Linx ~ The Last of the Line Claims Many Firsts

More than 30 years ago, I first stepped foot into a dog show ring with my first Norwegian Elkhound Ledgerock’s Sydney Lief, aka Sydney. This historic event in my life with dogs happened at the most unlikely of venues, the Milford Jai Alai Fronton. It was there that I took a chance at dog shows and the gamble paid off. We won Best of Winners and a single championship point. We were on our way to a lifelong passion for the sport of purebred dogs. We were going to become dog fanciers, a group of people who were dedicated to preserving, promoting and more recently, protecting purebred dog breeds. At the heart of this mission, are dog shows, where breeding stock are evaluated to judge their potential genetic contributions to each and every breed of dog recognized by the American Kennel Club.

Sydney never became a champion, but during his show career in the 1980s, I discovered the joy of being an owner/breeder/handler. I came from the horse show world and as a junior rider, I did everything myself from training to braiding to grooming to trailering my own horse to the shows. I liked doing everything myself. Call me a control freak or an over-achiever, but having an intimate role in all aspects of a competition for me, created a deeper level of bonding with my horse. And when I migrated to dog shows, I wanted to follow the same model. And that meant I was going to have to breed my own dogs.

It all began with a bitch called Mumbles. A knowledgeable breeder had given her to us to start our breeding program. And away we went. During the next 20 years, the Elvemel breeding program (with lots of help and mentoring from Kamgaard Norwegian Elkhounds) produced a direct line of award-winning champion bitches from Roxanne to Brittany to Basia to Stasha to Jinx. In 2006, Jinx was bred to an English sire, CH. Kestos Kriega. The results were a litter of two, a boy and a girl. And the one male puppy we named Linx stayed with us.

Linx’s Journey

Most things in life are a result of “timing is everything” or “being in the right/wrong place at the right/wrong time,” or “everything happens for a reasons.” In Linx’s case, the timing for his show dog career was awful. I had started a job at the American Kennel Club that kept me on a long commute to Manhattan, away from my dogs. I quickly became frustrated at trying to do a proper job with Linx without the proper time and resources.

Looking back, Linx didn’t have the best of starts in terms of show dog 101. I didn’t devote as much time to training as I should have, and over the years, it was hit or miss to having a good ring performance. By the time he was three, I’d only showed him a handful of times accumulating three championship points. I decided that Linx would be a great pet and buddy for my husband Ray.


Hanging out on the couch! Deciding who is going to get the remote. 

Fast Forward to 2014. We got a new puppy named Adele. I was going to show her. Since I was going to show her, I thought, let’s bring 8-year-old Linx to some dog shows. In 2015, I retired from my AKC job and had loads of time for my dogs. An amazing thing happened along the way. Linx was coming into his own.

At this point, Linx was the sole survivor of my 20-year-old breeding program. His 2006 litter, is the last litter I’ve bred in 10 years, and the last direct connection from my foundation bitch going back seven generations. Linx is the end of the line.

But then he began to accomplish a number of firsts for Elvemel. Linx’s first AKC title, the Canine Good Citizen, was accomplished by Ray, the first time Ray had handled any dog to any title. Linx became the first dog in Elvemel history to earn the Bred-By Exhibitor medallion from AKC, meaning all his championship points were earned by his owner/breeder/handler. Linx was the first to earn his championship as a Veteran at 8-years-old, becoming CH. Elvemel Casino Royale CGC. After earning an Award of Merit at this year’s national specialty, Linx became the first Elvemel dog to earn an invitation to the Crufts Dog Show in England. And then this past weekend, Linx, now nearly 10-years-old, achieved the first Specialty Best in Show win for Elvemel with his owner/breeder/handler on the end of the leash. And while Linx may be the end of the breeding line, another number of Elvemel firsts are his include being first in our hearts, usually first on the couch to watch TV, and definitely first in line for biscuits. Good Boy!

What Healthy Foods to Have on Hand for Pets

By Lisa Peterson

Many of us who have pets always seem to be opening the refrigerator or cupboard to share our food with them. Most of us do this to provide healthy choices for our dogs but some of us who keep horses on our property have handy hand-outs to promote health and well-being for horses too! An old friend from a writer’s group picked up on several of these equine and canine foods and featured them today on the FitBottomedGirls blog.

Beyond Hay for Horses 

For horses there are severals things in the pantry that can be helpful. When selecting human food to feed your horse make sure it’s close to their natural diet as horses have a sensitive and complex digestive system. This means no chocolate breakfast bars or teriyaki chicken. The best choice, of course, is carrots! Carrots are loaded with beta-carotene and Vitamin A. They offer a nice treat to the horse for greetings and farewells. They are best served in long thin slices to safeguard from choking. Many prefer carrots picked fresh from the garden (or produce section) with their green tops intact for an added anti-oxidant boost.

Baby carrots are a great way to feed treats to your horse!

Baby carrots are a great way to feed treats to your horse!

One treat that is good only very occasionally are sugar cubes. Too much sugar is not good for any being, but once in a while a sweet little treat that usually hangs around the house for fancy parties in grandma’s silver sugar bowl is a horse’s delight. They can make great training treats for your horse as the ultimate reward.

Have a finicky drinker? Maybe you are worried your horse is getting dehydrated, especially in winter, when water can be ice cold and he’s not drinking it. Try adding a little warm apple juice to the water bucket. This sweet taste may entice your horse to slurp it down. Not drinking and getting dehydrated could put them at risk for colic, which could turn deadly.

And finally, an apple a day also keeps the horse doctor away! Sharing this crisp fruit with your equine friend will keep you apprised of how his teeth are doing. If your horse is looking a little thin, it may be because he is having trouble chewing. Feeding him apple slices are good nutritionally but will also show you whether food is falling out of his mouth, an indication of pain from long teeth or brought edges. Watching him eat apples or smaller pieces will give you a clue to his oral health and whether you need to call the horse dentist.

Daily Dose for Dogs

Many horse owners have dogs too!  And raw carrots are the cross-species training treat found in most pet owners homes. This low calorie, crunchy treat is great for dog’s needing reduced calories but still provides that crunch for oral health to reduce tartar accumulation on dog’s teeth. Baby carrots cut in quarters are the perfect size for treating.

Jinx trying to convince Ray that Nachos are good for dogs!

Jinx trying to convince Ray that Nachos are good for dogs!

Keeping your dog fit and healthy can also include some readily available people foods, surprisingly found in cans. Got a fat dog? Reducing fido’s waistline needs more than upping the daily walk. Here’s a trick to easily reduce calories without decreasing the volume of what’s in the bowl. If you feed your dog a cup of kibble per meal, try reducing the kibble by half a cup and replace the other half cup with canned string beans. This lower calorie alternative is tasty and will ease the transition of reducing the amount at meal time. Only feed the replacement beans for two weeks and then resume the regular ration of kibble. Still need to loose more weight? Feed regular rations for another two weeks and then replace rations with half green beans again.

Another super human food for dogs is canned pumpkin or pureed pumpkin. This high in fiber food that makes its annual appearance at Thanksgiving, can be used in a pinch if your dog needs a binding meal after bouts of diarrhea. Adding a few teaspoons to a few tablespoons depending on the size of the dog, can also help with canine constipation. Providing pumpkin keeps Rover regular.

String Cheese Please!

String Cheese Please!

A ubiquitous food in most refrigerator’s is mozzarella string cheese. The low fat version can be a much healthier alternative for training treats that anything you can buy at the pet superstore, many of which are loaded with calories, artificial preservatives and colors. Plus, this tasty treat can be placed in your mouth during training exercises which will draw your dog’s attention to your face, Once she is gazing into your eyes, she may actually listen to what you are asking her to do!