How Sweet It Is & Purple Moons




Pictured above are

Int Ch (AKC pointed) Chambrays Summer Arrogance CGC

Int/UKC Ch (AKC pointed) Chambrays Greenhead Caramela CGC TDInc RN K9K SARA (Service Dog)


For those of you that have endured the marathon race of life as long or longer than I have, you will readily associate part of this essay’s title with Jackie Gleason.


“How Sweet It Is” brings images of the rotund funny man cracking the famous one liner and it still burns vividly in the crusty gray matter that still dwells in the hairless abode atop my aging body and that one liner, as if though a neon sign, lights up for me whenever something comes up that warrants special attention and celebration.


Such is the case with the recent placement of one of my girls! Bear in mind that to be “one of my girls” is in deed a very, very rare and special occasion. To be “one of my girls” occurs once in a purple moon that is being eclipsed and truly how often does that happen? We have full moons, harvest moons and the rarer blue moon, but come on folks, a purple moon being eclipsed?


So, you get the gist here about how rare it is for a dog to be kept at Chambray from any litter and to be given the “sweet” name of “one of my girls”!


So, let’s regress a couple of years to begin the trail that leads to this “How Sweet It Is” moment.


Read the following passage from an essay that was written by yours truly way back then.


"The little chocolate blur disappears in an ocean of yellow Labradors, in an instant little brown legs are seen stroking so fast that they seem to meld as one. It is evident that the little brown bundle is a puppy Labrador trying as best as she can to stay up with her bigger kennel mates. She maneuvers to and fro, out of sight for a moment only to reappear underneath 14-month old Chambrays Summer Arrogance. Once again the little brown dog darts back and forth trying her best not to be trampled by the seemingly gigantic dogs running around the “front yard” of Chambray farms. The frolicking continues for as long as I clean out each of the seven runs that house an equal number of dogs in the front yard of my 5 acre farm."

The preceding paragraph is from a short story written about a puppy named Chambrays Greenhead Caramela being introduced to the Chambray front yard pack where she is to live her life amongst other very special dogs that were chosen to stay at Chambray. Once again an occasion that does not happen with any frequency to speak of.


Now those folk that are part of the Chambray family of owners, associates and partners know exactly how special a dog must be to be kept by this breeder. So for those reading this article that are not privy to the inner workings of Chambray, a little clarification is in order before delving deeper into the meat and potatoes of this essay.


The goal of Chambray Labradors is to produce the absolute best in health, soundness, temperament and of course for conformation. Conformation is how well a dog adheres to the written standard for the breed. Of course to be competitive at the dog show events, all of the aforementioned attributes are a must and conformation must be beyond the charts to enjoy any success at all at those competitive venues.


Once we have achieved all of the above by breeding the best to the best, the goal is to “PLACE” those outstanding individuals in the most advantageous situation possible for them to show off those accomplished attributes. Notice that “place” was typed in bold, upper case and placed in parenthesis as a way to call attention to the unique process that is employed by Chambray Labradors with the best puppies from any litter.


Simple Explanation: Show breeders always keep the best for themselves and seldom if ever place their best with their puppy buyers. Remember the “purple moon” from way up above, well a top show breeder placing a top pick puppy with a buyer would happen during one of those purple moon scenarios!


At Chambray we search out potential puppy owners that have done their homework, have researched the Internet, have gone to dog shows and seen what is out there, have read every single page at the Chambray Labradors website, have asked a million questions here and there, have visited other breeders, have visited Chambray farms, have visited our training classes and have come to the self-awareness conclusion and realization what the unique venture of the Partners Program for the Betterment of the Breed has to offer and all the perks that come with joining the only Labrador Retriever Owner’s Program of its kind.


Once that potential owner is identified, they are then considered for the placement of one of those “purple moon puppies”.


Keeping a puppy at Chambray then goes even into rarer occasion, thus the eclipse of the already established rare purple moon!


Ok, ok, I made my point on the rarity, but I’m the writer and you have to indulge me here!


Let’s lay out some givens: I have a very, very soft spot and it is not a well-kept secret. Her name is Jessie and she is my 19-year old daughter. To say that she is a daddy’s girl is a huge understatement and if there is any doubt, go ask her mother!


There have been several times in the last 19 years where my “little girl” said to me, “Daddy I want this puppy” and instantly the purple moon went through the Earth’s shadow and became eclipsed, simple as a dimple on a dapple.

(Editors Note: If you read enough of this writer’s ramblings, that last little ditty will surface on a regular basis.)


So, we have laid the foundation for the keeping of any of the dogs that have been staying at Chambray and Caramela was one of those. She started out as a co-bred project between Chambray and Greenhead Labradors. A joint venture to produce outstanding chocolate puppies and the mission was accomplished with Caramela.


The next step was to procure the perfect placement for her for show and then Jessie stepped in and wanted her and she would stay here at Chambray (the simple dimple syndrome).


Fast forward 6 months and along came Maki Nieto Menendez who entered the picture with a Rhodesian Ridgeback that we were handling for her at the dog shows. This association would lead to Maki attending all of the training classes that we offer, from Basic Obedience, private training to all the conformation and handling classes available. Soon thereafter Maki volunteered to take dogs home and help train and condition for our other clients. Somewhere along the line, Maki asked for an in-home training project and Caramela was chosen for her to condition and train.


The rest is history as the two would form such a strong bond that after just the initial 2-week project, it became evident that they would be inseparable and arrangements were made for Caramela to live with Maki. There are several articles that document Caramela’s life and these would make wonderful reading on a real rainy day (see below). So, we have the first, "How Sweet It Is" occasion, Maki and Caro as inseparable souls!

This brings us to the present day of October 2008, and another of my “sweethearts”, Chambrays Summer Arrogance, another one of those purple moon puppies that was allowed to stay at Chambray at the whim of my daughter Jessie.


Summer was born August 4th, 2004 to the now famous Internet litter, the one that we photographed, chronicled and uploaded to the Internet as each puppy was born, the same litter that produced our shinning superstar, Am/Int Ch Chambrays Out Of The Ruff CGC TDInc, K9K and dog extraordinaire! (see below)

Carissa's Special Delivery by Sandy, Jessie, Ryan and Johanna Herzon.
A photo story on the delivery of a litter.


So, here we are 4 years later and a very similar scenario is playing itself out with Maki Nieto Menendez and this time it is with Chambrays Summer Arrogance. A planned breeding to Caramela would put her out of Therapy Dog and K9K For Kids operation for several months, so Maki has “taken” Summer as a “loaner” to continue directing and working the service dog sector of our Labrador Owner’s community.


Having a track record with Maki and how close she gets to her dogs, a decision was made to make this a permanent placement of Summer with Maki, as in Summer now has a permanent home to call her very own. Of course Summer will be sharing her new home with another one of my sweethearts, Caramela!


As another of my lifelong icon figures, Yogi Berra would exclaim, "It's Deja Vous All Over Again!"


Bringing us back to Jackie Gleason, as there can be no better way for me to express the placement of one of my “sweethearts” into a great situation than to pay tribute to the great funny man of the past and exclaim, “How Sweet It Is!”



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