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My love affair with the Gray Ghost began when I was about 12 years old.  The name on her tag read “Leka” and her yard backed to the path I walked to school every morning.   She was shiny and sleek with a feminine athletes build, but it was those pale eyes that bore right through me, straight to my heart.   I never met her owners (I was a shy child) but enjoyed her company over the fence for the few months that she lived there.   I had no idea what breed of dog she was.

After high school, I moved out of my parents house. Stuck in an apartment, I satisfied my need for a dog by getting a Maltese that I named Teddy Bear and then a year later I added a female, Baby Doll. They were sweet, sassy and adorable, but I have always been a big dog person and I longed for the day when I had a house with a yard so I could fulfil that dream. Then in the fall of 1991, I made a decision to sell my condo and buy a house .   I started my search for a Weimaraner at the same time.  I scoured the newspaper weekly, but there were no Weimaraner puppies listed for sale.   A break came in February of 1992, when a family in northern Colorado had a litter of puppies.  A visit.  Money changed hands.  I had myself a soft bundle of gray happiness waiting for me to return and pick her up in a few weeks.  I named her Cheyenne Storm, and called her Stormy.

She was smart, VERY SMART. 
She was sweet, affectionate and stubborn, VERY STUBBORN... 
And man could she pitch a fit! 

She loved children.  The neighbor kids would come over and ask, “Could Stormy could come out and play?”  

She taught me a lot.   

1995 brought a litter of 3 adorable puppies to our household – Mischief, Mathilda, and Zephyr.  I became involved with the Mile High Weimaraner Club and was introduced to some of the many wonderful things that you can do with Weimaraners.  We attended a seminar hosted by the Weim Club and instructed by Charlie and Sue Williams, who have owned, trained and handled many national caliber field dogs over the past decades.  We continued to meet with them several times a month, watching our young dog’s instincts kick in.  It’s truly amazing to see the light bulb come on in a dog when they realize what they were born to do. 

That same year, I jumped in to the show ring with both feet.  Mischief was my first show dog.   We did pretty well for a couple of novices, often winning the Bred-By class and Reserve.  Her first 2 points were a real thrill for me.   Mischief soon became bored with the show ring, preferring to chase and retrieve pigeons instead.  Through a twist of fate, Mathilda came back to me in February of 1997.  She was a basket case.  She had been through a lot in 18 months.  The week she came back to me, she and Mischief pushed some pickets loose in the fence and disappeared into the sub zero night.   That has to be one of the worst feelings that you can have as a pet owner.  I spent 2 hours driving up and down every street and alley, calling their names, until I had no voice left.  I returned home to Mischief, standing in the driveway.  She was alone.  Nothing to do but wait.  And hope.   This was the second time Mattie had done this.  The first time she was 6 months old and had no tags on.   By a miracle, she was found 2 days later, skinny and wounded by a run in with barbed wire.  Physically she had healed, but the emotional scars were still visible.   Could I really hope for a 2nd miracle for Mattie?   I crated the dogs inside and left the gate to the yard open.  I was awakened at 4am by a barking dog.    Looking at the back door, I could see the shadow of a dog standing on the other side of the doggie door.  It was Mattie, she found her way back!  

Well she was back, but she still had a long ways to go.  She had been taught to be mistrustful of strangers and very protective of her owner.   My intention was to find her a new home, but she would need some rehabilitation first.  We enrolled in an obedience course in March.   She was very uncertain at first, but then an amazing transformation took place right before my eyes.  She was having fun and gaining confidence.   She was learning to trust me to watch out for her.   She earned top scores in her class and her final performance was good enough for her to pass a Novice level Obedience test.   Earlier that month I had left the girls with a friend who is a part time conformation handler, while I went out of town for a weekend.  He was evaluating Mischief for me because I was thinking of letting him handle for me for the next few months.   Imagine my surprise, when he told me he wanted to show Mattie instead!   My poor, neglected, repo dog?! 

Based on the amazing progress Mattie had made in her obedience class, I decided to let Larry take Mattie to a Weimaraner Specialty and 2 days of All Breed Shows in Albuquerque, NM in May of 1997.  I wasn’t expecting much, it was her first show, after all.    I expected even less after hearing that some big time pros and well respected breeders were in attendance.  Her very first time in the ring she place 2nd in a large Open Class behind a bitch that would later grow up to be a Best in Show winner and Top 10.  The second day she took Reserve to the same bitch.   And on the third day, she won Winners Bitch, Best of Winners, and Best Opposite Sex (over a special) for a 4 point major!  Not bad for her first weekend!   Over the next 3 months, Mattie steam-rolled over stiff competition on her way to earning her Championship.  Winning streaks like this are a rare sight in the competitive world of dog shows.  All totaled in just 14 shows, Mattie racked up 3 Reserves, 9 Winners Bitch, 6 Best of Winners, 6 Best of Opposite Sex and a finished her Championship with a Best of Breed over the region's top special and a 3rd major!  Well that did it, we were officially hooked!

Since then we have gone on to train and compete in AKC licensed Hunt Tests and Ratings sponsored by the WCA.   Five of Mattie’s offspring have earned points toward their AKC Championships, 2 are Champions and Best of Breed Winners, another a WCA Top 10 Obedience finalist 2 years running. Her only grandaughter is a Champion who finished with 2 specialty majors, one of them for 5 points at a WCA Regional Specialty and she also placed in her Futurity and is a multiple BOB winner. Mattie also has 4 Champion Great Grand children and 5 others in the progress. We've also played around with agility and tracking and we're currently getting ready to try Rally -O..  There is so much that you can do with a Weimaraner, it’s hard to find the time to do it all!


Above: Working with Stoli from our 2000 litter.
Right: Practicing with a young Gracie.

 

Please visit Our Foundation and Our Future to hear the rest of our story.


 

 

 
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