Around Dutchland, February 1997

by Penny Pyrbred

Put another Milk Bone on the barby, mates! We've got a foreign correspondent. With this issue we introduce "The Pyrspective from Down Under" by Cody Jones, a resident of Western Australia. There are also some photos of the beautiful Ms. Cody for your enjoyment (click here for photos).

In local news, the Penn-Dutch Pyrs have gotten their stories straight about the 1996 Holiday Party, the first one to include us Pyrs officially. It was held at the Conrad Weiser YMCA Camp and they put us Pyrs in the large room heated to a delightful 45 degrees, while the people all crowded into the smaller room (for warmth?). We took turns checking on them to keep them in line. Santa prepared in our room and was ably assisted by the charming Ms. Cheli Witt, pulling the Witt family's beautiful sleigh.

Santa distributed gifts for the children and then the adults held the infamous Chinese gift exchange, which involves stealing gifts from each other (how childish!). Chelsea Unger supervised this nonsense and kept everybody honest. There was a great meal, much of which ended up in us Pyrs, and everyone had a wonderful time. A whole host of Penn-Dutch Pyrs were in attendance, but Penny was especially pleased to meet Pola Collins, a new Penn-Dutchie and a real sweetie.

December 14th and 15th were banner days for Penn-Dutch show dogs. At the Delaware Water Gap KC show on Saturday, Grady Coombs (CH Kenneview's Grand Slam) won Best of Breed, Working Group, and Best in Show! At Sunday's Lehigh Valley KC show Bo Bowes (Balibasque Bo Jangles) was Best of Winners and obtained his championship (click here for photo). Way to go guys!

The next big social event for Penn-Dutchies was the Canine Learning Experience in Allentown at the end of January. In spite of some snow on Friday, the weather was fine for this Saturday event, and thousands of people came out to admire us Pyrs (well, there were a FEW other things to see as well). The Penn-Dutch booth was ably assembled and orchestrated by Gail Hillard, assisted by a number of Penn-Dutchies and their Pyrs. Having won first place for educational booths 5 years in a row, and a special award last year when we didn't even enter, it was a little bit of a letdown to win only 2nd place this year. Penny thinks the judges took off for spelling (the banner read "PRYS PAVILION").

The photo contest was very popular and lots of people voted for their favorites. We will keep you in suspense for the present as to the winners of the people's choice and photographer's choice awards, but be sure to come to the Pyrenean Fun Day in July to vote for the members' choice award!

On the puppy front, the Manwillers were at the Canine Learning Experience with their two charming puppies. Woody Simon, now a strapping young fellow, helped Cheli Witt patrol the grounds during the people's annual meeting in February (of course it snowed). The rather coy Schnook Worley has had a litter with Gimlet (CH Pyrless Prime Time) and we would love to see some pictures.

On a sad note, in this issue we mark the passing of Chardonnay Bechtel, a very troubled girl who at least had some good times in the Bechtel household.

In the last issue we had tributes to Libby Bechtel and Maggie Ingram which arrived after Penny's column had been submitted. Penny would like to extend her heartfelt sympathies to the families of these noble Pyrs. Both were essentially "first Pyrs" (the Bechtels had owned a puppy briefly prior to Libby entering their lives), and they understood the responsibility that first Pyrs have to train their people about our breed and prepare the way for Pyrs to come. Without their guidance, Pyrdom might not have the phenomenal services of Janet Ingram (GPCA Rescue Chair) and Jeff and Patti Bechtel (Penn-Dutch Rescue Chairs). Rescue Pyrs everywhere owe these wonderful animals a debt of gratitude and all Pyrs could learn from their example. They will be missed by people and Pyrs alike.

Looking to the future, people and a few Pyrs are needed to educate the public at the Lancaster County Canine Expo to be held at the Park City Mall on Sunday, March 16th from noon till 5 pm. Dogs must be pre-registered, so call Gail Hillard at 717-397-5060 if you would like to help. Hmmm. Pyrs in the mall. Sounds like just the thing for some of our "valley bitches."

For obedience fans (weird concept), the Eastern Regional Dog Obedience Competition is being held at Lehigh University on March 22nd and 23rd. There may be a Penn-Dutch display, and Jane Gill says it is an exciting event, but not one where you are likely to see Pyrs in competition. Just wait a few years. Cindy Paulus has seven Penn-Dutch Pyrs in various types of obedience and agility training (possibly the most Pyrs studying under one trainer in the US). With jump heights being lowered, Pyrs may yet reach the highest ranks of obedience champions (although Penny still doesn't see the attraction).

Penny is busy packing her bags for the National Specialty in Frederick, MD in April and hopes to see lots of Penn-Dutchies there. We especially wish all the show Pyrs success. As Conrad Gill can tell you, the partying should be kept to a minimum until after your class has been judged.

See you soon.

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