Tony Alonso's "Miracle AT IABCA"


 by Tony Alonso



Prior to writing this article, I need to give a brief explanation as to how I do things.  As a novice writer, I use humour and self deprecation to entertain the readers.  So far it has worked well...however; today I am going to write this article from the heart of a proud man who can recognize when he makes a mistake.  I will try to entertain but this one will be more serious than anything you will be seeing from me...


Life lessons, LEARNED, Miracle at the IABCA by Tony Alonso


 "Is this your dog?"..."Do you know the dog you have here?"..."This is truly an amazing dog"...All I could think of was "What is happening here, and how???" at the end, Sandy was right again, and why would I doubt him, right?  Let me start from the beginning...


I decided to write this today not because I have to, but because I need to.  The show is currently happening and today's occurrences are very fresh in my mind.  Also, due to a previous commitment (celebrating my Aly's Birthday - you know, the terrified girl), we won't be able to be there on the second day, so I will ask Sandy to add an editorial with the following day's results. As I write this, it will be extremely hard not to overextend myself, since I am still in awe of today's events.


This week we made the conscious decision of leaving today from Miami to Orlando to be able to attend the show.  Our departure time was supposed to be 4:30am, as we wanted to be there for Miracle's first show at 8:30am.  Due to unforeseen circumstances...ok, that's it, I'm lying, these were not unforeseen, in fact, and I predicted that we would not be leaving until after 8:00 am. So I'm not going to say I didn’t know.  Miriam assured me that we would be leaving at the chosen time, not to worry.  But as we always say, the best laid plans don't always work as planned.  I was off by a 1/2 hour +/-, as we left right before 8:00am.  Mind you, in my brain I was leaving at 4:00 am, so I couldn't go to sleep at all and ended up sleeping from 4:00 am to 6:00 am (2 whole hours). By the time we arrived at the show, the first one had already happened.  Then the "Miracle" took place, and my crow eating began...


While driving to Orlando, I was doing a lot of thinking.  Let me first say that I am not the most trusting person in this world, and although I was, and am, a big believer in what Chambray Labradors is doing to promote the betterment of the breed, and also of the knowledge they have gathered through 41 years of experience, I am also a sceptic deep down inside in regards to people and BS.  Please don't misunderstand me, I am not trying in any way to insult the Herzons, it's just my nature.  The Herzon family may not like what I am about to say or where this seems to be leading, but if given some leeway, it will all come together, so indulge me for a moment and let me put this thought together.   You will understand at the end...


Due to previous life experiences with people lying and exaggerating, or basically over promising and under delivering, this morning I somewhat doubted Sandy's opinion that we could show Miracle.  I, for one, have lived with Miracle for about 3 weeks now and know that there is no way that with all of my optimism, he was ready for a show.  It was just impossible...he is too freaking young.  Sandy was dead wrong...he is only 3 months old, almost to the day.  Why did I get myself into this?  Miracle is a nut-case, how are they going to get him fully trained in less than two days???  I want to explain that I am an eternal optimist, but I had a gut feeling that this was not going to end up well.  Don't ask me, I can't explain it...Still; all of this will make sense at the end of this article.


We arrived at the show and saw Miracle for the first time since Thursday, waiting calmly inside his crate.  We sat down "ring-side" and started watching the show.  Members of the Chambray family of owners were coming up to me and telling me what an amazing dog Miracle was, the way he stood, the way he walked.  Due to my early morning musings, I started wondering if Sandy had put these people up to it.  You can ask Sandy and he will tell you that when I got here, I was somewhat quiet and not at all myself.  Still, I sat there, gut-feeling and all, and waited for what in my mind was going to be "a total and complete disaster".  It didn't help that I felt completely out of place.  I am a football, baseball, basketball, soccer, running, etc, guy.  This was a contest judged by humans.  I have had enough heartbreak from my daughter's cheerleading competitions, also judged by humans, so I was ready for complete and total dejection.  Then Jessie and Miracle strolled in...


"Is that Miracle???” I said to no one in particular when I saw them striding into the ring.  I was impressed with what I saw.  Miracle was elegantly running next to Jessie, his handler, showing me a side of him that I had never seen.  He wasn't the doofus, Buffoon that lived at my house.  It was as if they took out his brain and given him one with a higher IQ.  I say this in jest because I did notice while at home, that Miracle was a bit smarter than I thought, although after having seen him in action, maybe I underestimated his capabilities, and thus Sandy's. 


The show continued and I was speechless about what I was witnessing.  I simply did not understand what was happening.  This puppy, this ding-dong, “owned" the place.  People were actually looking at him and talking about him as if he was a champ.  What were they, crazy??? 


Let me add that I have never seen a dog show before, so I am totally and completely unqualified to offer any opinion as to how Miracle was doing, but the walk, the stride, it was hard to ignore.  As he finished his routine, the judge called over to another judge from another ring...something was wrong, I thought.  "They are going to disqualify him for steroid or HGH use!!!”  Of course, I knew better...the first judge was awed, like I was, and had to bring in another judge to show off Miracle. 


Then, after she spoke to Jessie, she came over to us and said:  "Is this your dog?"..."Do you know the dog you have here?"..."This is truly an amazing dog".  Right before that, she had asked Jessie "you mean to tell me that you guys sold them that dog?" "Do they understand what they have?" (See "Keep the Best, Sell the Rest" in the website)


Jessie told her that we went to practice every week and practiced training the dog at home, and when she approached us, she asked us the above mentioned questions and asked Team Alonso's self appointed spokesperson, my 7 year-old Anthony, if he would help us train him, to which he simply said "of course".


Then Miracle proceeded to sweep the first two routines (in my daughter’s cheerleading, that’s what they call the parts where they compete).  I will ask Sandy for the correct terminology of the afternoon session, earning him two medals and basically earning him two spots for Best In Show Puppy and Best in Show Puppy Reserved, later in the afternoon. 


I was flabbergasted and utterly embarrassed (and still am) by what I had thought earlier, but was also too shocked to dwell on it.  Those folks who approached us were not only well meaning, but were also very truthful and just nice.  What a great group of owners has Sandy surrounded Chambray Labradors with. 


I enjoyed speaking to all of them and learning from them how lucky I was to have gotten Miracle.  They made a hectic day so easy.  Then, we had other dog owners (non-Labs) come up to us and reiterate what we were being told by our Chambray family...Miracle is special. 


In between shows, I saw Miracle do something dumbfounding.  He was actually walking another dog by its leash.  Yes, you read right, he was walking his sister Zeta, while holding her leash in his mouth, and he wasn't pulling and forcing her.  He was elegantly striding without the need for Jessie to hold his leash.  Who the heck is this dog????  Then, as Jessie approached us with him to say hello, Miracle turned into the doofus, buffoon that lived in my house...He was Miracle again...LOL...


Later in the day, Miracle went on to compete with other puppies and got awarded Best in Show Puppy, and runner up at Best In Show Puppy Reserved.  What did that mean?  That on the second day he got two spots to compete for Best In Show!!!!  (Sandy needs to correct any bending of the facts that I may have made)  How could I have doubted a man like Sandy Herzon????  How could I have doubted Jessie and Johanna??? How could I have doubted those nice people that were kind enough to welcome me to the family with open arms, with nothing but another friend to gain???  All I have to say is, you live, you learn.  Oh, and by the way, folks, don't underestimate Sandy's experience and intelligence.  As if he was reading my mind, he smiled and said to me "You see!", or something like that.  I can't recall exactly because that happened as the judge had left us and I was having a mental cramp.  Sandy can correct me here...


It pains me to have to come clean and say I was wrong; I am a very proud man.  However, it is up to me to educate my kids to accept that they can be wrong too.  I truly hope that those nice folks will forgive this doofus, buffoon...


To finish, today I learned two very important truths and remembered one important fact about myself:




1.      I don't know everything.  I need to be modest, as it is a good trait.

2.      When I sleep only 2 hours, I become a complete idiot and can't formulate a complete thought, so I begin with my conspiracy theories.




1.       I have NEVER had a gut feeling that has actually been true.  What may have seemed like a gut feeling may actually have been just hunger and exhaustion...or just sheer stupidity.  I'll let Sandy pick...


Thanks to the Herzon family and the Chambray family at the IABCA for making our first show, a memorable one...on my behalf, all I can say is: "Duh"




Editors Note: I have encouraged Tony Alonso to contribute his offerings from the point of view of someone totally new to the dog show world, although having just known him a relatively short period of time, I somehow get the picture that he doesn’t need too much prompting as he is the type of person that shares freely with anyone that will listen to those things that interest him.


 The “Doubting Thomas” attitude expressed by Tony is something that I have become totally accustomed to over the last 4 decades of breeding Labradors and placing my best show puppies with newcomers! So his easily shared, right out of the gate, blunt honesty is actually very welcomed because most of the time it will be months or even years before our clients will fess up as to how they initially felt when coming on board Chambrays Labradors Owners Community!


In all honesty, in the real world that is the way the vast majority negotiate something completely new and foreign to them. Apprehension and distrust is a way of life in the highly competitive commercial world we live in, as everyone is out there is hawking their wares trying to “sell” something or other!


With Chambray Labradors, not only are we “selling” a product (a puppy), we are also selling an all encompassing dog ownership idea! It is such a novel concept that at first many will question its validity and also the commitment behind the “it’s too good to be true” appearances.


I have a true “laissez faire” attitude about life in general, sort of to let everything and everyone find their natural state of being. I prefer for people to make up their own minds than to try and convince anyone of anything! I offer what we do and then it is up to those people that have researched and come to their own conclusion of what is valid and what is not.


I actually enjoy it when those that have come on board with our unique Labrador Retriever’s ownership programs truly experience the “realness” of it all, such as Tony Alonso has recently discovered.  


WEEKEND UPDATE: As Tony Alonso depicted in his article, they came and watch Show #2 on Saturday and witnessed their 3 month old puppy, Chambrays Miracle On The Meadow win Best Labrador Puppy, twice!


First for Best Labrador Puppy in the Open Competition and then win Best Labrador Puppy in the Bred By Exhibitor competition. These 2 wins allowed Miracle to compete in the Open Sporting Group competition and also the Bred By Exhibitor Sporting Group competition.


From all those great looking puppies from the different Sporting breeds, Miracle was to take a Group 1, twice! This now entitles him to compete in the Open Best In Show and also in the Bred By Exhibitor Best In Show.


From a spectacular line up of dogs from the different Groups in the Best In Show competition, Miracle was to win a Bred By Exhibitor Best In Show Puppy and a Reserve Best In Show Puppy from the Open competitioon.


It was true and valid that many exhibitors and judges were totally flabbergasted and perplexed that Chambray Labradors does not practice “Keeping the Best and Selling the Rest”, instead we “Breed For The Best and Place Those Outstanding Puppies With Those That Appreciate Our Efforts For the Betterment of the Breed”.


The Alonso family has two young children and made the trip to see Miracle and also to take their kids to the “park”! So on Sunday, while they went to the park, Miracle made history!


No only did he win 2 more Best In Show Puppy, 1 for show 3 and 1 for show 4, he ultimately was awarded the highest win possible at an IABCA show, the zenith of all prizes, the highest coveted award from this organization, the 2011 Florida Fall Grand Sieger BEST IN SHOW!


The first Labrador Retriever in the history of the IABCA to ever win a Grand Sieger Best In Show! This win came from a lineup of all the Best In Show winners from this weekend and past weekends. Including the

  • Rare Breeds Best In Show winner, both adult and puppy,
  • also the Rare Breeds Bred By Exhibitor adult and puppy
  • all Open Adult and Open Puppy Best In Show winners from show 1, 2, 3 and 4
  • all Bred By Exhibitor Best In Show Puppy and Adults, show 1, 2, 3, and 4
  • all previous weekends and shows Best In Show winners , including those holding Gold, Silver, Bronze and Ehrenclasse Best In Shows


So Chambray Labradors is proud to crown its very first Grand Sieger Best In Show Champion,


Grand Sieger BIS Ch/Int. Multiple BIS Baby Ch/Int Bred By Exhibitor Ch Chambrays Miracle On The Meadow!


In my true “laissez faire” mentality, I will just let Tony Alonso and all others to continue to decide for themselves who is real and who is a vanishing act!







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