When Shirley asked me to
write about Leo, it brought back so many memories. He was such a fun
dog to show. He always gave you a great show. He was a very food oriented
dog and many of us have bruised and bloodied fingers to show for it.
As a producer, he spoke for
himself. He was often faulted for not having head type. But that did
not stop him from producing many Canadian and American champions and
more still to finish. He was a producer of "producers" and
will have an impact on the breed for many generations.
I think the most memorable
times for me, were when Leo stayed at our home. NEVER did he stay in
the kennel. That would have been beneath him. He would go to the kennel
with me when I fed and cleaned. He would stroll past the runs and look
at the other dogs like they were peons. When it was time to go back
to the house, you can bet he was the first one out the door. He slept
in our bed and layed on the couch. Being that food was one of the two
most important things in his life, (sex being the other) the refrigerator
was never opened without his knowing it. The one incident that really
sticks in my mind was when my husband had made himself a sandwich and
was holding it at his side while he reached into the refrigerator for
something. Leo decided that sandwich must be for him and was at just
the right height. Before Mike knew what had happened the sandwich was
I think the best example
of how intelligent Leo was, was how he knew the different rules from
my house to the Kilmans. At their home he was not allowed on the furniture.
I don't think he ever made a mistake about that except for one time.
I was at their home, sitting on the couch in the living room. Leo came
in and jumped up on the couch next to me. He obviously had a temporary
mind dump. He was sitting there when Priscilla walked into the room.
His eyes got huge and he went flying off the couch.
One other memory cannot go
without telling. Priscilla but a CD title on Leo. I was able to watch
him in the ring at one show. He went through his heeling command beautifully.
On the long sit he decided that was just the time for a crotch bath.
On the long down he rolled over on his back and managed to work his
way well out of line. But, he was still down.
Most handlers develop a strong
bond with their specials dog, because you spend so much time together.
That's part of the job. But the truly special dogs are few and far between.
I loved him more than I can say, and I think he felt the same.