Cos Cup Winner | 3/30/2023
My first Spinone a gentle girl
I have owned purebred dogs my entire life. My first one was a Springer Spaniel named Maggie which I bred while I was in college. I hunted with a Springer as a boy thus my selection of her. I moved through hunting breeds after her. Next was a GSP, and then two GWPs. Our last GWP was my wife’s heart dog named Sadie. At 13 years old our 12-year-old GSP contracted bone cancer and had to be put down. We were in a panic about what was going to happen to Sadie in the near future. I had been looking at Spinone since before they were a recognized breed in the AKC but it was very difficult to find one in the flesh. Two days after we had to put down Gypsy (GSP) I was online looking for a Spinone Breeder. I found Amico Peloso online and decided to call them. They were located in Palisade Colorado at the time and I was about 480 miles to the east in Fort Collins. I called Cheryl Kay Fritts on a Thursday and found out that she had two litters born hours apart and that she still had some pups available. I was invited to come look at the pups.
On Friday I hopped into the car and drove 6 hours one way to see the pups. Sadie went with us and we spent 4 hours with Kay looking at and handling the pups. Sadie settled quickly on Liz. In spite of being the sweetest puppy I have ever met, she was quite a hooligan with Sadie. My decision to seriously consider a Spinone was because I knew I did not have the energy for another GWP. (I was 61 when we got Liz) I knew she would be the perfect old man’s companion. What was more than that she could learn from Sadie and I could see from the first visit that they had become fast friends. Liz was too young to go home yet but we decided almost immediately that we wanted her.
Liz came home with us on December 6th, 2012 and really bonded with Sadie and myself. She was naughty as Spinone is and comical but that fit right in with Sadie. The girls let me go hunting with them (me with my camera) and we had tons of fun as Sadie taught her to swim and play in the snow. Six months after we got her Kay invited us to a meet and greet at the Greeley Dog show where the folks who got pups from those two litters could meet each other. We made fast friends with lots of those folks and got to see them much over the years. I thought I might like to breed again but Kay convinced me that probably I did not. I was still working and could not afford to campaign Liz for a title. I also knew little about breeding and with Kay’s mentoring I realized that I needed a long education. In the meantime, Liz and I became really close and Sadie taught her so much.
Two and a half years after Liz came home with us Sadie crossed the rainbow bridge at 15.5. Liz and I grew even closer and we went for walks together every day as well as trips to the lakes. After 4 months had passed, I told Joyce that she was lonesome and depressed. We decided that we needed another Spinone for her and as it happened Dana Hodges (Standfast Spinone) had a litter just born. I messaged her and found that the pup Joyce was looking at on Facebook (Rhylee) was available and we decided that we would get her. We had met Dana many times at dog shows here in Colorado. Sadie was Joyce’s heart dog so the new pup was going to be her pup. Joyce was also retiring that year so it was perfect. We were getting Rhylee on Joyce’s birthday and bringing back two pups to Colorado. Joyce retired the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and we drove to Montana ahead of a snowstorm to pick up the pups. We spent Thanksgiving with Dana and Greg and left Friday morning for Colorado. We made it to Palisade by 9 at night, again in a snowstorm, and spent the night at Kay’s. The next morning, we drove the 420 miles home to the front range, and Rhylee and Liz began their life together.
Liz opened up a whole new world of new friends many of whom we met on Facebook. Joyce and I and the girls were at the spring dog show in Broomfield Colorado when Kay asked me if we would like to join the Spinone Club of America. We did and then headed off to England where our online Spinone friends put us up as we toured the country. We stayed with Pam Rundle and Olwen McGregor before we returned home. All of this time Liz was my closest companion. We hung out and went everywhere together. In 2019 we all went to the SCOA National in Loveland where we met many more of our SCOA friends and their amazing dogs.
In the summer of 2019, Liz enrolled in a double-blind study at the CSU Vet School to develop a vaccine for Cancer. The study goes on for 5 years and should probably end next year. This could be one of the most important things this wonderful creature participates in for her lifetime. Julia Solomon encouraged us to join this study after her seminar at the SCOA National in Loveland. I am so happy that I did. The COVID lockdown really hurt the study and Rhylee was too young to participate when Liz joined. I enrolled Rhylee last year as they were trying to get the number of dogs back up enough to make the study valid.
It has been 10 years now since Liz has come to be with us and we are finally the same age. I am finding myself at about the same stage as I was when I was so worried about losing Sadie. I am now so close to this dog I cannot imagine being without her. She is in great health and hopefully will live for another 5 years at least but deep down I know as we all do our days are numbered. I cherish every single second I can spend with her. This is the first year I am nominating for the SCOA Awards. I have not shown my dogs or even done NAFDA or agility. I wanted to get Liz into a therapy dog class but COVID hit. Liz is a shy Spinone and she is worse now because she has come into contact with strangers so little in the last three years. None of all that matters to me, because we have kind of, melded into one these last three years. She is my best companion dog and has been for the last 10 years.