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All that live must die,
Passing through nature to eternity.
Shakespeare's Hamlet, Act I, Scene II
January 6, 2003 – On
December 31, 2002, a remarkable Great Dane named Hamlet
(Onarok's Prince of Denmark) was laid to rest. He
was nine and a half years old. Hamlet was well-known to members
of the Dane community – and wildly popular.
Some might even say he was famous. One thing is for certain,
Hamlet knew how to wow the crowds at the Great Dane National
where, over the years, he performed many memorable moves in the Parade ring. Hamlet's "Bye-Bye Wave" will always be a favorite moment, never forgotten. In fact, it was the inspiration for a wonderful bronze sculpture by Louise Peterson, titled High
Hamlet had a great pedigree,
but he could not be exhibited in AKC breed conformation because
his coat pattern – mantle/boston
– was not allowed in the American breed ring until
1999. Undeterred, his dedicated owners, Walt and Maria
Perkins, pursued obedience training with Hamlet.
his first AKC title as a Companion Dog (CD) and a bit later,
Companion Dog Excellent (CDX). Hamlet acquired his Canadian
CD as well.
he could not compete in AKC conformation, the mantle
coat was permitted in Canada, so with a little extra traveling
from his home in Massachusetts, Hamlet was able to pursue a CKC
conformation title. He won his Canadian Championship in 1996.
mantle coat was finally accepted in the United States. By then
Hamlet was 6 years old and by definition a "veteran
dog," but he began working on his AKC Championship anyway.
As the crowd cheered
him on, Hamlet won his class at the GDCA National in 2001. It was
a special moment.
Hamlet matured from puppy to adult, his reputation and popularity
increased. He became a highly regarded ambassador for the breed
a notable entertainer.
His engaging personality
and dapper appearance sold many people on the mantle coat pattern
at a time when it was
in or around the show ring. Hamlet also helped raise awareness
about the rewards of participating in Obedience training. He
was a remarkable creature. I believe some dogs are born to
be stars, but I also believe that no
dog can achieve greatness without a Special Human to help
Hamlet's Special Human was
Walt Perkins. The two of them had a very unique relationship
and Hamlet utterly
Walt. I am sure everything Hamlet did, he did for Walt.
himself has what one might call "stage presence," so
when you put Hamlet and Walt together in the ring, they
commanded attention. This was especially true at the annual
Parades. Both Walt and Hamlet would step into the ring decked
out in black and white. (Hamlet had an advantage there.
No costume required.) Walt
and Hamlet would work the crowd, and by the time Hamlet waved
goodbye to Walt from across the ring,
the audience was stamping its feet, clapping its hands, and calling
Hamlet's Last Performance
When Hamlet died on New Year's Eve, he took leave of
a family who loved him dearly and he left behind a community
of fans who will always remember him. We can picture
Hamlet turning to Walt one last time – just before
he crossed the Bridge – to wave his final farewell.
Hammie. We wish you could give us an encore.
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