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Lhasa Apso Champion Wicket story!

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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 STAR WARS:  Wicket W. Warrick, the great grandson of the legendary Ewok warrior Erpham Warrick.  We all 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).  Warren watched.


LESSON 1: Things change, often for the better.


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 Michael.


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 bad, eh!


 Wicket’s championship win, crutches not in picture!


 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 on Water


CH EL Minja's The Wind in the Willow

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thankx Warren and Bev for this tribute.

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edited by Frank van Tatenhove




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