DaDane of DaWeek

 Created: 11/15/04


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BISS CH Wiedanes A Gala at Owlwatch CGC — 

November 15, 2004 – I first met this beautiful blue girl – Gala – at the 2002 GDCA National Specialty in Ft. Mitchell, Kentucky. What a lovely creature. She literally "wowed the crowd" as she took charge of the ring, first winning Best Junior in Futurity, then winning her Open Class (12-18 months), later taking Winner's Bitch and FINALLY walking way with the oh-so-coveted Best of Winners award. A truly remarkable feat!

Jane and Phil Gray of Owlwatch Great Danes are the proud owners of Gala. She is the daughter of their home-bred Owlwatch Good Time Charlie. Phil was kind enough to allow me to photograph Gala shortly before she went back into the ring for that exciting Winner's Bitch competition in 2002. I used one of those photographs as the basis for an informal portrait that appeared three days later on DaDane of DaWeek. You can imagine how pleased I was a year later when, at 2003 GDCA National Specialty in Orlando, Phil approached me to ask if I would be interested in creating a formal portrait of Gala. He didn't have to ask twice. We did a couple of photo shoots from which evolved the portrait pictured above. This very portrait, printed on canvas and framed, was showcased at my booth during the 2004 National in Ft. Worth, Texas, last month.

At my request, the Grays had this to say about Gala's impressive exhibition record:

by Phil and Jane Gray

BISS CH WIEDANES A GALA AT OWLWATCH CGC was whelped two days before the terrible attack on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. She was one of nine puppies born to Ch Midnite Run-Wiedanes Tatum, and was sired by our Ch Owlwatch Good Time Charlie CGC. After examining the litter, by previous arrangement with her breeders, Jill and Jerry Wiechens, we decided to take a puppy in lieu of a stud fee, and Gala came to live with us at Owlwatch.

After showing a lot of promise as a puppy, Gala truly burst onto the show scene shortly after her first birthday picking up back to back major wins at the Lakeshore Great Dane Club specialty show, and the Stone City Kennel Club the week before the 2002 GDCA National Specialty. Gala let us know that her previous wins were not a fluke, by being awarded the National's "Best Junior in Futurity" just nine days later.

That Futurity win was extremely rewarding and exciting for us and her breeders, but would prove to be merely a prelude to one of the most exciting weeks we have experienced since we started showing Great Danes in the late sixties.

After her showing in the Futurity, there were rumblings of speculation that Gala was just getting started. That she went on to win the extremely competitive Twelve to Eighteen month class over thirty plus beautiful bitches only added to that speculation. In addition, the fact that so many friends and acquaintances kept telling us they thought that she had an extremely good chance at Winners Bitch, did not serve to quiet the feeling of anxiety that was building within us.

Because of all the speculation concerning Gala, we really weren't overly concerned or excited when a dog that we had bred won the open fawn class, but when he was chosen Winners Dog, that was something so totally unexpected and out of the blue, we were stunned.

Realistically, I don't think that anyone goes to a National Specialty expecting to win. We always go with the hopes that our dogs will show well, be competitive, and make a good impression on fellow exhibitors and the judges as well. Having just seen a dog that we had bred chosen Winners Dog, how could we possibly have any hope of seeing our Gala chosen Winners Bitch as well?

When Gala was chosen Winners Bitch and eventually Best of Winners, it was as if we were living in a dream. No breeder or exhibitor could ever expect to have this happen in real life; but it did! It just goes to show that sometimes dreams do come true, and Gala was – and continues to be – a big part of our dream.

Phil and Jane Gray
Owlwatch Great Danes and Whippets

Last Spring, Gala was bred to Ch WYSIWYG's Lothario v Longo, aka Luca. I first met Luca at the 2000 National where he won Best in Futurity. (The only blue ever to win that title.) He was eight months old and simply stunning. I became a huge fan of Luca, and I hold the highest regard for his breeder, Teresa LaBrie. The pairing of Luca with Gala was carefully considered on both sides and it is, of course, quite exciting. I can't wait to see how the puppies turn out.

Jane Gray tells us:

On May 16th, Gala presented us with 9 beautiful blue babies. Although it was a very busy day (considering that same day our whippet bitch delivered 8 puppies as well), all went smoothly. We posted photos weekly of the up-and-coming blue hopefuls only to get a slew of responses as to who thought which were better choices for the show ring. Having bred to "Luca", aka Ch WISIWYG's Lothario v Longo, when Teresa LaBrie was interested in a puppy, we were honored.

Deciding who was to get which puppy and getting them all safely into their new homes (hurricanes being an obstacle) was the most stressful part of the whole process. Having gone all over the country and even out of the country, all were placed with great care.

We are anxiously awaiting the "coming out" of these Gala babies since they are legal after the 16th of November. All of them may not be quite ready to "show their stuff" right at their 6 month birthday, but a couple are ready to debut. With the next generation always being of prime importance, these babies were born to completely health-checked parents and are attempting to continue in those winning ways.

I suspect Gala produced more than a few up-and-coming champions in that remarkable litter!

Sadly, Luca died earlier this year. He was a magnificent Dane in both type and temperament. Fortunately for all of us, Luca's progeny will go on to grace the show ring and his strong presence will be felt for generations to come. (You can see Luca here.)

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