The Impossible Dream
by Ralph Stroup
click on photos below to enlarge
THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM II
By Ralph Stroup
As I told you in my last article ( The Impossible Dream, the 1st installment) I was very skeptical about getting another dog, and even more skeptical about some of the people that sold them, as you know I made a verbal deal with Sandy Herzon of Chambray Labradors and he promised me a world class Labrador show dog (if I was willing to wait for the right one), over the next two and a half years and after going through many, many litters of his Labradors, two things happened; I learned that Sandy’s word was as good as gold, if he said it you can take it to the bank. While we waiting for the right dog, we talked in person, on the telephone, and on the internet on hundreds of occasions and my wife and I learned to love his family including all of his Labs. The second thing that happened was the telephone call to me that he had my dog ready to pick up, just like that, we waited, he delivered!
We made arrangements for me to pick up the puppy at the Chambray farm in Miami, FL on January 10, 2006. As that date neared I was extremely nervous as I still felt like I was betraying my last dog which I still loved very much, in fact I grieved so much about losing him that I lost a total of 150lbs. over a two year period. As I drove to Miami from Astor I wondered if I was doing the right thing, when I arrived Sandy told me to leave my car outside the gate and to walk in, he invited me up to where he was and told me to have a seat so that we could talk a while.
Sandy knew I was apprehensive and little did I know that he had turned the puppy loose in the yard and he wanted to watch the interaction between us, I noticed a little ball of yellow fur running around and Sandy told me “there is your dog”. I bent over and spoke to him and he started jumping sideways towards me, I picked him up and he gave me a kiss or two, there is nothing that matches puppy’s breath. Sandy said that we were an instant hit, he said that the puppy didn’t even act like that around his son Ryan who knows and plays with all the dogs.
After spending more time talking and answering all the questions I had, Sandy gave him a shot and inserted a microchip just under the skin in the shoulder area. He told me the puppy had one shot to go in 3 weeks and knowing that I could do that he put a syringe and medicine in some ice, he gave me a bag of dog food and loaned me a dog crate and I was on my way back to Astor, FL. On my way home my pup was in the crate in the back seat of my car and he didn’t like it, I turned around and looked at him and he turned his head sideways looking at me and gave a single yelp, needless to say I stopped the car and he slept in my lap the rest of the way home.
My wife and I named him Chief and we spent a week or so bonding with him which wasn’t difficult at all, we continued calling him by his name and one day he turned around and looked at me when I called his name. After making sure that he knew his name I started his training to take the canine good citizen test. After about two weeks I called Sandy who is an examiner to administer the CGC test for the AKC, I told him that chief was ready to be tested for CGC, there was a pause and Sandy said “What do you think you have, an over achiever”. I told him that if we couldn’t meet at one of the dog shows that I would drive back to Miami so that he could give Chief and me the test. My wife and I drove back to Miami when chief was only 84 days old, Sandy gave him the test using his entire family and some of his dogs, Chief passed the test. Sandy told my wife and me that Chief was the youngest dog from Chambray so far to pass the Canine Good Citizen test.
When Chief was four month's old Sandy called me and put a bomb right in my lap, he told me he wanted to enter Chief into International competition at Orlando, he explained to me that there would be four shows in two days and that it was possible for him to get his baby international champion in one weekend and that it would be great hand’s on training for him. I told Sandy that there was no way that Chief was ready for show competition, he said you get there a little early so that Jesse (his daughter) could work with him before the shows, he said she will work wonders with him, and she did. She handled him in all four shows on Saturday and Sunday and got four fist place Blue Ribbons, Best male Labrador puppy in show #1, best male Labrador male puppy and best bred by breeder in show # 4, making him a baby international champion in one weekend. Needless to say I was speechless; she had him gliding around the show ring like he had been there 100 times. Sandy was as happy as I was, it was then that he told me that Jessie was in the top ten junior handlers in the AKC and had already qualified for the Eukanuba finals.
Chief has been handled by everyone in his family and to date he has acquired at the International shows; One best of breed in his class, one reserve best of breed in his class, Five first place, two second place, two fourth place and on December 16, 2006 he received a Reserve Winners Dog to a 4-point major at an AKC show. He was second out of 59 dogs at 13 months old, what an accomplishment, and all due to Sandy, Johanna, Jesse and Ryan Herzon of Chambray Labradors, Oh, I might add that Jesse handled him at another International show in October of 2006 and won four more first place wins for his Junior International title, he now has 13 first place ribbons and is 14 months old. Sandy told me that he expects Chief to receive his American championship at about two years of age, and he will finish his Adult International championship in June of this year, I also expect him to get his CD degree this year.
Future AM CH INTL CH WINQUEST-CHAMBRAYS CHIEF STROUP CGC CD. Quite a handle huh, but all very doable and its all due to the Herzon family at Chambrays Labradors. Visit them on the web at www.chambraylabradors.com
I have one more article to write THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM III, be looking for it.
Editors Note: It has been an extreme pleasure to have met the Stroup family and now to have them as part of our growing family of Labrador owners. It means so much to me to have people like this be part of our Partners Program for the Betterment of the Breed. We look forward to greater things to come for this awesome boy in the show ring and eventually as a contributor to the breed.
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