This is an article I wrote for the VIP (Versatility in Poodles) newsletter - it explains a bit about how Electra came to live with Mandy and the wonderful relationship they have formed. Electra has moved seamlessly from being a top showdog, a great mom in the whelping box to a fantastic "mom" to a very special young lady.
Mandy’s Best Friend
I’m going to backtrack a bit before explaining the title to this article a bit more, so please be a bit patient.
The story starts with my girl, "Electra", Ch. Ridgewood’s Starlight Express. Electra is a showgirl. She started her career late by some standards, but I’m not one to always race into the ring with puppies – sometimes I wait until they are nice mature adults – or at least maturing young adults. This was the case with Electra. But once she entered the ring, she didn’t want to look back at any other life. She LOVED the ring, the attention, and the "public", the road trips. She would howl and bark as the van was being loaded; for fear that she might get left at home – HORRORS!!
Electra finished her championship quickly and had a very nice specials career, with many specialty BIS wins as well as group wins and placements. One year she was #6, in the U.S. Jane Myers approached me at a show in Perry, GA and asked me about the possibility of a white Standard to join her family, but she was really concerned, because she had heard that there was no such thing as a white Standard with brains and sensibility. HUH??? I don’t know which handlers she had been talking with or what lines they are showing, but *I* know for a fact that there ARE white standards with brains out there. I absolutely cannot take any credit for the training or work that went into the amazing accomplishments, but I will brag on Electra’s white litter-brother, Quincy, who has gone High-in-Trial at PCA 3 out of 4 years (one year off due to Lyme disease). Quincy has his OTCH and is also a UDX4. And I know that there are many other sensible whites out there too.
I introduced Jane to Electra, and they hit it off right away, so towards the end of her career, I signed her on as Electra’s co-owner, and she finished showing her as a special, and Electra lived and traveled with her and became a fixture in her motorhome.
Some of you are thinking "Jane Myers" ?? The Sporting Dog Handler? With Poodles?? What is with that?? Well, actually, one of Jane’s first dogs was a Miniature poodle when she was a child (we won’t go into what year). So Poodles were there long before the sporting dogs that she is now very well known for. And yes, Jane grooms poodles very well.
Now some of you might wonder Why or How I could give one of my dogs away so easily – well, it’s because I felt it was in the best interests of Electra. She is SUCH a diva, such a showgirl who LOVES to be on the road and in the center of everything that I felt that being Jane’s companion and a fixture in the RV would suit her personality better than being a couch potato in my house. Oh sure, Electra would be loved, and would be satisfied and happy living here, but not as fulfilled as being able to be on the road traveling to dog shows all the time and having people coming into the RV visiting HER (and maybe talking to Jane and Greg).
Jane has done the 3-day walk for breast cancer, and I’ve groomed Electra (or "Poodle" as Jane also calls her) to show support and generate interest and donations.
Electra was bred to my Vincent and gave me my wonderful boy, George – and showed me that in addition to being an amazing showgirl, she is an incredible mother. This girl is UBER-MOM. Yes, I still bottle feed, but only because of the hands-on aspect for the puppies, not because she needed the puppy supplemented. Cleaning up after the puppy? Well, Electra decided that was HER job, not mine, thank you very much. Even 5 weeks after giving birth, if I wasn’t there with a paper towel as puppy was pooping, she would be in there before I could turn around!
Jane and I discussed the second breeding, Electra’s strengths, weaknesses, stud dogs and decided that her second litter would be sired by Kay Palade-Peiser’s old man, "Caddy" Ch. Kaylen’s Cadillac Style. Again, Electra showed her incredibly strong maternal instincts.
Okay, Fast Forward to a couple months ago. I received an e-mail from Jane asking me about a new home for Electra. After I got over the initial shock of the subject line of the e-mail and read the proposal, it took me about .05 seconds to hit reply and say YES!!!! to what she was asking.
It turns out that Jane has a friend who has a young girl, Mandy that is undergoing several years of Chemotherapy. This girl just turned 8 years old and from the photos, just as cute as a bug.
She and her mom met Electra at Jane’s kennel (Jane and Greg own a boarding and grooming kennel as their base of operations in Thonotosassa, FL) so, when Electra is not on the road, she is prancing about meeting & greeting clients. Jane brought Electra over to her friends home (about 15 minutes away), and it was PERFECT.
When Jane first sent me the e-mail asking me about sending Electra to live with Mandy, I knew what Jane knew - that this was perfect for her. She is a showgirl, but watching her with her puppies, I know that motherhood is a higher calling, and whether it has four legs or 2, Electra would mother and care for a puppy – and Mandy is HER puppy now, and one who will stay around much longer than the cute little four legged babies – Even better, this "puppy" gives LOTS of attention back in return! And, Electra does get lots of attention that she thrives on.
Allow me to share some of the updates Mandy’s mom has sent to me along the way – they just bring tears to my eyes
>I wanted to say thank you so much
for the amazing gift you have given my
What amazing medicine, huh? Just 3 days, and the little girl is sleeping in her own bed. Now, as far as eating, part of that is probably due to some of the newer drugs Mandy was given for her appetite – but having an eating buddy to share your meals with would certainly make eating more fun.
And a new computer buddy:
This update was from September 28th , and a new Chemo protocol – the thought of Mandy losing her hair prompted the thought that a "sympathy" haircut on Electra’s part might help Mandy feel a bit better – so that is what the reference is to the new haircut on "Poodle"
>You are too sweet for words. Thank
you so much and I so hope you get to
Mandy’s mom has an on-line blog set up, where she posts up-dates, news, info, funny tid-bits about life. Here was her entry introducing everyone to Electra
Information about Mandy and what type of cancer she has is at her blog:
I know that I am terribly biased, but I think this is what Poodles should be able to do. Roll with whatever is thrown at them and take it not only in stride, but step up and perform beyond what anyone expected, because they are just an amazing breed.
And when we breed, we need to remember that we are the guardians and the future of the breed. It is up to us to protect the health, temperament and all the other wonderful traits of our breed when we are planning breedings and raising litters. Also, when our beloved poodles step out, they are ambassadors to the breed, and should represent the breed well, and we must be willing to answer questions and help educate others.
And if anyone has a Poodle with a great, stable temperament, please consider looking into a pediatric cancer center and see if there is a match. The feedback alone is overwhelming, then if you stop to think about the fact that you are actually touching and affecting a young life – oh, just not enough words to express the feelings, but plenty of smiles and tears of joy.
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