I want to share with you a little of the story of Neas, the beautiful winning Borzoi, owned by Elizabeth (Betsy) Wells Denning. I’ve been working with Neas for three years, come October, and am so thrilled to watch him strengthen as he rises to top conditioning. And thrilled when I get an email or phone call from Betsy about another win!
Betsy bred Neas herself, as a part of the Chinese Herb litter (long story). The mother dog had no milk so she hand-raised seven pups for three weeks on goat’s milk. (There must certainly be a grand tale of no sleep!)
She named him GCH Mascha’s AAscaneas, but just Neas for short. AAscaneas was Aeneas’ son in Greek mythology. The AA reflects the AAshtoria side of his pedigree, and Mascha the other.
A little about Betsy: She showed horses for 35 years, ending up in hunters. When she could no longer show horses due to responsibilities with regard to her aging parents, she said, “The universe sent me Borzois,” who are so much like horses. She calls herself a “hobby breeder” — 4 litters in 18 years and actually hates breeding because of the emotional toll it so often takes.
Her great skill is in developing dogs, and that is where her heart lies. She says she has the most fun figuring out how to help a dog be the best he can be, and “putting the puzzle together.” As an owner-handler it is not always easy going up against the pros. But she does great, and is very talented.
Prizes: Neas finished from Bred by Exhibitor by going Breed Over Specials at a supported entry in 2010. She won BOB with him and last year qualified for Eukanuba as he was in the top 25 with very few shows. Betsy’s experience is that the dog show world does not embrace owner-handlers so was just thrilled to get a Group One.
Betsy was delighted we would be blogging about her and Neas, and added these thoughts:
“Winning depends a great deal on conditioning, and I am so sick of people not realizing that. So many people say it is political, but I have won because my dog was in better condition; judges have commented on it and said they wish more dogs were in such good shape. So, I can’t stress enough the importance of good conditioning. Sadly, it seems people will only commit to it in order to win more often, but at least more dogs will be in better shape! The dog world is actually years behind the horse world in all this.
“The truth is, a few years ago, I just was not succeeding with Neas as I had hoped, and I figured it might not all be down to pilot error. I had heard of Dr. Deb Saunders, and when a friend saw Deb’s ad in “Dog News,” sent it to me. It turned out that Neas had heat in his back and needed core conditioning to address that.
“So, a nutshell of his treatment: It will be three years in October I’ve been working on him with Deb. In fact, one of her students worked on him today at the show where we are–his hamstring was tight! He does regular peanut-roll work, pulling, stairs, tug of war, and started out only being able to stay on the physio roll for three minutes and now I groom him on it! He has a golf cart for roading in the field, pulls both low and high weights, does the donut and weight bands, and can now jump in the air and nail the stack at the end of the down and back.
“I go back to Deb for checkups and probably drive her nuts with my emails on questions about what to do, etc.
“This treatment and exercise plan has helped him enormously. Never mind the winning (although it is wonderful!), it has made him a sounder dog. His hind end is much stronger now, and I have probably saved him from vertebral surgery as he is very long. Yes, he is winning, but the process has been the most fun.
“I’m sure Deb would say I am OCD when it comes to learning about all this, so I emphasize it is not a quick fix. This is a huge commitment in time but the results are worth it. I am not sure many people would make my kind of time commitment, but if they even did half as much, their dogs would feel better.”
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Many thanks to you Betsy, for writing. All of us at Wizard of Paws honor your commitment, your energy, your enthusiasm, your determination, and your great gift!
BLOG UPDATE JULY 10 2012: