Cynthia Schmidt is a whippet owner and a great whippet artist. She has owned whippets for 25 years. I got my first whippet in 1975, got hooked on going to shows (to this day I can't explain WHY) and lure coursing. The first trial I entered with Zap was at Vale Vue in 1976; Zap got 3rd place and 20 points. Watching him take off after the lure and do this on his own sealed my fate!

My best show dog was Ch Jamal's November Light. Nyssa was BOB from the classes, owner handled, at the AKC Centennial Show in 1984 on her second birthday. Back then, it was extremely difficult to show a solid fawn; I had several judges say to me (as they handed me a red or yellow ribbon) "she's the best whippet I've seen in a long time, it's a shame she's the wrong color." This was how I learned to accept stupid criticism.

I've learned so much from so many people; I'd hate to slight someone by leaving them off the list! Mrs W P Wear, Mrs Margaret Hodge, Cora Miller, Janet Wayock, Louis Pegram, Rich Briscoe all helped me out by answering what I'm sure were extremely self-evident questions when I was just starting out. I must mention Joan Goldstein; at my first couple of shows, she was kind and generous with her time, I'm sure one of the reasons I enjoyed going to shows so much. Today, Karen Lee, Lisa Costello, Carol Curry, Barbara Parsons, and Donna Lynch continue to be sources of inspiration, consolation and entertainment.

Three of my four favorite whippets are now memories...first would be China, Millrace Million Dollar Baby, my dear friend for 14 years. She was the first puppy born in my first litter, was big and beautiful and moved like Secretariat; unfortunately, she had ears like Secretariat too. Just sensible, sane and vastly amusing. Next was Nyssa, who could give lessons to cat burglars. I will never forget driving home with her from her breeder's in a blizzard, or the way she looked at me in the group ring at the Centennial. She was lethal on live game, but wouldn't chase a dead lure. Most recently I lost Magill, FC Millrace March Hare, CD LCM. Her virtues far outweighed her faults; she was one of the most beautiful whippets I've ever seen, one of the most powerful running dogs I've ever watched and the most easily trained. She was my partner in so many things and we still had many things we wanted to do. I have so many wonderful memories, there isn't enough bandwidth on the web to go into them.

 

I see a fairly happy future for whippets. There are many attentive, conscientious breeders who are breeding for a beautiful whippet that has the mental and physical ability to compete in athletic arenas, and that's nothing but good news for the breed. I still see a lot of ads from people who care only for show records and winning in breed rings, or for race meet records and winning at racing; both of these narrow-minded viewpoints affect the ultimate quality of our breed. Emerging hereditary problems need to be watched closely too.

If I could offer one piece of advice to other whippet owners: Laugh. While not entirely trivial, a lot of what we do seems incredibly silly to the "rest" of the world...lighten up and laugh, keep your sense of humor and perspective. I have a strong feeling my whippets are laughing a LOT of the time, especially at me.