My husband and I are "celebrating" the new year by staying home, watching tv (him) and reading (me). I am taking a break from my book to send you new year's best wishes.
It's is super cold here. The weather report said a minus 5 degrees with wind chills at minus 30 something degrees. No way am I going outside in this cold!
As I was thinking about writing this particular post, I decided to go back in time and write about how Joyslyn's Lhasa Apsos got its start. Many puppy buyers and others we meet ask us how it all began, so here goes:
How, you might ask, do two people who had mixed-breed dogs while they were growing up end up owning, breeding, showing, and loving Lhasa Apsos for 45 years? Well, believe it or not, it all started with an encyclopedia salesman!
Shortly after our marriage, Lynn and I were besieged by door-to-door salesmen who tried to sell us all kinds of things we couldn't afford. (We were in our last year of college.) One of those salesman succeeded in selling us a set of encyclopedias. We both had grown up with dogs as part of our families and knew we wanted to have a dog. The "Dogs" section of that encyclopedia happened to have a very nice picture of a Lhasa Apso in it. Now, if you have ever looked at some of the older Lhasa Apso resources, you would know that some of the pictures of the dogs were not very attractive. So, I suppose if I'd seen one of those photos first I wouldn't be where I am today in the Lhasa world.
After we graduated from college, I landed my first teaching job at a high school in Durant, Iowa. With my first paycheck, we bought a refrigerator (Harvest Gold, all the rage in 1970's appliance colors!). When the second paycheck arrived, we bought a dog, our first Lhasa Apso, whom we named Joyslyn's Pheebe. We'd seen an ad for Lhasa Apsos at a nearby kennel. Of course, other than the picture in the encyclopedia, we knew nothing about the breed. We did, however, know how to pronounce its name correctly from the start!
So Pheebe came home with us. An adorable grizzle Lhasa puppy, she soon won our hearts. We had to have another! So…with my third paycheck, Pheebe was soon joined by Joyslyn's Miss Buffy Jo. What a pair they were!
|Our first two Lhasas, Buffy (left) and Pheebe (right)|
We learned by reading what few resources about the Lhasa were available at that time. One day in the summer of 1973, shortly after we moved to David City, Nebraska, Lynn commented that he thought Buffy had potential as a show dog and we should look into showing. (He probably has regretted that statement many times over the years because if he grumbles about the dogs, I quickly remind him whose idea it was to start showing.)
Based on our totally novice evaluation of Pheebe and Buffy, the first dog I tried to show was Joyslyn's Miss Buffy Jo. Please note that I said "tried." Buffy was beautiful (and knew it) and nicely structured. She also had high opinions of herself. Her self image did not include being paraded around the ring on a lead! It was not long before she won the battle -- and the war.
We learned about grooming by trial and error. Mostly error. That is why at a later date I started writing my Lhasa column in Dog World magazine, and why I started a website, and why I posted articles on Ezine -- to share what we learned so other people did not have to suffer such a learning curve!
The first dog we bought specifically as a show dog didn't work out so well either. He was Lutzmor's Dolsa Bo Jangles. He had a lovely pedigree, a ton of red-gold coat, and a sweet personality. I took him to training classes and he actually walked around the ring and did what he was supposed to. At shows he also showed very well. Alas, Bo never earned more than one point. (See the photo below.) He did not have the "right stuff!" And, as you look at this photo, you can see that my grooming skills were sadly lacking!
Now, as I look back, I wonder why I just didn't give it all up then. I was so inexperienced about showing; I was spending money that as high school teachers in a Catholic high school, we couldn't really afford to spend on entry fees, travel, and equipment; I was a novice at grooming. I have no clue why I continued. I just know my life would have been very different if I had given up.
Next step...breed your own show dog, Joyce! So I did. We took Buffy to Virginia Knoche, a grand lady who lived in Warsaw, IL. Buffy was bred to Virginia's BIS American and Canadian Ch. Arborhill's Rah-Kieh. From that breeding came our first two Joyslyn's champions, Ch. Joyslyn's Piece of the Rock and Ch. Joyslyn's Raggedy Rebel -- both very beautiful Lhasas.
Rocky won his first point when he was 7 months old, and by then I was hooked on showing for sure. The photos below are of me with Rocky winning his first point and of Rocky with Marge Lewis, his handler, and one of my mentors. I learned so much from that wonderful woman!
This photo is of Rocky's litter brother, Ch. Joyslyn's Raggedy Rebel, our second champion, shown by Bev Thomas for his owner, Beth James.
I think the lesson here is that if you have a goal, you can't let a few setbacks discourage you to the point of giving up. Each experience teaches a "what to do" or "what not to do" lesson. And what we do with the lessons we learn makes us who we are.
So that's how it all began. I have met some wonderful people; owned, showed, and bred some wonderful dogs; and made some wonderful friends. My life has been made richer for all my experiences with the Lhasas. No, it has not been easy, but I am not sorry my life took this route.
I generally begin my blog posts with a quotation, but this time, in honor of the new year, I decided to end with one, written by Melody Beattie.
“Make New Year's goals. Dig within, and discover what you would like to have happen in your life this year. This helps you do your part. It is an affirmation that you're interested in fully living life in the year to come.
Goals give us direction. They put a powerful force into play on a universal, conscious, and subconscious level. Goals give our life direction.
What would you like to have happen in your life this year? What would you like to do, to accomplish? What good would you like to attract into your life? What particular areas of growth would you like to have happen to you? What blocks, or character defects, would you like to have removed?
What would you like to attain? Little things and big things? Where would you like to go? What would you like to have happen in friendship and love? What would you like to have happen in your family life?
What problems would you like to see solved? What decisions would you like to make? What would you like to happen in your career?
Write it down. Take a piece of paper, a few hours of your time, and write it all down - as an affirmation of you, your life, and your ability to choose. Then let it go.
The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.”
Life is Better When You Have A Lhasa to Love You!