhune and my mother played important parts in my beginnings as a Collie fancier, but the big three were W.R. Van Dyck of Honeybrook, Gus Sigritz of Cherrivale and Steve Field of Parader.  Each one played important parts in my life in Collies and each one was very much entwined with each other’s success.  All three had qualities which would make them imminently qualified to be mentors.  Each bred dogs which won the CC of A Specialty.  Each judged that same show and many others of some note.  They each were excellent writers and speakers and proof of their abilities as mentors were reflected in the success of others who they advised and inspired.

If we start with the senior member of the trio, W.R. Van Dyck who owned Ch. Honeybrook Big Parade who not only won the CC of A three times but also was tied for top sire in the breed for some years.  A prolific writer, his column in Dog News was full of thought provoking information.  Steve Field whose Parader Collies were established on the feats of Ch. Silver Ho Parader as a sire.  This dog just happened to be sired by one of Honeybrook Big Parade’s best sons.  As I recall this dog was recommended to Steve by one of his mentors, Ed Pickardt of Sterling fame.

Gus Sigritz of Cherrivale got a start with a grand bitch from Parader named Ch. Cherrivale Parader’s Portrait.  When bred to Steve’s Ch. Silver Ho Parader she produced the CC of A futurity winner, Ch. Cherrivale Checkmate.  Further down the road Gus on Van Dyck’s advice bred to Ch. Gaylord’s Mr. Scalawag and got the multiple CC of A winner Ch. Cherrivale Darn Minute.  Interesting side note is that Steve Field put Mr. Scalawag BB at the CC of A and Van Dyck put Darn Minute up for his first CC of A Best of Breed.

Each of these three men were my mentors and friends.  My progress as a fancier was aided immeasurably by their ability to pass along what they had learned from others.  Van Dyck learned from Charles Wernsman of Arken among others.  Steve Field learned from Van Dyck and Pickhardt among others.  Gus Sigritz learned from Steve field and Van Dyck among others.

My first champion, who I co-owned with my mother, was sired by Ch. Cherrivale Darn Minute and bought on Van Dyck’s recommendation.  The stud dog who became a huge part of my success, Ch. Gingeor Bellbrooke’s Choice was discovered when looking for a bitch to breed to that first champion.  He just happened to be strongly line bred to Steve’s Ch. Silver Ho Parader.  Thank goodness for mentors and how they affect your progress.

I learned from all three and many others, but they were my big three.  I can only hope that all who read this share my good fortune in knowing such mentors.  If you do find yourself so blessed, be sure to give credit to the mentors who paved the way for your success.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Would you take a risk to breed a great dog?

Would you take a risk to breed a great dog?

Life is full of decisions.  As children most of them are made for us by others.  Even as we grow older some of our decisions are influenced by others and the myriad of laws that affect our lives.  At times it may seem like someone is always telling us what we may or may not do.  Many people thirst for the chance to be involved in something that they can control.  The outcome of finding such an endeavor will be influenced by their skill in learning and profiting from the knowledge of those who came before.  Breeding dogs provides such an outlet for people’s creativity and their desire to be able to do something largely on their own.

The sport of breeding and exhibiting purebred dogs is not without guidelines, but it does offer the opportunity to do a lot based on your own knowledge, observations, and creativity.  The breed standards and AKC rules are out there to point us in the right direction but there is still a lot of latitude for doing “your own thing.”  Some folks have even been known to stretch the rules just a bit.

Our sport has undergone many changes over the years.  Depending on your point of view some may be good and some not so good.  The sport for many reasons is shrinking.  The AKC registers fewer dogs each year and many shows have smaller entries with a few notable exceptions.  Specialty shows have been hit particularly hard.  Some of the yardsticks to measure success have been altered to reflect what’s happening and some have not.  In this area it now takes five Rough Collies to constitute a major win.  Some people still brag about dogs who finish with “all majors.”  The ability to qualify for ROM status ridiculously has not changed in years, despite the ease with which a dog can finish.

Back in dinosaur years it took around twenty Collies for a three point major, a stud dog was successful who had four offspring finish in a year, and that same number could also qualify you as “breeder of the year.”  Times certainly have changed!  Improvements in feed and fixing some problems like ears have created a tendency toward uniformity we didn’t see in the old days.  The big kennels offered some line bred characteristics which astute breeders could tap into and certain crosses performed very well, likewise some lines did not cross well and were largely abandoned in time.  To persevere over time a line of dogs must be successful in producing other families to carry the flag.

Most breeders have a tendency to breed safely rather than take chances.  They may start out with dogs from a successful line or create their own, but if they have success in the show ring, they tend to stick with the pattern that has worked.  Sooner or later everyone must go out of the line they’ve been working with which has brought them good fortune but needs help in some area(s).  Outcrossing is the biggest challenge to most breeders, but inevitably it is needed.  Ben and Joyce Hauser of Twin Creeks fame had the knack to incorporate other lines and not miss a beat.  Such success is the exception rather than the rule.

Even when making that needed outcross people tend to think careful and not want to rock the boat.  They tend to use a winning line or a top dog rather than take a chance.  Obviously taking a chance requires some knowledge and careful study of what you’re hoping to accomplish.  You can take a chance with a good young dog if you really believe he’s right for your bitch.  Barbara Woodmancy did and got Ch. Jadene’s Breezalong (CCA BB 1967)) for her gamble.  I took a chance taking Ch. Carla’s Blue Ruin (a complete outcross) to Ch. Gingeor’s Indelible Choice and got Ch. Gingeor’s Indelibly Blue (BB CCA 1976) for my risk.  No, neither dog was without faults but they sure were good.

Breeding to a dog with just the head and expression you love even though his hind end is not his fortune can work out well.  Sure it’s taking a chance, but if you get that one great one to carry on your line it’s a risk well taken.  Every risk must be weighed and the goal of the risk compared to the downside.  To sell a litter of pretty pets to get one CCA BB might be worth it.  Beware the risks that involve health issues.  You might attain your goal, but the breed can suffer from your choice.

This old dinosaur hasn’t bred dogs for years, but still deals with risks.  Apparently my chemo has been working out well in shrinking my bladder tumor.  That will still leave us with some decisions to make down the road.  All those out there wishing us well with cards and calls as well as prayers have been a great source of strength for Phyllis and I.  There are so many people out there who are helping us thru this crisis.  At times like this you truly appreciate the blessing of having friends.  We are very blessed and hope all of you are blessed with true friendship as well when you come to a difficult time in your life, it helps beyond measure.

Think about it!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Seize the Opportunity!

Seize the Opportunity!

Blogs have been pretty scarce lately since our schedule has gotten more and more hectic.  Doctor appts. and chemo treatments seem to take over your life at times.  There are things to write about, but not enough time or energy to do it.  The response to our problem has been tremendous!  We have a wicker basket full of cards and the calls and prayers continue to buoy our spirits.  Many thanks to everyone.

Now we’ll talk about a favorite topic of mine:  Seizing opportunity when it’s presented.  To have it work of course, you must be knowledgeable enough to weigh the opportunity and its advantages.  If you don’t know a good dog you won’t know if what you have before you is a golden opportunity or a temptation to lead you to disaster.  You must have done some homework and should keep learning always.  John Buddie’s recent article in Collie Expressions is a good roadmap for any breeder.  Read it!

Opportunity was presented to me as a breeder perhaps more often than most.  I’ve often said that I was blessed with many friends who believed in what I was trying to accomplish.  The fact that I worked hard and treated people decently may have helped me a great deal.  As ye sow, so shall you reap.  Learning to do things the best way possible was my passion and many Collies not of good quality were my foundation, but I kept watching, listening, and learning what caused success or failure.

The first really good dog to come my way became Ch. Windsong Dealer’s Choice.  This blue double grandson of Ch. Gaylord’s Mr. Scalawag (CCA BB) was sired by Ch Cherrivale Darn Minute (CCA BB) and he finished with three majors and a working group first in spite of my handling.  My mother purchased him and our mentor W.R. Van Dyck approved the purchase.  Comanche opened the door to any success I ever enjoyed.

When Comanche finished there were no tri bitches in my kennel and I let it be known I was in the market for one.  Enter John and Ada Giuliano of Bellbrooke who had a well bred tri bitch who just happened to be in heat.  OPPORTUNITY WAS KNOCKING!  A quick trip to Bellbrooke and she was mine and her litter produced the outstanding tri male, Ch. Gingeor’s Patent Pending.

The trip to Bellbrook took on even greater meaning when I saw the nine month old sable male in their basement.  He was gorgeous and available.  OPPORTUNITY WAS KNOCKING !  Two other breeders had first refusal, but didn’t hear the knocking.  He came home with me and became Ch. Gingeor Bellbrooke’s Choice R.O.M. the backbone of my kennel.

Now Patrick wasn’t lead broken when I got him so we went to a local match for training.  While there he was seen by Barbara Woodmancy who owned a great bitch, Ch. Gregshire’s Little Honeycomb.  She obviously thought Patrick was nice and bred the bitch to my unproven young male.  The resultant litter, which I whelped contained Ch.Jadene’s Breezalong  (CCA BB) who I showed for Barbara and bought when he became available.

Honeycomb produced in her second litter (Barbara gave me this lovely bitch - opportunity!) a grand sable bitch with ears a bit low. Van Dyck had a dog on lease with small tight ears and when bred to Gingeor’s Honey of a Choice gave us Ch. Gingeor’s Indelable Ink.  When Inky went res. at CC of A 1967 Breezalong was edged out for BB but Marcia Keller loved Breezy and got the lovely bitch she was showing for a friend bred to him.  I purchased Ch. Sontaw’s Trudy Fair when she became available. (opportunity)

The opportunities were now starting to run wild!  Ch. Sontaw Trudy Fair’s first litter contained the great bitch Ch. Marnus Evening Breeze and the good sire, Ch. Gingeor’s Jack of Tamarack.  Ch. Gingeor’s Indelable Ink bred back to her grandsire, Ch. Gingeor’s Bellbrooke’s Choice produced the notable sire Ch. Gingeor’s Indelable Choice.  He in turn produced the top blue dog Ch. Gingeor’s Indelable Blue who was CCA BB in 1976 my last competitive show.

Opportunity was also seized when Ch. Carla’s Blue Ruin (the dam of Ch. Indelably Blue) was offered as a gift from a dear friend, Carl Andrews.  You can see that opportunity is often out there.  It must be weighed and decisions made, sometimes very quickly.  Do these opportunities always provide the desired results?  Of course not.  If they’re not seized they provide nothing.  If it doesn’t work out, then swallow your pride, say I made a mistake and go back to the drawing board.  In 1976 my time as a breeder was over because of a job change.

My short time breeding and showing Collies was sprinkled with many opportunities.  Some the result of friendships and others of luck or coincidence.  When I thought it made sense the opportunity was seized.  It was my nature to look ahead, plan long range, and seize opportunity that fit the plan.  You’ll have to decide if it works for you.

Think about it!