Seth J Coblentz
Yuki Shows & Rumi Grows
Summer seems to have now collapsed into Autumn. The leaves are starting to dance in the wind and Yuki for one is delighted as she seems to think they are lively prey released in the forest for her pleasure. In fact, Spring seems to have collapsed into Autumn as there was little Summer of which to speak of in Central Germany this year (Grau, Grau, Grau und Kalt). The good news is that the first week of September has been glorious and the warm sunny days have already outnumbered the whole of Summer. I've always found the annual cascade of Autumn leaves to be significant and nostalgic. The crisp Autumn air is like the turning of a page, the beginning of a new year.
And so as we wave goodbye to Summer and say hello to Autumn, it seems like a good reflection point through the lens of our Japanese Wolfpack. Two of our goals this Summer were to successfully breed Rumi and qualify and register Yuki with the German Kennel Club (DCNH/VDH) for breeding. To that end, it was a roaring success. Rumi is on track to deliver no fewer than four Shikokus in less than a month and but for attending one or two perfunctory dog shows, Yuki is all but approved for breeding (should we decide to do so).
Dog shows are always a mixed bag. The critical issue, for me, is the subjectivity involved in picking a winner and judging the merits of any breed. It reminds me of law school exams and of arguing motions in court. As in Dog Shows, a law professor or judge is the final arbiter in electing a winner, a loser and everything in between. Given a different professor or judge, the results may be the antithesis and a loser may be transformed into a winner. So it is with dog shows and occasionally being stultified by the results. Perhaps this is one reason I'm drawn to more objective endeavours such as running, cycling and triathlon competitions. For these are purely objective with the winner and loser being determined by the impartial second hands of a clock without need for any subjective third-party to assess the results.
On the other hand, dogs shows are wildly entertaining when viewed in a different light. The spectacle of so many beautiful breeds in one place accompanied by their passionate (read, neurotic) owners and handlers is a sight to behold. It is for this reason that I was excited to take Yuki to her second dog show in Ludwigshafen, not far from Mannheim. The Herculean challenge in my case was that Kathrin was in the Südtirol with he mother and Sugu for her annual birthday tradition, leaving me to contemplate how very little I know about "how to show a dog." Thankfully, and despite the surfeit of haters in the competitive dog showing world, our gracious friend from Switzerland, Janet Jäger, was in attendance and agreed to handle Yuki in the ring. This relegated me to the role of hapless spectator, a role that I actually prize as it relieves me of most obligations. Janet of course was awesome, friendly, professional and brought out the best in Yuki. Despite Yuki being entirely out of coat, she was well received by the judges. There seems to be a mix of opinion over what the"Japanese" standard means among the judges, and Yuki was again deemed to be on the "plus size" in terms of height and structure. Given the heritage of Yuki's breed and my limited knowledge, I find this criticism risible, but acceptable since this is what we signed up for. Yuki's eye exam at the show was flawless, her hips are great, she is now approved for breeding (but for attending another dog show) and we are one step closer.
Likewise, Rumi is on her own path. She met her handsome prince charming in the German town of Zwota a few weeks prior. Her suitor, named Casper, is an excellent male Shikoku specimen. We were told Rumi's numbers, her hormone data, indicated this was the right time. However, and as is always the case with Rumi, she is the final arbiter. So with Rumi's reluctance to buy into her arranged "meeting," Kathrin had the honor of staying a couple of extra nights in Zwota. The hotel offerings in proximity were limited in the extreme. So she chose the fabled Hotel Gasthof zum Walfisch (the "Whale Hotel"). Though the room was the size of a postage stamp, the hotel had some gritty Eastern charm and was set in a lovely dorf enclosed by trees, rivers, formidable hills and isolation. The staff and food at the Walfisch were also superb, so check it out next time you are passing towards the Czech border. Both Kathrin and Rumi flourished in the environment and thanks to this meeting, we are delighted to announce that Rumi is harbouring no fewer than 4 Walnüsse (or 4 expecting puppies). Business men are optimists, attorneys are pessimists. I'm too much of an attorney and too pessimistic at times. But about this outcome and seeing Rumi produce some beautiful Shikoku puppies.... well, count me as an optimist.
More news coming soon and Rumi is glowing and healthy which is what matters most.