Around Dutchland, June, 2003

by Penny Pyrbred

Shortly after the last issue came out, the humans trekked out to the Host Resort and Conference Center in Lancaster to hold the Annual Meeting and check out the facilities as a possible venue for the 2006 Great Pyrenees Club of America National Specialty. While officially a people-only event, Anais Whitney managed to sneak in and was really impressed with the Host. Even without Pyr supervision the humans managed to plan quite an exciting year of events which all center around us Pyrs (as they should!).

At press time we have just learned that our bid to host the 2006 National has been accepted, so let's start getting ready for one humongous party! People and Pyrs around the country are still talking about the blast they had at the 1993 National and Penn-Dutch was just in its infancy back then. Consider joining one of the many critically important committees listed elsewhere in this issue. It is a great opportunity to get to know your fellow Penn-Dutchies better and to be part of something historical.

And speaking of National Specialties, the Ohio Pyrs and their people threw a spectacular event this April in Ohio. Penny was too busy partying to mark her catalog and apparently the humans didn't do much better, because there are only partial lists of winners posted on the internet. Penny is pretty sure, however, that Mike Floyd's West Coast hunk, Reggie, took Best of Breed.

Penn-Dutchies get sheepish at National Awards Banquet.

Congratulations to the Penn-Dutch winners. Karen Justin's Guardenia's Working Girl took Best Puppy in Sweepstakes, and the Manwillers' Colby and Carol Langdon's Cheers both received Awards of Merit. We hope to have a complete list of winners in the next issue.

Merlin Skorup tries out the Agility Demonstration equipment..

There were many activities for dogs not entered in the conformation competition. There was formal competition in obedience, rally obedience and drafting, and there was a demonstration agility course set up for anyone to try. Merlin Skorup proved especially adept at this and is eagerly awaiting the day when agility will become a competitive event.

The Canine Good Citizen and Therapy Dogs International certification tests were given and Abigail Kintsfather managed to qualify in both! A very moving Rescue Parade was held on Saturday morning with Chelsea and Tristan Unger, Abigail Kintsfather and Woody Huggard representing Penn-Dutch.

The Pyrenean Ball (always held at a secret location in the show hotel while the humans are at the Awards Banquet) is something of a blur to Penny, but those Ohio Pyrs sure are great dancers! We will have our work cut out for us to top this in 2006.

Penny has one last story from National 2003 before she moves on to other news. It seems that Jefferson Simon felt the need to heed the call of nature at a time when his humans had left him inconveniently locked in his crate. He did what any Pyr would do, letting himself out of the crate, the hotel room and the hotel itself to find the designated pooping and piddling area. Once relieved, he allowed himself to be reunited with his less than happy humans. While Penny doesn't recommend that Pyrs wander unaccompanied around show hotels (Penny ALWAYS finds a handsome escort from the host Club), this story demonstrates that when you gotta go, you gotta go!

The hunky Brutus Gress boarded the Gress Mountain Ranch float to take part in a St. Patrick's Day Parade.

Brutus Gress presides at St. Patrick's Day Parade.

With the rain forcing a move to the Sunday date, attendance was down at the Spring Walk-in-the-Woods at Lake Nockamixon, but those attending had a great time. The Bechtels hosted and brought Napolean and Snickers, along with honorary Pyr, Jarrell.The Kintsfathers brought Abigail, the Matoliczes brought Gracie, the Blackwells brought Little Mo and Dick Powell brought Bolder. Barbara Bowes brought the charming Rescue girl, Grace, who went home with her new family, the Friels.

As usual at a Penn-Dutch event, there was lots of great food for humans and Pyrs alike. Gracie Matolicz seemed especially fond of the Abady cookies. Maybe she can work out an endorsement deal!

Gracie Matolicz investigates dog cookies at the Walk-in-the-Woods.

On a sadder note, we must say goodbye to a number of Penn-Dutch Pyrs. The Garagusos lost Chienne, the Witts lost Chelí (who was probably Penn-Dutch's senior Pyr), and the Skorups' Christy finally lost her 18-month battle with bone cancer. Christy was the first Penn-Dutch Pyr to receive the second level Versatility Award from the Great Pyrenees Club of America. She introduced many dogs and their owners to the READ program, which encourages children to improve their reading skills by reading aloud to their canine friends.

Christy Skorup with friends from the READ program.

On behalf of the Club Penny extends her heartfelt sympathy to the families of these noble Pyrs. They will be missed.

Looking ahead, the Fun Match at Gress Mountain Ranch is just around the corner on June 28th. Don't let the term "Match" put you off—the emphasis will be on fun! The purpose of a Fun Match is to let us companion Pyrs and our people get a taste of various types of competition. Some may want to follow through and try their paws at competitive events, but for many this is valuable as an opportunity to gain an understanding of showing so they can appreciate the work involved and cheer on our show Pyrs.

On July 26th we will have the social event of the Summer, the Pyrenean Fun Day held in Lancaster Central Park. Gail Hillard has assured Penny that there WILL be fiendishly clever canine games this year, so humans should be sure to bring their running shoes. There will also be silent auction items and lots of neat things to buy at the Rescue table. Then there is the food! Penn-Dutch is known for great food, so begin planning now for that special covered dish to share!

September 13th will bring our Regional Specialty held in conjunction with the Lehigh Valley Kennel Club Show at Macungie Park. Penny hopes everyone will come cheer on our show Pyrs and party with our out-of-town guests.

See you soon.

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