Dublin’s Tale

by Donna Smiley, Kingsbury Harriers

Driving to work yesterday morning, my cell phone rang.  It showed an unfamiliar area code, which means I normally let it go to voicemail.  But something told me to answer, so I pulled off the road and took the call.

“Is this Kingsbury Harriers?”  the caller asked.  “Yes”, I replied, “how can I help you?”

His name was Justin and he was a shelter worker at a New Mexico pound.  He said he’d just come in to work, saw a new stray in the facility, grabbed a scanner and bingo, the neutered tricolor hound boy was chipped.  A call to the chip manufacturer yielded my kennel name and phone number.

Living in California, with all of my own hounds safely accounted for at home,  this meant it could only be one of my  pet puppies that I’d sold.

I took down the pound’s phone number and the chip number, and assured Justin  that as soon as I got home, I would track down the chip and get back to him right away.  And that regardless, someone would be claiming him, period!  He said that he’d put a “hold” on the boy to be sure nothing bad happened to him.

All day long at work, I puzzled over the riddle…. who could this boy be??   The clock seemed to stop and actually go backwards as I slogged on with my normal work just waiting for the end of the day.

I arrived home and I started pulling out my litter files, scanning each list of chips and puppies to find one that started 142662…. Yes!!  It belonged to the puppy we called Dublin, from my August 2005 litter!  Who, my records revealed, was sold to a family in Santa Fe!

An answering machine picked up when I phoned them.  I left what must have been a rambling message, explaining that I’d gotten a call from the Santa Fe pound,  that they had a dog with a microchip that traced back to me, and hence to them, and would you please call me?

Less than an hour later, the phone rang, and it was Dublin’s owners.

The first thing she said was, “oh my goodness, yahoo for microchips!”

Dublin had actually been missing for 3 months!  He had gone with them on a family visit  over Thanksgiving, and he’d escaped the mother-in-law’s  yard!  They’d searched and searched, but had no luck finding him.  The family had pretty much given up hope of ever seeing him again.  So they were stunned – and thrilled – to hear that he’d finally turned up!

I gave them the phone number of the pound, along with Justin’s name and Dublin’s chip number so that they could prove they were his owners.

This afternoon, I called the Santa Fe pound, to ensure that everything had really worked out all right.  Justin said that the family had been waiting when they opened this morning to claim their wayward hound.  I thanked him again for his efforts on my puppy’s behalf.  By his voice I could tell that he was as happy and relieved as I was that long-lost Dublin’s tale had a happy ending.

What better proof do we need as breeders that microchipping all of our puppies is the right thing to do?



Lost or Found pets :  http://www.akcreunite.org/lost


Supporting Juniors

by Donna Smiley

Many exhibitors have children as well as dogs, and their kids show the family’s dogs in Junior Showmanship when they are old enough.   Sometimes the “dog show bug” skips generations, and you’ll see kids participating in shows with their grandparents.

Collin Steen and Motown

At the Novice Junior levels, most children will probably be showing whatever dog and breed their family or grandparent happens to have.


However, if the dog show bug bites them thoroughly, and they move up from Novice to the higher skill levels of Juniors, some kids may decide they want to strike out on their own and find a breed and individual dog of their own choosing.  Severing the grooming-smock strings if you will.


As breeders, this is where we can have a positive impact on the future generations as well as on our own breed.  Over the years, my co-breeder and I have provided Champion Harriers for Juniors on numerous occasions.

katelyn and dale

In every instance, this was the first exposure that the Junior and their family had in terms of living with and showing a Harrier.   We therefore take that responsibility very seriously, and will only place good quality examples with Juniors.


While Junior Showmanship is not supposed to be judged on the quality and merits of the dog but rather the handling skill of the child, we feel that it’s important that the kids have good breed representatives out there for all to see.  After all, many Juniors will also want to compete in the breed ring with their dog.  And with the scarcity of Harriers, there’s a good chance the Junior will be going to the Group often with their dog as a result.


laurelYears ago, a terrier family in another state approached me about getting a Harrier for their daughter to show.  We worked it out to meet at a show near them, and I brought class dogs as well as the finished Champion I had in mind for the Junior.  Girl & hound hit it off right away, winning the breed both days.  At the Sunday show, the new team earned a Group II placement, which happened to be the very first Group placement ever for the girl.  (They went on to have many more group placements, ranking in the top 5 All-Breed that year.)  To say they were thrilled is an understatement!  As we were packing for the long drive home, the mom caught me to tell me how pleasantly surprised they were that I would “give them a good one”.
That remark caught me off-guard, as it implied that it’s common for breeders to give Juniors mediocre – or worse – dogs to show.


Why on earth would any breeder pawn off subpar dogs on kids?   As everyone is always saying, we need to encourage younger generations to become involved in dog showing so that our sport continues and grows.  And you do that by giving them quality dogs to be competitive at the breed & group level, in addition to the Juniors ring.  This engages them in the sport, and in your breed, by having success in all three arenas.

Ashley Albro and Jaunty

Ashley Albro and Jaunty


My co-breeder and I go even further.  We include in our co-ownership contracts with the families a means for us to financially encourage them to do more.  We offer several hundred dollars towards expenses if the Junior wants to take their hound to the Harrier National Specialty, and also if they qualify for either Westminster or Eukanuba with their Harrier.  We won’t pay for the whole bill, but we can certainly help them get there.


So the next time a Junior approaches you about a dog, please do the right thing and make a positive impact in our sport.


Katelyn and dale casualKatelyn and dale at WKCAshley&Jaunty