2016 certainly had an element of heartbreak.
The first Armahani babies were born without Mum by my side, helping with photos, doing the lunchtime run during the “quiet weeks” (thanks Dad for taking over), being on cuddle duties, and sharing in my normal stresses as they grew and developed (“talking me off the limb” – thanks Shell for taking over that one!).
They were also the last Armahani babies born with Vanessa by my side, wanting to know every detail, admiring them and telling me that of course they were all perfect and I need to stop stressing and over thinking everything.
The second half of the year was one in which neither of these important and special woman in my journey as a breeder were on the other end of the phone whenever anything exciting happened in the ring. It has been a hard adjustment. But if I’ve learnt anything over the last couple of years, it is that life and dreams continue, and moments of joy and pride, even if the unthinkable happens, even if those things you never think you could move beyond happen.
There was a lot to give me pride in 2016 so I’m going to share a few highlights.
I can’t possibly brag about 2016, without mentioning Kat & CJ's super star Tortik (Ch Armahani Heliodorr Halu (AI)). Man I love this dog! After the journey I had with Louis in the ring, it felt like it would be a very long time before I’d have another partner in the show ring giving me the same buzz. And while there will never quite be another Louis, Tortik has certainly given me much to smile about in the limited showing we’ve done together. He ended the year on 500 points with 5 BIGs, and a RUBISS win, and 1st on the DOL National Show Dog of the Year pointscore for the Finnish Lapphund breed (18th Working Dog in Victoria), and 2nd on the National Breed Challenge pointscore (1st for Victoria).
We had three Armahani kids on the Show Dog of the Year pointscore (requiring a minimum of a RUBIG win). Tortik and Bianca's Lumi (Gr Ch Armahani Diamond Davvir (AI) CD RA ADX JDX ET) came in 1st and 2nd nationally, with Bennigan (Ch Armahani Heliodorr Hulivili (AI)) coming in 7th. Given Benni was only with Rachael for the last couple of months of the year to gain that, I suspect he’ll be giving us a run for our money in 2017 (and indeed he's already started!)! Lumi became the first Armahani Grand Champion over the year, and we can’t thank Bianca enough for all she has done with this special boy who we’re super proud of.
We also gained the 2nd and 3rd spots nationally on the breed challenge pointscore (again with Tortik and Lumi), with Baby (Am Ch Ch Calaban’s Dirty Dancing RN (Imp USA)) taking 10th spot and 3rd bitch.
Over the second half of the year, seven (OMG 7!?!?) new Armahani babies hit the ring. Out of them 6 took home fringies (classes in group) before the year had ended, so I can’t possibly be anything other than pretty proud of them all – particularly as 4 of the 6 are regularly in competition with one another! I’m really looking forward to watching them start to mature now. My biggest personal fun came Tracey’s Loki (Armahani Iolite Ilolas (AI)) and Sam’s Uno (Armahani Jade Jalokivi) who I have had to take turns a bit with handling and get out sporadically at best, who still managed 5th and 9th on the National Rising Star pointscore for Lappies.
I’m a big supporter of the neuter class, and it always gives me great pride to show who I consider to be dogs worthy of taking out breed wins in the “big boy classes” if only they were eligible (and given the comments from judges seems to be a shared viewpoint). In the beginning of the year I finished Kirra’s title (Neut Ch Armahani Crystal Cumma). And in the later part of the year (once the groomer initiated tail shortening had resolved itself ;) ) Koda (Armahani Fireopal Fitmat) joined us a few times. Armahani kids took 1st, 2nd and 3rd on the national neuter pointscore for the breed – in order Shareen's Mischa (Ch & Neut Ch Armahani Bloodstone Bilaidit RE), Shell's Squiggle (Ch & Neut Ch Armahani Diamond Dansut (AI) CCD RA JD HT ET JC FM), and Merrilyn's Koda (Armahani Fireopal Fitmat, with all taking awards at the group and show level during the year.
Things were slightly quieter on the performance front this year. But we still had some lovely achievements with new titles from Lumi and Squiggle. And I concentrated on the rally ring, pulling Louis out of his retirement to earn his Rally Masters title, and taking Baby to her Rally Novice title. Hopefully we’ll do a little more this year.
The Breeder of the Year pointscores haven’t closed yet, but I think I can be pretty confident of the results to say Armahani again took out 1st place (following 2015) for 2016.
Thanks for to the owners, handlers, and supporters of our beautiful babies. Nothing would be possible without the work and helping hands you give.
Who knows what 2017 will bring. Likely good things and not so good things. But with great friends and our wonderful dogs around, the good will always win out.