This past Sunday, May 5, Kurt Visniski and I judged a class of 18 Field Champion Bitches at the Wolverine Dachshund Club field trial in southern Michigan.FC Danika vom Nordlicht ME, who had a marvelous multiple-checks run in 1st Series and was called back High, prevailed over other talented contenders to win the class.
After the judging, I'd come out of the field and was standing by my car. Danika's owner and handler Cheri Faust came up to me, Danika in her arms. Cheri said that I, the owner of the first dachshund to earn 1000 lifetime points in the field, had just, by Danika's 1st place in this class, judged and awarded the first dachshund to earn 2000 lifetime points in the field. 2000 points exactly.
Cheri hugged me and we all went back into the field for the running of the last class of the day. But my mind was thinking other thoughts. Thoughts about a long ago day at a field trial in western Pennsylvania.
So we were beating brush and Larry Gohlke, breeder of Danika, asked if I knew that Danika had just reached the 2000 merit points milestone. I said yes, but nothing else. Larry made a couple more comments, reminiscing about a couple of great dogs from the past. I simply nodded and kept moving. I was still thinking about something else.
Cheri joined us in the field. The three of us beat brush for a short time before a rabbit was spotted and the next brace was called to the line. While we waited, I decided to tell them what was on my mind. It had been there for more than a few minutes. It had been there for years.
In October 2003 at the field trial of the Western Pennsylvania Dachshund Club, my super FC Ilsa v Dorndorf L became the first dachshund in field trial history to pass the 1000 merit points milestone. I said this to all who were present when the trial ribbons and prizes were awarded that evening. They were appreciative. Someone handed me a white paper plate with "1000 points!" written on it. It was a good day.
I am not one to depend a lot on confirmation and accolades from others. But I felt a real sense of disappointment that Ilsa received no recognition from, at least, the community of dachshund field trialers.
I am also not one who thinks that what is important to me is necessarily important to others. However I felt there should have been more.
This was verified, I believe, when the next dog reached the 1000 points mark. It was a cause for some manner of recognition and/or celebration, as is a high-water mark in any endeavor!
Disappointments, like many feelings, are strange. They can lie buried for years and rise to the surface again in totally unexpected times and ways. Surprising to me, I actually felt some tears fall as I relayed this to Larry and Cheri. Afterward, like the catharsis that telling and tears often are, I felt free of the disappointment that had been with me for a long time.
Above it all, I was exceedingly glad and proud that one of our own had accomplished the feat of 2000 points!!
The trial went on and Danika did, too, on to Absolute Winner in a total entry of 61 dachshunds. Such a talented trailing dog she is!
During the awards presentation at this trial, I was happy and honored to be able to make the announcement of Danika's awesome accomplishment!
And when the Absolute Winner award was made to Danika, another - totally unexpected - thing happened. The prize for Absolute was the Danbury Mint porcelain collector plate "Window Seat." It features a red standard longhair with a wonderful intent expression. Cheri, who owns only smooths and wires, asked me if I would like to have it. I stammered a bit but...YES!!
On the drive home, I thought about the plate and having had, literally, a window seat to Danika's marvelous achievement.
It was two days before I realized something else. I was waking up in the morning and thinking random thoughts when it hit me.
Paper plate in 2003.
Danbury Mint plate in 2013.
Might it seem like more than a coincidence to anyone else?
In remembrance of Ilsa, I am grateful.