2022 National Specialty

I hope that you had a chance to enjoy the “live” posts from Nationals last month in the Talbot Hill Facebook Group. Nationals week is always a frenzied time; up before dawn to prepare dogs and humans, travel to the show site, and competition from 8 am to dusk. Dogs and humans are then quickly fed before evening meetings and events are held and, if we’re lucky, we’re in bed before 11 pm.

This was my fourth Nationals at Institute Farm which returns to Aldie every five years. Aldie was at its best this year: the weather was dry (for the most part) and mild and the grounds have never looked better.

We had more than 300 beagles entered and visitors from around the country and around the world. It’s always a great time to get together with friends, particularly those who travel from abroad. I loved spending time with my Scandinavian friends, Madde, Janne, Anne and Miikka. Tack för Bilar och lakrits!

Scandinavian delicacies that Amanda and I are saving for the start of Biathlon season next month.

It seems that no Nationals is without it’s legends that live on into the future and this one was no exception. As I landed at Dulles, an urgent message from one of my roommates for the week warned me that we had “a situation”. The situation, it turned out, was that our prepaid AirBNB, that the first of us to arrive…via Uber, in the rain, at night…had been found occupied! New accommodations had to be found for four people and three dogs on very short notice. We eventually made our way to a new AirBNB, just 15 minutes from the show site, at 9 o’clock that night, and unpacked and fed the dogs. Robin and I then looked at one another and realized that neither of us had eaten that day. “Are there any decent restaurants open at 10 pm on a Sunday night?”. Google told us Giuseppe’s was open until 11 pm so we quickly got back in the car in the hope that we might get something to eat before going to bed that night. In the lobby of Giuseppe’s we found six teenage employees who took one look at two hungry old women and then had the nerve to tell us that Giuseppe’s closed at 10 pm that night. Our “But, but, but’s….” were to no avail and we were directed two stoplights down the road where we found a Walmart…not quite what we had in mind. Giuseppe’s teenagers, who refused to feed two old women, became a lasting memory of this year’s Nationals. Then there was the “Tiny Tornado” that hit Aldie and the “AirBNB of the 1000 Stairs”. It was a lovely place with beautiful grounds but, in the future, I think we’ve learned that 1000 stairs and old women are a bad combination.

Talbot Hill was well represented in both the 13″ and 15″ varieties. For the second year in a row, Laura Hiatt and Martin, CH Talbot Hill Matador North Star (15″), made it to the final cut. Laura is best known for her accomplishments in the agility ring but I am incredibly proud of her for the work that she has done in the conformation ring. Laura is passionate about her dogs and she is able to focus that passion and remain open to learning new skills, making her a high-achiever in whatever she sets her mind to. Martin is a stunning dog and we look forward to his first litter in 2023.

In the 13″ variety, Martin’s 6 month old niece, Talbot Hill Manahound Magnolia, “Poppy” (out of Martin’s litter sister, Talbot Hill Dukeang No Small Matter), was 13″ Reserve Winner’s Bitch. A win at Nationals is always special but this one was particularly meaningful because I share it with so many people. I want to first mention the Flora’s, who drove from Seattle to Indiana in the middle of winter to breed the litter that resulted in Poppy’s sire. They didn’t want to put Albus’ mother on a plane so they made the drive instead and, as a result, got to spend a wonderful week with the breeder/owner of the stud dog, a breeder who generously shared her years of wisdom and knowledge with them.

The Hays’, with whom Poppy’s mother lives, drove two hours during a heavy snow storm at the beginning of 2022, to bring her to me for breeding. They returned again a week later, again through heavy snow, to take her home. The breeding happened just before I took Marte to the Palm Springs shows. Sadly, Marte contracted parvo in Palm Springs and the litter that I had just bred before our trip could not be whelped and raised in my home; alternative plans had to be made. Liz Rosbach (Manahound) generously volunteered to whelp and raise the litter but when the litter decided to arrive a day early, in the Hays’ home, the Hays’ got to spend the first two weeks of their lives with the litter. When it was time for the puppies to go to their new homes, Poppy then went to Camp Kriegel, an hour north of my home in Seattle. I wanted to wait until Poppy had had a fifth parvo vaccination before bringing her home. The Kriegels did a fabulous job raising Poppy and Poppy became good friends with her aunt Midge, CH Talbot Hill No Reservations (litter sister of Martin and Moira). To thank the Kriegels for their kindness and generosity, I will be helping them with a litter of their own next year: Albus x Midge; the same pedigree that resulted in Poppy.

One final note of thanks, to my Nationals roommates, Robin Wescher (Maple Ridge) and Sarah Houle (Kinsglo) & Tony Wicke. Thank you for making Nationals week fun and memorable in so many ways. Thank you for rising to the occasion and rolling with the flow. Until we meet again next year in Texas, and hopefully before then…love you all!

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