It is with the heaviest of hearts that we share the loss of our incredible NBISS GCHG Breezy Ridge Maximus...otherwise known as Shea. So aptly named, this boy truly was a gladiator among Swissies.
It is difficult to think that this big powerful guy would be taken from us, even at 9 years of age. It was not enough time, but unfortunately Shea suffered an "event" (most likely a stroke of some kind, possibly a brain bleed or an FCE even) that left him seriously compromised his back end. His age, size and the long term effects of steroids took their toll, and although we hoped for more, Kim and Tom Conway did get another 8 months with their beloved boy and they never let him suffer or lose his dignity.
I am so grateful to Holly Witzgall and the Conways for sharing this amazing dog with me. And for the legacy he has left behind in his three litters of puppies. I can only hope to have another boy some day who is half the animal that Shea was.
Team Aegis continued its winning ways in June, starting with the cluster in Concord NC. EDEN (MBISS GCHB Aegis Say No More) picked up 3 Best of Breed wins and a Group 2, her third group placement in her last three weeks of showing! Eden's half sister SPIRIT (Ch. Aegis Make Mine Moxie), from our Maybell x Tazz breeding, picked up two more majors, finishing her championship with four major wins. And half-brother TURTLE from our Maybell x Hobbs breeding finished his championship, now Ch. Aegis Scotch and Soda by Fireside. Spirit and Tazz are Maybell's 6th and 7th champion get!
The following weekend we went north to NY and CT for a weekend of specialties. EDEN picked up a BOB win, and then at the CT Specialties was BOSS to her littermate KNOX at the first specialty. Eden and Knox were Select and Award of Merit, respectively, at the second specialty.
That same weekend out in California, Noka x Jake puppy BOMBER (Aegis B-22 Flying Fortress by Fireside) picked up his second major out of the puppy classes! Bomber is owned by Paula Robles and is being shown by Justin Van Deren.
Big month for Team Aegis! May marked EDENs return to the show ring in earnest. On our way to the National Specialty in PA, we stopped at the Lancaster Kennel Club show where Eden took Best of Breed over a nice lineup of specials, and then went on to a Group 2 under Judge Marcie Dobkin!
At the National Specialty itself, which was held in Bethlehem PA this year, BOWIE came out of moth balls to show in the Veteran Sweepstakes, where he repeated his BOS win from 2014, now as a 10.5 year old! Tears were shed, by yours truly, as I have no illusions that this boy will live forever...despite his efforts to fool me...and every moment with him is special. So many memories over the last 10 years with this guy in the show ring. My heart and soul, that boy is. EDEN took an Award of Merit at the National, but the bigger news is that she followed up her 2016 People's Choice by WINNING THE TOP 20 this year! This girl once again proving she can do it all, in the whelping box and in the ring all within a few months time!
Meanwhile, over in Tennessee, KNOX was getting busy with a fabulous weekend -- two Owner-handled BIS and a Group 2 at the Kingsport shows! He also had a previous Group 4 placement earlier this year.
And then we ended the month at our "hometown" shows here in Asheville, where Eden picked up 2 BOB wins over tough specials competition, a Group 4, two OH Group placements and...drumroll...an Owner-handled Best in Show!
Early February brought even more excitement with the arrival of our much anticipated EDEN x BLAZE litter on February 9th. I've been dreaming of and trying to have a Blaze litter for over ten years now, and the 3rd time was the charge. We're so excited to have these three beautiful puppies, strongly linebred on Blaze (Eden's 2x Great Grandfather) and can't wait to watch them grow up!
While we stayed home on puppy watch, Team Aegis got to cheer on KNOX at the Garden. Randy and Knox, in their WKC debut, took Select Dog and made us extremely proud. What a handsome team they make!!!
The otherwise slow month ended joyous event -- our welcoming two very special babies, the darling girls, Midge and Pudge. This is Noka's final litter, which makes them exra special. Noka has been an amazing brood bitch, producer and mother. She has earned her retirement, but no doubt will continue her mothering ways as she looks after her grandpups in the years to come.
Due to the small litter size, we are no longer accepting applications for Midge and Pudge.
The Year in Review
This year brought many changes and new adventures to our Aegis Family.
The biggest news this year is that I moved with my crew down to Rutherfordton, NC, to be closer to family. It was very hard to move so far away from my extended Swissy family in New England, and we're still adjusting to the new place and people, but the BBQ is great and the weather in Winter...well, we don't really have Winter! Hopefully we'll make many new friend and memories in our Southern digs!
While we were busy readying for our move, there wasn't much time for shows, although we did manage to squeeze in a last trip to Westminster, this time with Eden who was Best of Opposite! And we did finish Sailor in February, and Ajax in March with a big five point major at CT River Working Group. Eden also took a big breed win that same CT River weekend. Meanwhile, down South, Ellie's son Cabot was picking up points, and Barrett's baby Romeo finished his championship.
Of course we were also quite busy saying good-bye to all the Maybell and Bronx puppies in January, and then we had the very eventful birth of Trudi and Dutch's litter in February -- the first litter with blue/dilute Swissies we've ever had. And boy did we have them...5 of 6 puppies were blue! So beautiful and so unusual, they are making many families some seriously gorgeous pets!
In May, Spirit (Maybell x Tazz) and Flash (Maybell x Hobbs) kicked off their show careers...with Flash doing it in style, back-to-back 5 point majors with his newbie owner handlers at his first two shows!
Once we got settled in our new Carolina home, we soon welcomed two small litters -- Noka & Jake's three sons, and then two lovely puppies from Eden's breeding to her great grandfather (frozen semen) Kramer. What a treat, after the marathon of raising 15 puppies six months prior!
It was a lazy, hot summer for us, just settling in and playing with our new babies. But in July, word came from Vermont that Walker finished his championship, owner-handled by our dear friend Virginia.
Come September, we headed off to the GSMDCA National in Chicago. Eden, barely back in shape from her litter, managed to pull of an AOM at the National and was Select bitch the next day at the Independent Specialty. But our biggest thrill was taking the People's Choice at the Top 20, following in her father Shea's footsteps (he was People's Choice in 2011 and 2014). In September we also were thrilled to hear that Flash finished his championship out West, which was extra special because it gave Maybell her ROM as a brood bitch!
In October, Eden kicked into high gear, winning Back-to-Back specialties at Crooked River and two BOBs at the all-breed shows, for a 4-show sweep! Also that weekend, Spirit picked up WB and a 5 point major at one of the specialties and Bowie was Best Veteran in Sweeps. So much fun to have the "old man" back out there again, at almost 10 years of age!
In November, we headed North to breed Noka and Bronx, and decided to take in some shows and visit our good friend Virginia for Thanksgiving. Eden nailed a 3-peat, taking BOB all three days and defeating the #1 and #2 Swissies each day. Spirit also showed and picked up her second major out of the Bred-By class. And then we headed down to TX...just a hop, skip and a jump from New England...to breed Eden.
No sooner did we return from Texas, it was time to head up to the year-end MAGS specialty, which Eden won the previous year. This year, Eden took a big BOB win, like her father did the prior year, on the day before the specialty. THen the day of the Specialty, it was now brother Knox's turn...and Eden was BOSS to her brother!! We're so proud of all these Maybell x Shea kids have accomplished. Once again, Eden finished the year in the Top 10, a pretty mean feat considering she took off the first half of the year to have a litter, and was only shown about 6 weekends during the year.
Finally, at the end of the year we celebrated a special milestone around here...King Bowie's 10th Birthday. It's always a special day when a Swissy hits those double digits, but especially when it's someone as timeless as Bowie! It was a great way for Team Aegis to close out the year...and what a year it's been. I can't believe we're actually living in North Carolina! Time to settle in for Winter...if we even have that down here :)
Peace, love and Swissy kisses to all our family, near and far!
The Year in Review
After such a thrilling year in 2014, we were brought down to earth again in 2015 with many reminders of just how precious life is.
Coming off such an eventful year prior, we lazily worked our way into the new year. With Shea essentially retired now, and the next generation too young to special seriously, we took our time and showed sporadically this year. Eden, despite her young age however, did start racking up some nice wins. At just 14 months of age, she was BOS at the CT River Working Group shows, her first time out as a special -- the same day her sister was Best in Sweeps! Eden dabbled at a few more shows, picking up lovely breed wins in Edison and Harrisburg, and garnering her Grand Championship at 15 months of age, while her brother Knox picked up his second major at the Southbound specialty weekend. In the meantime, we excitedly waited for the Maybell x Hobbs puppies "in the oven." And then everything got a little crazy.
In a bittersweet turn of events, Maybell & Hobbs welcomed their very special litter down in North Carolina...3 boys and a beast of a girl. I was in NC because several days prior my father suffered a massive stroke and I had to drive down to NC with several of the dogs so I could be with family. Actually, Maybell's first puppy arrived quite unexpectedly on April 30th, with virtually no labor, in the parking lot of Hospice! Because of the circumstances around these puppies' arrival, I decided to name them after Kingston Trio songs...one of my Dad's favorite bands. During those next days, Maybell and her puppies sat vigil with us, and in their own special way acted as therapy dogs in the first days of their young lives, easing the pain and heartache of so many...especially my nieces and nephews, but also other patients and the wonderful staff at Hospice. My father passed away peacefully 4 days after the puppies were born.
In the meantime, our extended Aegis family carried the torch, with Virginia picking up points on Walker, our lovely Obi puppy from Blossom Hill. And at the end of May, Holly put a second major on Fritzi, our co-owned Ellie daughter, while Karen Hannon finished Summit's championship the same weekend. Oh, and Eden picked up another lovely breed win that same weekend...love my Swissy family. Amazing ladies!
In June, several young pups got their start, with Ajax (Noka x Brig), Sailor (River x Barrett) and Tinder (River x Barrett) picking up their first points. Meanwhile Eden picked up two nice breed wins at the Norwalk shows. Over in Poland, Eden's brother Boss finished his Jr. Championship!
In July, Eden was BOB 4 of 5 days at the Springfield Cluster, and we also were WD two days with Ajax, and we finished our friend Hauser (Dutch's housemate) with a major! July also brought an incredibly special day, with the birth of our Noka x Tazz puppies, Harvey and Grethe.
And then August...which started wonderfully, as Shea returned to the ring as a Veteran, picking up a couple nice breed wins. But the month ended with tremendous sadness and the unexplained, sudden deaths of Harvey and Grethe, just 25 hours apart. Despite doing necropsies on both puppies, to this day, there was no determined cause of death. Without a doubt, it was one of the most difficult times in my life as a breeder...and a human.
September, the rollercoaster of emotion continued. The month started with a lovely breed win and Owner-handled Group 1 for Eden, with Walker taking his first major at the same show. And then a week later my world was shattered when I lost my beloved Moxie. She was not my dog -- she truly belonged to every person who met, knew and loved her. She had more vacation homes than most billionaires. Not a day goes by that I don't look and see her head resting gently on the table, waiting for someone to give her a little bit of their dinner, or just a pat on the head. I can't put my feet under my desk without feeling her soft fur on my toes. The nights are the worst...Moxie slept in my bed from the day she came home at 8 weeks. She was the gentlest giant of girls, and left a huge wake with her passing.
September ended on a bright note, with Shea as a veteran taking a Group 4 at Warrenton KC, and then waiting his daughter, and Moxie's granddaughter, Doobie finish her championship at the C&P Specialty.
After taking some healing time in October, we got back out there in November, with Walker and Sailor picking up majors in Springfield. Tinder finished her championship in November, with a 5 point major and BOS over a special in Savannah GA. And the big news...we welcomed TWO litters of puppies in November: 4 gorgeous Maybell x Tazz puppies, in what will be Maybell's final litter, and 11 lovely puppies from Bronx's first litter, also sired by Tazz. Nothing to distract from all the sadness like 15 bundles of Swissy love!
December was very bittersweet, and a fitting end to the emotional year that 2015 was. We showed Shea for the last time at the MAGS Specialty...hoping he'd go out with a bang. He managed to take BOB the first day, prior to the Specialty. But when it came to the Specialty, Eden had other plans in mind. This young girl, not yet 2, won the Specialty...beating her father who was BOS to her. What a thrill to see this passing of the torch from father to daughter. Eden capped off the day with her first group placement. Was so touched that the Conways were there to share this special moment with us. This weekend truly was a highlight of my tenure in the sport. Although I cherish every weekend spent in the ring with Bowie and Shea, and am intensely proud of their achievements, there is just something about being able to say you actually BRED a dog like Eden...my first home-bred Best in Specialty and Group Placing Swissy!
The rest of the month was spent in the heaven known as the whelping box and puppy pen! No doubt, having two litters so close in age is a ton of work. But seeing their little baby Swissy smiles each morning, watching them develop and reach new milestones almost daily...it's better than any day spent in a show ring. This year was an especially difficult one, with the loss of Harvey and Grethe followed so quickly by my beloved Moxie in September. But these puppies...especially the four little Moxie grandpups, make me feel so close to her, reminiscing about the past, but also excited for the future.
Speaking of the future...the other BIG news of December 2015, I closed on my new house in Rutherfordton NC. In April, Aegis GSMD will be moving south, so I can be closer to my human family.
The Year in Review
Where to start? Oh my! The year 2014 was one for the books, to be sure!
The year started with the amazing free-whelping of 9 beautiful Maybell x Shea babies. This was probably our most consistent and deepest quality litter to date...so much to be excited about with the "Warped Tour 9!"
In February, Shea and I returned to Westminster...his first time back since he was a youngster. That boy showed magnificently and took Select Dog. So proud of him, and that his family, the Conways, were there to share the moment. Meanwhile, Shea and Noka's daughter Ellie, out in Colorado, was cleaning up with huge back-to-back majors.
In March, we took Tonka and Dutch to the CT River Working Group shows. On the first day, Dutch was BOS in Puppy Sweeps and WD/BOW for a 5 point major...still undefeated in the classes with 12 points, both majors and all at 11 months of age! On day two, Tonka was Best in Sweeps and WB/BOW for a 5 point major! Ellie finished her championship the following month with another 5 point major, at barely 13 months of age. These Big Apple puppies have had such impressive starts to their careers...we couldn't be more proud!
Spring celebrations began when Noka and Brig welcomed a beautiful litter of 5 puppies in mid April. In May, after 6 month hiatus, Shea returned to the ring with a BOB win and group placement...time to get back in fighting form for the National later in the year.
In June, Tonka finished her championship...the third from the Noka x Shea litter to do so. Also in June, we held out our first, but hopefully not last, Aegis Swissstock Reunion at All-Wright Acres...Dutch's little farm in Bethlehem CT. Over 40 humans and 40 dogs gathered over the weekend, sharing peace, food and happiness! Thanks to Marjie for the amazing food prep, and to Karyn and Greg Wright for their incredible hospitality. What a weekend of memories!
In July, Shea returned to the ring in earnest, taking BOB 4 of 5 days at the big Springfield Cluster. Then the Warped Tour girls -- Doobie, Summit and Eden -- now 6 months of age, made their show debuts. Doobie took a major, and Summit reserve at their first show ever, out on Long Island. Papa Shea showed the girls how to do it with back-to-back BOB wins and two group placements at the same shows! The following weekend, Eden made her debut and took a 4 point major at her first show! Shea finished the month with over 100 breed points placing him firmly in the Top 10 with a month worth of shows under his belt.
In August, Shea picked up several more nice Breed wins, while his daughter Eden got back-to-back majors at her next shows. Eden's brother Knox made his show debut in Atlanta, taking a 5 point major, and 7 month old Doobie picked up another major in Harrisburg, where she also took BOS over the bitch specials! Meanwhile, Karen Hannon piloted Barrett to a lovely breed win and Group 3 up in Massachusetts!
The third week of September brought with it the 2014 GSMDCA National Specialty, in Bethlehem, PA -- and the single largest entry of Swissies ever here in the United States. And it was for us the week of a lifetime! So many highlights, and we may forget some of them, so I apologize if we've left out anyone.
Tuesday, Septmber 16th - Puppy and Veteran Sweepstakes
BRODY was 1st in the 9-12 Puppy Dog Class. Thanks to Cathy Scott for showing this Bosco son, and congrats to Katie & Eric Bachli.
EDEN was 1st in the 6-9 Puppy Bitch Class. Also placing in the class (3rd and 4th respectively) were her littermates, DOOBIE and SUMMIT. What a showing for the Maybell x Shea kids!
FRITZI was 1st in the 9-12 Puppy Bitch Class. Way to go, Holly Witzgall!
BOWIE won the huge 7-9 year Veteran Dog class and went on to take BOS in Veteran Sweepstakes, bested by his "Baby Momma" OOLA (Ch. Jotunheim With Bells On), owned by friend and mentor Lori Price.
Wednesday, September 17th -- Obedience, Regular Classes (Dogs and Bitches), Veterans and Breeding Classes
DAGAN qualified in Novice B, her first time in the Obedience Ring, with a 3rd place...way to go, Virginia O'Rorke
BOWIE once again took first in the 7-9 Year Veteran Dog Class,
WIth an entry of BOWIE, NOKA and DUTCH, we took 3rd in a big Generations Class
NOKA with offspring DUTCH and TONKA, was 2nd out of 11 in the Brood Bitch Class.
And the day's highlight, BOWIE, with offspring OBI, BARRETT and ELLIE, take 1st place in a huge Stud Dog class!
Thursday, September 18th -- Best of Breed
SHEA wins Best in Specialty(BOB!) with an entry of 68 specials!
BOWIE takes SELECT dog, beaten only by his nephew Shea!!
BOWIE also takes Best Veteran
SHEA is the "People's Choice" Top Twenty for the second time!
In October, Dutch finished his championship. But the month also brought incredible heartache with the loss of our gorgeous Tonka to an aggressive form of cancer. Our hears were broken with the loss of this beautiful and incredibly sweet girl, especially for her family who loved her so.
Eden finished her championship in November, and Shea closed out the year with some more great Breed wins in Springfield, and a big group placement during the Thanksgiving Cluster. Amazing that this 6.5 year old dog finished the year as the #2 Swissy, with only a half year of showing!
December brought new life, with the birth of Barrett's first litter at Fireside Swissies. It truly was an incredible year...we were so busy and for the most part, enjoyed wonderful success and amazing times spent with our Swissy Family. But Tonka's loss was definitely a reminder that these dogs are never with us long enough, and in her case especially so. And so it's our wish for this holiday season and into the new year that each of our families loves their Swissies a little harder and never take a day for granted.
2013 The Year in Review
What a busy and exciting year 2013 was for us, from beginning to end!
The year started with a bang, when we finished Roy (Moxie x Bo) the first weekend of January, with his 4th major win, all from the BBE class. This gave Moxie her 6th champion. Also finishing their championship in 2013 were three more Bowie puppies -- Thor, Chuey and Kaisten -- giving Bowie a total of 15 champions to date from his 6 litters.
Virginia and Obi had a great year, finishing in the Top 20 with Obi earning his Grand Championship and a Group placement to boot!
Noka and Shea welcomed their first litter of puppies -- The Big Apple Litter -- in March 2013. Maybell and Brig had their first litter -- The Maybe Babies -- in June 2013. And Ellie, co-owned with Eric and Katie Bachli, had her first litter in November 2013.
2013 marked Shea's return to the ring, after taking some time off to mature. Now as a 5 year old, this amazing dog lit up the ring again, earning a Select Dog placement at the 2013 GSMDCA National Specialty in September. A few weeks later, he took a huge BISS win at the C&P Specialty in Virginia over more than 60 Swissies. And he gave us even more thrills with multiple group placements in the Fall. Even with his very limited showing, Shea finished the year as the #7 Swissy.
Shea's kids started entering the ring as well, in 2013, tearing up the ring as puppies. Bronx started off with a bang, just a day after turning 6 months of age...winning her big class at the National and then taking BOS in Sweeps at the Independent Specialty the following day. She finished her championship at the tender age of 9 months. Meanwhile, her brother Dutch and sister Tonka also picked up big majors before the age of 9 months
We can't wait to see what 2014 holds in store. Maybell is cooking puppies, due the first week of the year. We're super excited to see what Shea's second litter will bring us. And meanwhile, we'll continue to root on Dutch, Tonka and the Ellie's "Beantown Babies" as they grow up and hit the ring.
2012 The Year in Review
2012 was yet another exciting year for Aegis GSMDs, although this was an unusual year in that we had no litters born here. This gave me a lot of time to focus on my dogs and also on puppies sired by Bowie..
In 2012, 4 of Bowie's offspring from the Anke litter -- Barrett, Obi, Ellie and Gisela -- finished their championships all before 18 months of age. As a result, BOWIE earned his much deserved Register of Merit status this year. Bowie has contributed so much to my breeding program, with depth and consistency of heads, breed type, soundness, health and his incredible personality continuing on in so many of his offspring. Thank you to all the owners of Bowie's beautiful kids, for loving them so much and allowing them to shine in all they do. Nothing makes me happier than knowing that his puppies have found such incredible and loving homes.
Not to be outdone by his kids, Bowie took advantage of Shea's sabbatical from the ring, and he came out briefly to quickly earn his grand championship at 5.5 years of age. It was such a blast having Bowie back out in the show ring and he loved every second of all the attention he received.
And a HUGE congratulations to Virginia O'Rorke for Dagan's (Jura x Bowie) NDD and DD titles at the C&P Draft Trial. Dagan also earned her CGC, TDI Rally Novice and Rally Advanced titles this year. What a fabulous working dog you've become, Almrausch Symphony In Rose, CGC TDI RN RA DD!! Way to go, Virginia, and congrats to breeders Pam and Ron Capelli.
Also in the performance department, Denver earned both legs of his Herding Instinct test and is shaping up to be a great working dog for his breeder's Pam and Ron Capelli. We can't wait to see what else Ron and Denver accomplish in the coming year, although we miss that sweet boy terribly.
We now look forward to 2013, as we get ready to breed Noka and Maybell for the first time, and hopefully we will be bringing some new Aegis babies and their families into our beloved Aegis Family.
2011 The Year in Review
As 2011 comes to a close, we find ourselves reflecting on what has been yet another exciting year for Aegis GSMDs.
In 2011, three more of Moxie's "kids" -- Visa, Maybell and Ajax -- finished their championships, giving Moxie 5 champion offspring (all from her Bowie litter) and earning her Register of Merit status. I could not be more proud and honored to have Moxie as my foundation bitch, who gave us her 3rd and final litter this summer. At six years of age now, Moxie is already enjoying a much deserved retirement on the couch and looking forward to the occasional appearance in the Veterans ring in years to come.
This year Bowie's kids continued to makes us proud, with a total of 6 more champions in 2011 -- Denver, Noka and Theo, in addition to the three Moxie kids mentioned above. Denver especially gave us many thrills, capped off with his Best in Sweepstakes win at the GSMDCA National Specialty this October.
Also at the National Specialty, Shea gave the Conways and I the thrill of a lifetime when he swept the Top 20 -- winning both the Judge's Choice and People's Choice awards. Still only 3 years of age, we know Shea still has many more surprises in store for all of us as he continues to mature.
2011 also brought a huge surprise in the form of one very precocious, adorable Penelope -- the first Old English Sheepdog to grace my home in 12 years. This little girl has already changed my life and is poised to set the world on fire.
The year was also not without its rough patches, particularly as we endured the heartache of saying good-bye to our beloved baby girl Visa -- tragically lost to a rare, bizarre illness. I was so proud of this young lady, who after some rough moments in 2010, transformed this year into the beautiful butterfly we always knew she was. And proud that so many people got to see her amazing run this Spring on the way to her championship.
Of course the best moments of the year were those spent with friends, sometimes at the dogs shows but very often away from the shows. I am blessed with so many good friends, who have been there with me through all the good times, and the tough times too. But one in particular is in a class by herself, and that is my dear friend Virginia O'Rorke, who has been there for me during the toughest times. Thank you, Virginia, for all your support and your friendship.
And thank you to all the wonderful families who have given our dogs such incredible homes. Without such fantastic, loving homes for our extended family of Aegis Swissies, I don't think I could sleep at night. You enable me to do what I love most.
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