I have often talked about where it all started; this dog life of mine. My clearest memory is of Jake; the amazing red Doberman that I walked into the show ring with on that fateful day. But in actuality it had started much before that day or most likely that one day probably would have never happened. I have other dog memories; some good, some bad but it is hindsight that helps me to see that it started way, way back when I was just a young'n.
I'm sure most of you remember the movie "Big Red?" Coincidently the movie came out the year I was born; but I don't remember how old I was the first time I saw it. The Disney movie about a boy and his life taking care of a beautiful Irish Setter; the dog was a big show dog and I clearly remember every Sunday evening while my Mother was in the kitchen making dinner; I was watching Disney. After seeing Big Red for the first time I wished each Sunday that it would be on again. I was smitten by the canine species way back then; but I didn't know it at the time.
Then there came "Where the red fern grows;" remember that one? Again the movie was about a young boy and his dogs; dogs that he saved for and the life that they had together. Unfortunately this movie had a sad ending but that didn't stop me from watching it every time it came on. I would sit glued to the television; imagining that boy was me and those were my dogs. The movie came out in 1974 which means that I was 12 the first time I saw it.
I'm sure that many children saw these movies; they watched them, were entertained and that was that. There was no "that was that" for me; I was transfixed, these movies held me and pulled me into them, deep into them. After watching one the effects lasted sometime, I was good for several months of dog obsessing after the fact. Often it would be off to the books to stare and dream.
Even long before these movies; I'd already purchased my "Know your Doberman." Followed shortly by "Know your Saluki." What kid even knows what the heck a Saluki is unless their parents are into showing dogs? These books were mere copies of one another with a few changes made per breed but it was all I could afford and I would stare at them for hours. My poor parents would be tormented by my longings until they finally gave in. After the begging and pleading from 5 children they could take no more, we got our one and only family dog. With the arrival of our dog; a toy poodle named Strawberry, I remember feeling a sense of relief like "okay I'm good now."
And once I met Jake I was again in the needing more mode. One of my most fond memories was that of sitting watching The Doberman gang; surrounded by a gang of Dobermans the night before a big show. I sat there alone; completely amazed by the movie and the turn my life had taken, sitting amongst all these dogs and Dobermans at that. I was in a good place; one that felt like home. And here I sit today; surrounded by dogs, not Dobermans but dogs. It's all about the dogs; it always has been.