Just when I think I have finished the website revamp, I change something. I had settled on a template I liked, then, at the last moment, I found the one I settled on, and am very happy with it. I hope you’ll give me feedback to assist me in knowing what works best for the general public.
In the rebuilding of this website, I took a trip through memory lane. I revisited Cher, our first Labrador, who was an awful example of the breed, but taught me so much. Most important, it was due to her, that I met Winnie Limbourne (Wingmaster), Donna Smith (Donally) and Barbara Davis (Boldcrest). …and the greatest of them all, Champion Bold Aaron CD WC! Aaron changed my life. Aaron was the greatest of all Labradors (in my newbie mind), and today, with far more education in the breed still stands out as one of the most influential Labradors in Labrador history. The day Barbara handed me his leash and asked me to hold him is fixed in my mind. Had she had me grasp the hand of the most famous person in the world, it would not have had more impact on me. Every dog at Blue Knight goes back to that dog. So many generations ago, that I don’t know who has had the most influence on my dogs, him, or my increasing knowledge. Probably both.
Many of my first mentors in Labradors have now passed on. I miss them terribly. It’s probably the typical lamenting that all people do as time passes, but they all represent better days gone by – a more innocent time in Labs. Those were the days when everyone laughed, everyone smiled, everyone cheered, everyone imparted knowledge freely, and they were generous with it. I don’t recall any of them referencing a dog in the ring in anything but positive ways. My friend and mentor, Winnie, told me “Never fault judge a Labrador [looking for the negative]. Always find the best features on the dog. Anyone can fault Judge, it’s cheap and easy. If you want to be a good judge of the dogs, find the positive, and the one with the most positives is the dog that should take the ribbon.” I will never forget those words. Every generation has “the greats” in the breed … people who have had an immeasurable impact on the breed. Just over a week ago, we lost another of the ‘old’ guard. I pray there are always those sorts in the breed. I suppose their will be, but like every aging person, I sense the best are gone. I pray the influence of each of them can be found on these pages. I tried.
I revisited in my mind, Sugar – our first Champion. I never got a puppy from her, and her only daughter (a singleton) was owed to a breeder for finishing her for me. The sale of that girl to another country nearly killed me, I’d have sold my house to get her back, but the choice was not given to me. That wound is well healed, and there are no bad feelings, but I guess there is a lingering lament. Sugar taught me so much, and was such a wonderful girl. When we lost her to cancer, her Veterinarian cried harder than I did. So loved was our Sug!
Adam! Ch. Blue Knight Classic Genesis. When I think about him, I can still feel the coarse waves in his coat. He was a silly, sometimes unruly, always sweet and tender with my grandkids. Always.
Casey, the love bug. His was the best temperament of any Lab I knew, and he passed it on to his many children. He was a clone of his father, Ben (Wingmaster’s Just Another Fella), and best friend to our grandson, Aaron. The relationship between those two was something quite special.
There were dogs we shared our lives with who did nothing in the ring, except shared our lives with us. I can still sense what running my hands through their coats felt like and remember the sad last moments with them. I could go through them all here on paper, or just lump them all together as memories of wagging tails, big-muddy feet, lots of shedding, silliness and love. I do not regret a single moment of my time with them, except that their lives are never long enough, and each takes a piece of me with them, and each that comes into our lives, fills the void left by their predecessor.
I look at these pages, and I can smell newborn puppies. That’s often how I remember each dog here. I know them from their first breath. Many go off to homes, and their families become family. I just spoke to one today. His family has had three of our dogs. His first when he was single, the next to he and his wife, and now, with two children, he has his third Lab. Another family, was a young Marine and his wife. I get photos of their children, one who has been to her prom now. They have had three of our dogs as well. Another couple has also had three of our dogs. I hear from them often. Not long ago, I received a email from a couple who included photos of their still living 15 year old dog and their young children, thanking me for a lifetime of love. Those emails make my heart jump for joy. We have sold puppies to famous people, and just normal folks, and each of them bring memories of first kisses and ‘going home’.
Labrador Retrievers have filled the lives of my children, and their children. Every one of our eight grandchildren have had a Labrador in their lives. The impact of the Labrador on my family is immense. Our family memories have, and always will, include Labradors.
I hope that you find, within these pages, a feel for the impact of these dogs on our lives, and that we have imparted some of the knowledge these dogs have given us, but mostly the love they freely give. If I have missed the mark, and you don’t find those things in these pages, I want to know.