Ch White Star’s Zachary T
Zach was born July 13, 2001 and from the day he was born he was one tough little guy. His only littermate was a tiny little girl named Jilli. He weighed twice as much as she did at birth. He used to push her out of the way every time they were eating…he always wanted the “faucet” she was on. I'd try to block him with my hand and he'd plow right over it. I think it was about that time we started affectionately referring to him as a “bonehead.”
Zach went to live with Chris and Bill Machovina in south Florida to be a little brother to their first PON, White Star’s Sophie Rose. We spent New Years Eve at their house that year and realized that he was turning into a gorgeous specimen of the breed so Jeff asked if he could show him. Jeff showed him and finished his championship at 9 months old with a Group 2. Then he went back home to torture Sophie Rose and drag Chris all over the neighborhood on their daily walks. Chris died very unexpectedly in March, 2004 and Bill’s 82 year old Mom came to help out with the dogs. Zach was just too much boy for her to handle, so we brought Zach home to live with us. When we got him, he was shaved to the skin except for his big head and was almost 60 pounds!! And, he was still “a bonehead.” He was too much for me to handle.
It was ironic that his littermate, Jilli, came back into our lives when her owner, Virginia, hired her groomer, Gina Helmbrecht, to show her. We liked Gina right away and asked if she would be willing to take Zach for 60 days to attempt to train him and get his weight down. The rest is pretty much history. Gina and Zach fell in love with each other. Gina ran 3-5 miles with him a day. She put him on many expensive supplements for his health and coat. She trained him daily and of course, loved him unconditionally. We knew Zach wasn't coming back to us. We gave Gina co-ownership at that time. Gina kept asking when his coat would grow long enough to show him. I told her I thought it would be fine by September. Well, it’s taking forever! His coat is so thick he looks like a sheep, but it is finally starting to grow down instead of out.
Gina entered him in the APONC Regional Specialty, January 10, 2005 and I got to sit in the stands for a change, and watch. When Gina and Zach came into the ring my heart stopped. He is now 48 pounds of solid muscle with a thick white coat and he’s standing in a perfect show stance gazing into Gina’s eyes. Gina is about 6 feet in front of him holding a loose lead, smiling and gazing right back at him. My eyes filled with tears knowing what this dog had been through and how much Gina had done to bring him to this very special day. I couldn't have been more proud of both of them than I was at that moment.
Zach won Best of Breed that day and I started crying tears of joy that still come whenever I think about that moment and everything that led up to it.
Well, Zach has been accepted to compete in New York at Westminster in February, 2005. He still reverts to “bonehead” on rare occasions and in the meantime we're “still living the dream.”
When Zach was accepted to compete at Westminster, Jeff and I called Zach’s “first Dad, Bill”, to tell him about Zach’s accomplishments and his wonderful new life. Bill was so pleased he told us that he would be in New York to see Zach compete at Madison Square Garden. The night before the big show, a group of us were sitting in the lobby of The Pennsylvania Hotel with Zach and Higgins, enjoying all the entertainment going on around us. We looked up and there stood Bill with his eyes riveted on Zach. We were thrilled to see Bill but could see the mixed emotions going on in his eyes. I think he was afraid to approach Zach because he didn’t know how he would be received, nor did he trust his own emotions in front of all these people. He finally knelt down and called, “Zachy”. Zach turned and went over to Bill, sniffed him and then went back to cruising the lobby for ‘chicks.” We all could see the disappointment in Bill’s eyes. Later, at dinner, he told me, with tears in his eyes, that he could see how much Gina and Zach loved each other and he was happy that things worked out so well for Zach, but he still felt bad that Zach hadn’t greeted him enthusiastically. I was thinking what a great memory PONs have and I thought perhaps Zach was ignoring his Dad because he didn’t understand why he had to give him up. I kept my thoughts to myself.
Fast forward to the next morning at 8:30 AM. As I was standing in the ring with Higgins, I looked up into the stands and saw Bill sitting in the very first row with his eyes glued on Zach and Gina. He was leaning forward in anticipation . It almost appeared as if he was going to jump over the railing as if to try to help them.
This story has a very happy ending. Zach did win that morning and as we were all gathering around hugging each other, we heard someone yell, “Zachy, Zachy, you won!” Zach swung his head around to see Bill on his knees with his arms outstretched. Zach leaped up on Bill, putting his paws around his neck, licking Bill’s tears, and wagging his butt 100 miles an hour. Zach pulled back and looked Bill right in the face as if to say, “I knew I was ready, Dad. Guess I’m not such a bonehead after all! Thanks for being here! By the way, have you met my new Mom?
Liza Jane | Olivia | Winnie | Higgins | Scarlett |Bentley| Bernice|