Jesse, Billy, Me, Mouse
by Beth Tobias

Sue Wagner was lured to whippets because my Cornish Rex cat, Velvet, adored my Doberman Jesse James but unfortunately was not loved in return. I felt that an IG would make a perfect companion for her. But in researching IGs, I came to feel that they might not be perfect for me (before retirement LOL). And the IG research led me to the TRULY perfect breed... The Whippet :-)
I soon discovered that "whippet people are wonderful". Complete strangers were willing to help me in so many different ways. Erma Kovach kindly opened her home to me so that I might see whippets in a setting other than at a breed show. Barbara Henderson supplied me with invaluable assistance in finding a litter to fit my requirements. She led me to Pat Taylor, breeder of "The Dog Who Walks On Water", a/k/a Chesara's Billy the Kid, TT, JC (Ch Raintree's Sweeney Todd x Ch Chesara's A Capella, SC, CGC). I brought Billy home 4 yrs ago when he was 8 weeks old and it was 100% head-over-heels-&-paws for us both. He was the perfect puppy - except for his penchant for chasing Velvet. They never did grow to become buddy's as I'd hoped (the photo of them snuggling is NOT typical!).

Top is Billy at five weeks of age
Bottom Left is Billy and Velvet and bottom right(shot taken by "Shot On Site") is Billy on the oval track

Billy did great in obedience classes once I realized he needed a warm rug for his SITs & DOWNs Kathy Feldman invited us to come to a Hamilton, OH race meet. I'll never forget that day: the friendly people that I met, their athletic dogs, the surprise that my 9mo old pup exhibited the first time 6 dogs thundered past on the track, the awe & THRILL that I too felt, and the speed in which Billy learned that the dogs were chasing a lure and HE wanted to chase it too! I went home with my head filled with training tips and plans to be at the next meet. A week later Billy damaged his caudal cruciate ligament in the backyard and required surgery to repair it. I was devastated -and Billy had the summer off to recuperate. Yet I continued to go to race meets and, 2 1/2 yrs later, Billy, who is ballistic over the lure, FTE'd at the 1999 WRA National.

One of my most popular pictures on Whippetview
Jesse James (Batman) & Billy (Robin)

During this time I also met Pamela Benus, who would have become my good friend even if she HADN'T had a doberman and whippet just like me . I greatly admire and respect Cheri Boutelle, a breeder of dual purpose whippets who freely helps anyone with her extensive knowledge and experience and never seems to run out of energy.
I thought I was doing very well at resisting the famous Whippet Potato Chip Syndrome. But then my full house sadly had an opening when I lost Velvet too soon to cardiomyopathy. And "Mouse" became available to me....well, AFTER I begged & pleaded with Phoebe Booth to choose ME as her next home. Mouse, Shamasan's Bit Of Bluefire, CR, JC (Ch Slade's Bugle Boy Blu, ARX, TRP, DPC x CH Queenie's Hearts A Fire, ORC, CRX-VI, ARX, DPC, FCH) has proven to me that not ALL female whippets are bitches . My beautiful blue fawn girl is willing, SWEET, smart, charming, loving and defines the word "cute". Mouse too is passionate about racing, and I continue to learn more about my favorite breed by getting into the breed ring with Mouse. Both Billy and Mouse have done very well in obedience classes although I've yet to compete in the ring, mainly because when we aren't traveling to dog events, we are out in the woods hiking our favorite trails.
But my real heart's smiles come from watching my furkids run with such speed, grace and joy during playtimes. Or is it from how Mouse's little face feels against my cheek as her warm breath huffs gently on my neck? Or maybe its from the complete devotion Billy lavishes on me?

Top is my Goregous Portrait of Mouse Painted by Yvonne Sovereign
Bottom Left is "My Beautiful Mouse" and bottom right is Mouse Winning BOS At The 1999 WRA National, photo by Gregg Gammie

I hope that whippet owners and breeders continue to protect whippets from careless and commercial breeding and continue to educate the public. I also would wish that everyone who ever breeds a litter would place health and temperament as first priority.
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