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Author Topic: Made a momentous decision- Jake is being campaigned
BannaOj
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I don't know if I can explain this well to non-dog people. But it was a serious enough decision that I feel the need to mark it on Hatrack somehow.

You guys know I'm into showing dogs. Cardigan Corgis to be exact. Jake my male dog, Ch Kingsbury's Copyright CD, is a very very good show dog. It isn't my doing. His breeder and co-owner is the one responsible for his existence to begin with. She let me co-own him while still a starving college student.

I don't deserve this dog. To put it in terms of market value, he is currently worth somwhere between 5-10K. And probably ~$1000 per breeding as a stud fee. He has arguably one of the best pedigrees in the country. Both his mother and father have each won both the U.S. and Canadian National Championships for the breed. His mother is the all time winningest dog in the history of the breed.

His breeder let me have him because she had a conflict between two unneutered males vying for dominance. And I have experience with obedience training. The Ch at the front of his name indicates that he is a breed champion. The CD at the end of his name stands for Companion Dog the first level AKC obedience title. I am currently training him for the second level title and he is getting close to it.

Jake is 4 and a half. In this breed a dog is in his prime between about 4 to 7. They have physical maturity that you don't see in younger dogs, and they haven't started to age into the "old dog" category yet. Jake's mother was still winning at age 10 to give you an idea of how good she was. His father is actually 14 now, and while he's slowed down a little, still has no major health problems.

Showing in Breed is basically a beauty contest. There is an ideal written standard that the judge is supposed to have a picture of in their mind, and they are supposed to judge the dogs according to that. Jake's mother actually is the poster dog for cardigan corgis for the AKC. If you go into a veterinarian's office and see a poster of all the breeds, the Cardigan Corgi in that picture is an artist's rendering of Maggie.

Anyway showing in Breed is very very high powered. I am very new at it. It takes years and years to become experienced and learn the tricks of the trade. I've barely gotten over my "stage fright" of walking in a breed ring to begin with. (I don't have the same problems in obedience but obedience is mathematical and has everything to do with training and nothing to do with artistic presentation.) Many people start showing as children and have over a decad of experience by the time they are 20. My three paltry years of showing is nothing compared to that no matter how hard I try.

It is also a chess game of politics. Who likes whom, who knows whom etc. There is a bit of corruption, but for the most part the unwritten rules are well-defined. The nice thing is that you can play at the level you are comfortable with and still have fun.

The problem is I have a top level dog, and my own handling skills are at a pretty low level. This is where professional handlers come in. At the top most are pro handlers, or equally experienced amateurs, but if you are that good you might as well start making money at it.

I have been occasionally showing him locally at smaller shows. Jake wins because he is that good, despite my handling. However, for him to get noticed and get in the national rankings, he needs to be shown a lot more and much more skillfully by someone who already has the correct political connections. A good handler can make a lousy dog look pretty darn good. When they have a good dog, they can make him look fabulous. Jake already has a ring charisma that is hard to explain, but he walks in like he owns the place, and draw people's eyes to him.

So I've been talking to a handler, who while she isn't the extremely highest tier of handler, is just one notch below. She wants to show Jake, because it is the sort of dog that she can win with and improve her reputation as well. There are different levels of winning. While he may never get a Best in Show like his mother, he is clearly capable of lots of Herding Group placements.

What campaigning a dog involves is a LOT of travel. She as a pro handler already has an RV that she drives from show to show retrofitted especially for dogs. As you can imagine it isn't cheap. This has been one of the things holding me back. However I have come to an understanding with this handler. She has cut me a deal because my dog is that good, and for a flat monthly fee, she will show him for me. I feel bad because this fee is about half of normal handling fees, yet at the same time it is as much as I can reasonably afford, and probably more than I *should* actually spend on a friviolous thing like showing dogs. People have gone into debt doing these sorts of things, but I refuse to. (I may try to figure out how to use it as a tax write off though.)

Anyway I have butterflies in my stomach today. I know I made the right decision, but the enormity of it is starting to sink in (though it may not seem enormous to a non dogshow person). I'm excited and scared all at the same time. The only analogy I can think that it might be like is sending your child off to college. You know you have done everything you can for them, and are helping pay the bills, and you want them to excel. But you've taken them as far as they can go and you have to let go and send them off on their own.

I know Jake is ready for this. I know he deserves a shot to be at the top. He is in his prime. But I've still got the jitters.

AJ

[ March 30, 2004, 10:32 AM: Message edited by: BannaOj ]

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Storm Saxon
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Man, do I love corgis.

Oh, yeah. Hope your dog does well. [Smile]

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Hobbes
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(((((((((((AJ)))))))))))

[Cool]

Hobbes [Smile]

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Noemon
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Huh! I thought that this was about me for a second.
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peter the bookie
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I'll be sure to sit him down and talk to him about life in the real world. You know, all the stuff he'd be uncomfortable talking to his parents about. [Wink]
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BannaOj
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Grin, his breeder named him Jake, and I really didn't think it was fair to him to change it.

I'm into sligtly more non-human names for dogs myself.

AJ

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Noemon
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Okay, now I've actually read the thread, congratulations Banna!
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Farmgirl
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I know this means a lot to you AJ, and I'm sure Jake will do great -- he has what it takes, from what you say. Certainly worth a shot.

I've been meaning to ask you, though -- does Steve pretty much agree with you on these kinds of things? Or does he disagree with the amount of money spent on the dogs? I mean -- I know you make your own money, so it is your choice -- I am just wondering if you get backing (emotionally) from him on your decisions like this.

Farmgirl

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Dan_raven
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Gratz on making a difficult decision. Its never easy.

But, gasp, does this mean your handler and not you is coming to St. Louis in May?

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dkw
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WooHoo! Go Jake!

And Go Banna!

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BannaOj
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We are *both* coming to St. Louis in may. I will be showing him in obedience. She will be showing him in breed.

Farmgirl I have discussed it with Steve. The money will basically be coming out of my discretionary spending that I blow every month anyway. This means my other discretionary spending goes to approximately zero. So I will be making personal sacrifices but they won't affect him or the household. (This was a very agonizingly thought out decision.) Yes it would proably make more long sense to put the money in savings. But the window of opportunity is now.

I beat myself up much more about spending money than Steve ever could. And he knows it. He is normally the one telling me to spend the money on myself. It may not be his hobby but he supports me in my decision.

AJ

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Dagonee
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Do you ever put a little hat and pipe on him to make him look like Sherlock Holmes? [Wink]
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zgator
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Is this completely a money-burner? If Jake does well, is there any prize money involved that will offset some of the costs?
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Ayelar
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Congratulations, AJ! I don't really understand the dog show scene, but I know what it's like to have a lot invested in a hobby. Good luck!

"Now tell me, which one of these dogs would you want to have as your wide receiver on your football team?"

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Suneun
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Very very cool, AJ. I'm glad you can do this now, before the chance is up. I read "Champion Dog Prince Tom" when I was a kid. Wonderful peek into the world of dog training. It's by Jean Fritz and Tom Clute... did you ever read it? You definitely should if you haven't.

On the other hand, have you seen Best in Show, the mock-umentary? I'm curious what you think of it if you have. It's a movie that came out in 2000. Funny, but maybe it'll hit close to home for you.

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BannaOj
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It is mostly a money burner. It is possible I might make some money eventually on stud fees but not so that I would get a return on it.

As far as Best in Show. Yes I've seen it. There are people as loony as the ones on there. It hits fairly close to home <grin> I would say in general people aren't quite that quirky but it does portray a fairly accurate spectrum of the social classes of people involved. They are generally good hearted people with a passion for dogs.

AJ

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Dagonee
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I've found that any group that spends as much time on their hobby showing a dog requires will inevitably have quirks that are amusing to others. Groups that can laugh at their own quirks are much more fun to hang around.

As a member of several groups with such quirks, I have to believe this is true. [Smile]

Dagonee
P.S., Good luck to you and Jake!

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DOG
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Hmmm...stud fees
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Derrell
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This is cool. Good luck AJ.
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Dan_raven
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He could always do dog food commercials.

Or acting.

Gee, I thought my mother was a bit odd trying to dress up her long haired weiner dog for a Dauschund Day during the Mayfest in Herman MO each year. (This year I suggested she connect a broom handle to his collar and go as a mop. She was not impressed. Last year they had a theme of super hero. I wanted to paint my Chow green and enter him as the Daschund Hulk. My wife was not impressed).

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Sal
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(Strange coincidence: Just after reading this thread, I heard on NPR about a recent study finding that the facial expressions of pure breeds and of their owners tend to be similar. Apparently, random test persons were able to assign dogs to their owners from pictures alone in considerably more cases than with mixed breeds. [Smile] )
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BannaOj
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It is probably quite possible. I think it would be fun to do that matching test. There are quite a few artists who have made lucrative careers characitureizing exactly the simmiliarities between dogs and owners.

The funny thing is, that these are short dogs. Dwarf dogs like dachshunds. Though they look like small german shepherds lopped off at the knees if you ignore coloring. They are supposed to be a maximum of about 12" at the withers

I'm not a short woman at 5'8"

Maggie, Jake's mother was shown by a 6'6" man, and his breeder is a 6' tall woman!

AJ

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Farmgirl
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Well, even with all you do for Jake, I'm sure you're spending less on him than I do on my kids (and several other parents here). And for now, your dogs are your kids, until you have some little ones -- so spend it and enjoy it. (Maybe it will show you how expensive parenthood can be!) <grin>

Farmgirl

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BannaOj
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Well as far as expenses for children. I'm not telling you how much I'm spending, but it is debatable.

I know I'm going to be spending more monthly in the short term than my parents ever spent on me as a kid (food, piano lessons and swim team fees included). I feel a little guilty about it. (I told you I beat myself up for spending money on myself.) But I know in the long run I would kick myself if I lost the opportunity through inaction and frugality too.

AJ

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TomDavidson
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I, um, hate to ask this, but why is this an "opportunity?"

*shuffles feet*

I mean, if YOU think he's good enough to be a champion, and there's no money or benefit to actually being a champion, and if he's in fact a dog and will never know or care about being a champion, why would you bother? Why not just tell yourself, "I have a dog that could be a champion" and let it go?

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zgator
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Farmgirl, you won't ever be able to collect on any stud fees for your kids.

I hope not, anyway.

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BannaOj
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Tom there are champions and then there are Champions.

You can say, well yes he *could* have done it all you want. But unless he actually *does* do it how do you know? I don't actually know how high to the top he will climb or how rapidly he will do so until he does. I know he is capable of being near the top, but I'm not sure where.

I guess to use a sports analogy, you can have a talented swimmer that is the fastest in the world, but if he never enters a swim meet, you don't have any proof that he is the fastest.

To mix metaphors further. I'm pretty darn sure that Jake is an "Olympic" caliber dog, and genuinely belongs at this level of competition. He isn't an out of place Jamaican bobsled team that isn't a serious contender. Do I know whether he will get a gold, silver or bronze? No.

Could he take Best of Breed at Westminster? I don't know. (Part of the complication is that he would have to defeat his nephew that is also owned by his breeder and co-owner and who is more famous at the moment.) Could he be a serious contender there? I'm pretty certain, but I don't really know for sure until I have the proof do I?

You would also only have to see Jake in the ring to know that while he may be "just a dog" he genuinely enjoys being in the ring and showing off before a crowd. The rigors of high-powered showing can wear on dogs. Some may be drop dead gorgeous but they just can't take the strain of showing every weekend week after week. Some thrive on it and for the most part those are your true winners. I believe Jake is the latter, (his mother was) but once again, unless we try it, we don't know for sure.

AJ

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BannaOj
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Also I guess Tom, the benefits are basically bragging rights and kennel prestige. He may become a popular stud dog; he may not. He does have bloodlines that if they were lost would be a tragedy to the breed. As a stud dog he has the potential to greatly improve future generations of cardigan corgis, even if it isn't necesarily lucrative for me.

AJ

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TomDavidson
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You know, I suspect that it's a similar impulse that prompts East Coast parents to insist that their daughters only marry sons from Yale -- and insist, for good measure, that their sons attend Yale. [Smile]
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BannaOj
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A side note. Even if he isn't bred extensively, he can still make difference on the breed. There are two ways to improve the breed. One is to allow a top quality male to breed to any and all females, even if they are lowish quality.

Then theoretically you will have helped up the quality at least a smidgen in the other bloodlines. But how long it lasts is debatable.

The other way to do it though, is to get him bred to the highest quality females possible. Then you have litters that are all high quality litters and you have an even larger pool of top quality dogs to choose from. But in order for people to want to breed their highest-quality females to him, he has to be out showing where they can see him and see that quality or he will fly completely under the radar.

Jake will actually probably never be used at stud extensively, but we want it so that when he is, we make it count by using the best females out there.

When you breed you try to match strengths and weaknesses together, so that you get puppies that are better than the parents. So no one dog is the right stud dog for every female either. And you don't necessarily want a dog to be overused because then you are actually narrowing the gene pool rather than improving it. Selective genepool narrowing or linebreeding is actually a tool that when used, tends to brings out the best or worst in the line, sometimes both in the same litter.

AJ

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zgator
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So will Jake ever get to score with that cute little Sheltie down the street or is that out of the question?
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Dan_raven
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Tom, why its important to Jake:

Stud.

He never competes, he don't get the ladies.

He does compete, and does moderately well, he gets some fine tail.

Jakes' just a Gigilo, and everywhere he goes, people know the part he's playing. They pay for every dance, selling each romance. Oohh what I'm saying.

But there will come a day,
when youth will pass away.
What'll they say about Jake

When the end comes I know
He was just a gigilo
AJ spends for his sake.

(Ooooh IIIIII ain't got no dogggie. No doggie....)

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BannaOj
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[Laugh] Dan_raven [ROFL]

In theory we hope Jake never scores with the cute little sheltie down the street, because she's a sheltie not a cardigan corgi... I guess I'm dog-racist then.

AJ

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TomDavidson
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Well, that raises an interesting question: what if someone asks if Jake can breed with their totally muttish corgi? Is there any reason why you wouldn't say "sure," given that Jake wouldn't mind?
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BannaOj
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lol. I knew posting this on hatrack would take it interesting places.

When a dog goes to a dogshow, its name and registration number is listed along with its sire and dam.

So if the dam is lousy quality, and the puppies are lousy quality despite the breeding to a higher quality sire, who is the owner of the dam going to blame? Of course they aren't going to publicly take responsibilty for it themselves. They blame the sire.

So the quality of any puppy your stud dog sires, is going to be viewed as a reflection on your kennel to a certain extent. If this lousy puppy then enters the show ring, and people read that your dog sired it, if they don't see how bad the dam is, they will wonder what the stud dog actually produces.

Most of the time, once the reputation of being a quality stud dog is already established, then you can get away with breeding go lower quality females, (which does increase your profits) because people know that the dog is capable of fathering high quality dogs. But starting out, breeding to inferior females isn't a good idea if you can possibly help it.

Make sense at all?

AJ

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sndrake
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AJ,

this sounds like a wonderful development for you. Like most others here, I don't have to fully appreciate dog shows, breeding, etc. to celebrate the fact that you and Jake are moving on to a new level.

Having said that...

Am I the only one who has been fighting the impulse to post big chunks of this thread to the "Out of Context" thread? Especially those that mention "Jake" and his breeding options?

*sigh*

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BannaOj
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lol, sndrake, notice that I have been very, very careful to use "females" in place of the actual technically correct word for a female dog!
[Wink]

AJ

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sndrake
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AJ,

I think we're all being awfully nice, especially since you're being so careful with your vocabulary. I wonder if Noemon is monitoring this thread still and waiting for things to pop up in the "out of context" thread? I would.

But we're all too nice for that to be a real concern. [Wink]

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aka
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That's cool, AJ! Breeding good dogs is a good thing for its own sake. It just is. I understand completely.
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Sal
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AJ, here's more detail.
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BannaOj
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hey that link is great! I'll have to send it to some of my dog list serves!

AJ

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skrika03
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It sounds like a win/win situation for dog and handler. Is Jake the only dog she is going to handle?
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BannaOj
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No she handles other dogs too. THere are two kinds of dogs "class dogs" which are non AKC champions and "specials" which are already champions and you feel are good enough to compete at a level against other champions.

The non-champions only compete against each other until the very end of the judging system. It is possible if you have a very good young dog, for the dog to come through the classes and then beat the "specials" that are alread champions. But it is rare.

A handler often specializes in particular breeds. My handler's other breed is Dobermans, which is far more lucrative than Cardigan Corgis. Generally speaking they will handle 3-5 class dogs per breed and one "special" per breed.

Right now she doesn't have a "special" doberman, but there isn't any point in showing one because there is a dog out right now that is beating everything in sight. So she will take lots of class dobermans, and several class corgis to pay the bills and take Jake as a special to compete at the higher "specials" level to add to her prestige.

AJ

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Boon
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"use it as a tax write off."

Yeah, I could *so* help you with this. Shoot me an e-mail anytime.

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BannaOj
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boon, sent you an e-mail! Thanks for the offer.

AJ

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Boon
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Replied to your email, AJ, and you're welcome! [Razz]
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knightswhosayni!
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Aj, this sounds like a great idea. I hope Jake's personality and genetics get him where you want him to be in the show ring.

Reading your posts, I've been thinking about what I'd do if I had a horse of comperable quality, and I don't think I'd do anything different. My riding skills aren't national level either, so I'd be in the same position you're in.

Of course... I'd have to have the money to OWN a horse of that quality. ::shrug::

Ni!

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Jaiden
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Research report: Do Dogs Look Resemble their Owners?
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BannaOj
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I would just like to say that Boon is the coolest!

AJ

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Mrs.M
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AJ, this sounds like a fantastic opportunity for you and for Jake. For the handler, too. Congratulations on this gigantic step!

I've been watching the Westminster show for years and it would be so neat to know one of the dogs competing.

On an unrelated, slightly derail-ish note, we think that Marlowe might have been dumped because he didn't live up to what his former owners expected from a purebred Shih Tzu. One of his eyes is slightly lazy and his mouth is somewhat crooked. You can't tell unless you look closely, but he wouldn't have been able to compete.

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