Lhasa Apso Champion Wicket story!
Twas the day before Christmas in 2002, and Bev Adams needed a ride to pick-up her
newly repaired Z3 from the BMW automobile dealer in Littleton, Colorado. The day
before, unbeknownst to Warren, she had seen a very cute new puppy for sale at a Pet
Store in the nearby South Glen Shopping Mall. That day was the first time in over 10
years that she had the courage and the will to look at another dog, ever since her
best friend and companion dog, Charmer, a Collie, had died of a sudden illness.
With an unspoken motive in mind, Bev asked her husband to drive her to pick up the
car, and on the way back, she said she had to stop at the Mall to pick-up a pair of
eyeglasses. Warren accompanied her, and to his surprise, she stopped at the pet store
and said “let’s look at the puppies”. She steered Warren to a certain area to look at
a very cute 8-week old beagle she had seen the day before. Warren said beagles are
really nice, but they need lots of room and they love to run away from home to
explore, chase rabbits, visit all the dogs in the area, and so on. Low and behold,
the beagle WAS GONE, SOLD the day before to some creep! But then Bev saw another
even nicer puppy with a little curly tail. She asked the owner of the store “What is
that, can I play with him?” Yes, he said, it’s a Lhasa Apso, and handed the pup to
Bev. Not surprisingly, it was love at first sight, an instant mutual attraction
began. Bev wanted to buy the puppy right away, but Warren, aka DUMBO, the #*@& lousy
bum, said “if you want a Lhasa, it’s better to find a breeder, meet the mother and
father of the puppies, and make a decision knowing more about the dogs’ breeding,
health, and home.” “Also, many dogs in pet stores come from puppy farms, and they are
not bred under ideal conditions.” Bev and Warren left together, and Bev was
disappointed (another way of saying really pissed off). SHE WANTED A PUPPY, NOW. And
she was not happy at all with DUMBO/Warren. “My previous male friend would have
bought him for me!!!”
The day after Christmas, Bev called the pet shop, and asked if the Lhasa was still
available. The owner said “Are you kidding lady, we sell every dog we have on
Christmas Eve!” Turning to Warren, and using some very direct and EXPLICIT language
she usually doesn’t use, she expressed her opinion concerning the a-hole who didn’t
buy the puppy two days before. Warren began an emergency trek, a new mission. He
contacted the American Kennel Club, every Lhasa breeder he could find on the internet,
and the Yellow Pages to find out what was a Lhasa, where could we see some, and were
there any for sale.
The AKC had a good description of the breed and pictures of full grown Lhasa’s. It
looked interesting, but neither Bev nor Warren was familiar with the breed, and
probably had never seen one before their pet store visit. “Is this what you want?” he
asked Bev. No answer. Duh! Warren found the head of the Colorado Lhasa Apso Club,
he called and left a message “are there any Lhasa’s for sale?” The call was returned
a day or so later. At this point, despite her shyness (ho ho), Bev took over!!! She
was given two numbers, one for a Fran Strayer, the other for Trudy Lasart. Bev
called both, and appointments were made to visit and see their two litters born in
early December. One visit was made on December 28, the other on December 29. Dumbo
brought his check book knowing the Bev was on a holy mission!
Of course by this time, the best of the litters were already committed to Fran, Trudy
and others who had a clue, and Bev and Warren didn’t have a real clue what they
wanted, and why. On the second visit, to see Trudy’s litter, all the pups were
already committed except two, one of whom had a hernia that would require surgery, and
the other, “Theodore” who was the #6 of the litter, the runt. “Willow”, the pups’
“Mom”, and Trudy let all the pups out to play with the neophyte visitors.
Immediately, the littlest guy crawled over to Bev, who was sitting on the floor, and
curled up on her leg. Lucky guy! The deal was sealed, “I want this one” Bev declared
(or demanded), a deposit check was given, and arrangements were made for the purchase,
and for the pick-up in mid-March 2003.
The name “Wicket of the Willow” was chosen by the family in
March after a week’s debate among Bev, Warren and Kelly Adams. How? See
W. Warrick, the great grandson of the legendary Ewok warrior Erpham Warrick.
thought the little guy looked like an Ewok. So now our PET had a name. There was
NO expectation of a “show dog”, he was destined for petdom. We had no knowledge
of grooming or showing. Made a visit to the vet for a health check: “nice puppy”.
The following week we had three feet of snow
(one meter). The squirt Wicket loved to climb to the top of the piles of snow and
tunnel down under the snow only to re-appear elsewhere from his tunnel. The cutest
and most precious dog was ours, was fun, and was happy. What a pet!
Two months later, Fran called to inquire how
our pet was doing. Bring him over and I will show you how to groom him, she said.
Groom? Opposite of bride? Oh well, let’s go. In the time between his birth and May,
Wicket had GROWN. No longer the runt, he was now a very BIG BOY. Also, Fran had
assumed we would neuter the pet (ouch!). She asked if we had done so, we said no, and
she said good, you may want to consider showing him, he’s a nice dog. Bev naturally
became a great groomer, and Wicket became an EXTRA LARGE SIZE (19.8 lbs, 9 kgs).
LESSON 1: Things change, often for the
Bev took the Big W to a couple of informal
conformation lessons to teach him how to walk straight and turn corners, and let a
“judge” touch and look at him. No big deal. In September, Bev completed an entry
form for their first dog show, the Southern Colorado Kennel Club (Pueblo, CO.) show in
November. Somehow, we managed to complete the entry form erroneously, and the entry
was REJECTED!!!. “Let’s sue them!” They can’t reject US and our puppy!!! Then, one
of Bev’s client said don’t worry about that silly dog show, go to Boston in December,
it’s a really big show, you’ll have a better time, and the clients (who have show
dogs) will be there, too. So Bev and Wicket flew to Boston from Denver, and Warren
met them by car at the airport as Warren was already working on the East Coast. The
only dog equipment was an empty dog cage shipped as baggage,
And one comb and one brush. Twelve month
old Wicket was in a Sherpa bag in the airplane cabin with Bev. Warren waited in the
baggage claim for them to arrive. The dog cage appeared (empty!), and the baggage
handlers went berserk. “Where’s the dog” and they began searching the area! I
explained there was no dog, and the handler’s exhaled. And put a GIANT sign on the
cage, EMPTY to cover the Live Animal sign.
So we went to the hotel and to the dog show
the next day equipped with one puppy, one brush, one comb and hairspray.
Oh my goodness, what a big dog show! And it
started to snow. Thousands of dogs! Of course, as it was the first dog show for all
of us, we had not reserved a grooming space, didn’t know what one was, had no grooming
table and no knowledge what to do! Boston is one of the largest shows in the States!
Panic! Clients came by to help. Client went and bought us a grooming table! Client
went and brought over to us 2 of the best known and most accomplished professional dog
handlers to give Bev an instant dog handling lesson. “Here, let me take Wicket and
show you what to do.” Michael Scott, the nationally known champion handler, took
Wicket to a space where they could practice and Bev cold observe. Wicket took one
look at Michael and gave him the traditional Lhasa finger- I ain’t going anywhere with
you Bud, and Wicket refused to move! The other professional handler, Michelle
Ostermeyer, was busy grooming Josh, the Newfoundland. (Oh yeah, Josh and Michelle won
Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show 2 months later! Michelle and
Josh’s owners made room for Wicket in their grooming area, and the die was cast.
Competitive Bev would show Wicket. Wicket liked Josh. Josh loved everything and
everybody. Wicket was happy. Bev was ready! So what happened? Wicket won 17
ribbons over 4 days, including best puppy, best male puppy, best of opposite, and even
ONE BEST OF BREED! He even had a shot at his first group placement, and nearly was
picked, but the judge said later he hesitated to pick a puppy for a group award.
LESSON 2: Rejection of an entry does not
have to be a bad thing!
LESSON 3: Snow is okay, even if it snowed
all 4 days we were in Boston.
LESSON 4: Hanging out with very good and
helpful people is good. Thanks Fran and everyone who helped.
LESSON 5: Bev handles Wicket, not you
Wicket and Bev returned to Denver, completed
all future entries correctly and went to dog shows. They won several winners dog,
several opposites, and some breeds. Other than the Boston trip, Wicket never traveled
more than 100 miles from Denver. In December 2004, Bev had a bad skiing accident and
broke her pelvis. She could not walk without crutches. In February 2005, we went
with the aforementioned clients to the Westminster show. Their German Short Haired
Retriever, Carlee, won Best in Show, Michelle was the handler winning BIS two years in
a row! The next week, Bev stood her crutches against a steel girder, went into the
Denver ring without them, and finished Wicket!
LESSON 6: Never underestimate the runt of
the litter, and never underestimate a woman, especially if it is Bev! And guess what,
Wicket has fathered a champion litter, we’ve met some of the great Lhasa breeders in
the US, and Frank & Sylvia from EL Minja's Lhasa Apso kennel , from the Netherlands
now have gesuu
And here’s a picture or two, including
Wicket’s Best of Winners/Best of Breed picture, at the Southern Colorado Kennel Club
in Pueblo, CO. (take that for rejecting our entry!) before her broken pelvis, and New
Champion below with broken pelvis and a smile!
Two years from neophyte to champion, not
Wicket’s championship win, crutches not in
Wicket 3 years old
Wicket took second place at the National
Specialty Show in Bred by Exhibitor category handled by Fran Strayer.
Wicket the 13 week old puppy.
Bev and Wicket’s win at Pueblo, CO.
Wicket and his daughter Ali. Their first family win.
Wicket is sired by
CH EL Minja's Walk
CH EL Minja's The
Wind in the Willow
thankx Warren and
Bev for this tribute.
edited by Frank van Tatenhove