Santos: Bragging rights

THIS time of the year, my newsfeed on Facebook (FB) is littered with adulatory posts of my friends whose child or relative graduated with honors. I could only turn green with envy.

I chose not to have children, so yes, I will have to experience vicariously through my nieces and nephews, and the children of my relatives and friends, the joy of having progenies achieve milestones academically. But then it occurred to me, I actually have three rambunctious “children,” my three companion dogs. And their achievements, albeit “non-academic,” are nothing short of phenomenal. So now it’s your turn to bear with me as I brag about my beautiful “daughters.”

I will be bold and declare that I consider Roslin my dream golden retriever. She was the first one that I had with a pedigree that will give the royal family a run for their money. So when she finally arrived, I was beyond happy. I had to “wait” for her for more than three years.

She is actually what you call an “import in dam”, her dam was bred in the US and then flown here to the Philippines. She has outstanding dogs behind her. Her sire was “Ryder”, Best in Specialty Show (BISS) American (Am.) Champion (CH) Hytree's Ryd-N- Out The Storm Show Dog Hall of Fame (SDHF) Outstanding Sire (OS); he was fondly dubbed “The Perfect Gentleman”.

Ryder was a Top 20 Golden Retriever of the Golden Retriever Club of America (GRCA) in 2006. Her dam is “Vodka”, Canadian (Can) CH Faera’s Stolichnaya. Ryder and Vodka go back to at least three great golden retriever ancestors who are beautifully structured, had great achievements in the ring, and produced outstanding progenies.

One of them is “Aruba”, BISS BIS Am Can CH Amberac's Asterling Aruba Outstanding Dam (OD) SDHF. Aruba is the top producing dam in the golden retriever’s breed history. The second one is “James”, Multi Best in Show (MBIS) and (BISS) Am/Can CH Asterling's Wild Blue Yonder OS SDHF Canine Good Citizen (CGC), top winning golden in the American Kennel Club (AKC) history. And the third one is Thunder, Am CH Faera's Future Classic OS, sire of over 110 champions and a Golden Retriever of Canada (GRCC) Hall of Fame.

With an illustrious pedigree, one would expect that Roslin should have been winning rosettes left and right the first time she “set paws” in the conformation ring. Her call name means “little redhead” in Irish. She was a gorgeous redhead when she was a puppy.

Unfortunately, I campaigned her during the time when her three other sisters were also competing. They stole the thunder from her so to speak. But when she finally bloomed into that winning form, she decided she’s not interested with the pageantry anymore. So she is stuck with 13 championship points, two points shy of her title. But I think she prefers just being the champion in my heart.

What Roslin lacked in “showmanship,” she more than made-up in her devotion to me. She would sit beside me every time I work, eat or watch TV. When I sleep, she lays beside my bed. She even waits for me at the door while I am at the comfort room. If I go out to buy something she will be by the entrance until I return. If she needs to go out to do her things, she nudges; looks at me with her expressive eyes and points her nose to the door, albeit apologetically.

I am more bonded to her than to my other two golden retrievers. Perhaps, because I almost lost her when she was about eight months old from an unidentified illness. She kept on vomiting and having diarrhea for almost ten days. One vet in Baguio City gave up on her. But she never gave up. After almost a month of confinement, she pulled through.

Flurry came into my life when she was about four years old. Her human migrated to the USA and she could only bring two adult golden retrievers.

Roslin was my only dog then and she was a full-sibling to her so it was agreed that she will be fostered by me. Just like human siblings, she has a different personality from Roslin. Her prey drive is so strong. She’s a bit snobbish back then but very obedient until she sees a tennis ball, morsel of food and my used socks.

She almost succumbed to complications from an emergency spay surgery in March of 2017, but when she recovered, I was surprised to see a radical change in her personality. She became affectionate, possessive almost, and showed her goofy side. But her greatest asset is her sound structure.

She was the first to finish her Philippine Champion and Grand Championship titles among her siblings. She has six gets who are champions, among them the No. 1 Golden Retriever of the Philippines in 2017, which made her an Outstanding Dam.

More than five years ago, I helped bring Sabrina in to this world one early morning in August 12, 2013, in my bedroom and we were together ever since. I am actually her proud breeder. Her pedigree is as prominent as her dam Roslin and auntie Flurry. Her sire is “Couper”, BIS Am. CH/Phil. Gr. Ch. Goodtime Redhill Little Deuce Coupe. He was the No. 1 Golden Retriever of the Philippines four years in a row from 2010-2013. Her grand sire paternal side is “JBG”, Am Grand Champion (GCH) /CanCH Goodtime's Johnny Bee Good BISS Best Opposite Sex (BOS) Best in Specialty Opposite Sex (BOSS) SDHF OS. He is the GRCA Best of Breed (BOB) during the 2014 National Specialty. He was also the BOS at Westminster in 2009.

In fact, Sabrina is Ph. Ch. Noblepine Agent Duncan with 20 Phil. Gr. Ch. points –five points shy from her second title – to her credit.

I was at the end of the leash when she earned her grand championship points during the Philippine Club Inc. (PCCI) International Circuit show in January 2017 – a proud day for me as an owner, handler and breeder. I started training her for basic obedience and show skills when she was just eight weeks old. She is the one most attached to me. Apart from her achievements, what I love most about her is her being so obedient and intelligent. I think she would make an exceptional Search and Rescue (SAR) dog. She actually rivals Roslin when it comes to her devotion to me. She is her mother’s daughter, after all.

I rarely brag about my golden retrievers – it is not in keeping with dog sportsmanship. But yes, like most “normal” parents, there comes a time when we could not control our emotions. After all, our sons and daughters are the extensions of ourselves.

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