"Rico" MBIF FC Arborlea Everybody's Talking, SC, CGC

David & Jen Gough’s kennel name is Wilango and we, of course, are whippet enthusiasts. My introduction to whippets was when I was about 14 years old. I owned and showed horses thanks to my Grandaddy's sponsorship. One of my horsy friends brought home the most wonderful dog I'd ever met. His name was Clover and he was a whippet. I instantly fell in love and wanted a whippet of my own but my mother was, and is, a "cat person" and dogs were not allowed. I vowed one day to have a whippet.

When I was in college in Charlotte, NC, I felt the time had come to add a whippet to my life. I started researching the breed, checking the newspaper for ads, calling veterinarians in the area but couldn't find a whippet anywhere. I had just about given up. One day while out shopping, I noticed a car in the parking lot that had a bumper sticker that read "Whippets are Wrunnerful". I renewed my efforts to find one. I happened to be in my vet's office one day with one of my cats and an employee overheard me talking about wanting a whippet. She said she believed they had someone to refer me to. She supplied me with the name and phone number. I raced home to call this person, and sure enough, I'd found a source. This person was Mallory Ballard, Arborlea Kennels.

Left is "Spree" BIF Plumcreek Belle Esprit, FCh, CGC and Right is "Rico" MBIF FC Arborlea Everybody's Talking, SC, CGC

I talked to Mallory for what seemed like hours and we made plans for me to come to her house and visit her dogs that weekend. I was ecstatic! The weekend could not come soon enough. That Saturday I drove out to the Ballards' home. Lo and behold was the same car I'd seen while shopping right there in her driveway. I was welcomed into their home and was immediately mobbed by five of the most loving, gorgeous animals I had ever seen. I sat out on the deck getting many kisses. Mallory and I talked at length about why I wanted a whippet, what my schedule was like, whether a puppy or adult would be the better choice, and what I was able to pay at the time. After our conversation, I decided an adult might suit me better. Fortunately, Mallory knew of an adult in need of a good home and he was the littermate to three of her dogs. He was a neutered male named Ian. She put me in touch with the lady who had to find him a home.

To make a long story short, I bought Ian. Mallory and I stayed in touch and she invited me out to a lure coursing practice.I had NO idea what I was in for. I drove out to the field with Ian that Sunday. This day changed the course of my life. I watched while the field was prepared, totally ignorant of what was about to happen. Once they got it up and running, Mallory brought several of her dogs out to run. Ian was going crazy! He wanted to run, too. Mallory showed me how to use a slip lead and told me when to let him go. She also cautioned me he may not run as he'd never been exposed to the sport before today and not to be too disappointed if he didn't. He ran! Watching him chase the bunny brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. I was in awe of his incredible athleticism and grace. I felt like I was out there with him, flying along the ground, enjoying the breeze in my face and the sun on my back. Once the day was over, Ian and I went home, tired but happy.

Top Left is "Paolo" Wilango Night Shade, JC being shown by Connie Alexander
Top Right is "Paco" Ch. Hamrya's Paco Rabanne who was bred by Donna Lynch
Bottom Left is David, Rico on his left, Lilith wrapped around his neck, and Liz feeding Paolo on his right
and Bottom Right is David getting kissed by baby Lilith

The "potato chip" theory went immediately into effect. Ian needed a playmate and his sister, Marcy, needed a home so enter Marcy. Next came Spree (Plumcreek Belle Esprit, FCh, CGC) who became the foundation bitch of Wilango Whippets and the rest, as they say, is history.

Many things have happened in my life, both good and bad but the whippets have been my constant companions through it all. I thought my life was pretty complete. I had my dogs and all the friends I had made through my participation in coursing and showing. I was single and not really looking then....along came David.

Katherine Shearer introduced us, we fell in love and were married in 1997. The first time he met my dogs, which now numbered three, he fell in love with them too and the feeling was mutual. Ian unfortunately passed away from autoimmune hemolytic anemia after undergoing treatment at the University of GA. All efforts to save him failed. This occurred in late 1993. Rico (Multi-BIF, FC Arborlea Everybody's Talking, SC, CGC) was born March 1, 1994 and is Spree's only child. Rico was bred to Molly (FC Bar'O's Good Golly Miss Molly) in 1995 and Aurora (Bar'O's Idle Conversation) joined my household. At the time David and I met, these were my little family. Aurora became the first dog David ever owned and they adore each other.

Rico coursing, photo by Mr. Robert Nix

Our most recent additions are Liz (Hollowell Plumcreek Envision) who was bred to Rico in 1998 which produced Paolo (Wilango Night Spirit, JC) and Lilith (Wilango Nightshade). We also have a rescue named Reebok who is almost 12 years of age now. Not only do we have the seven dogs, but we have five wedding doves and up until a few weeks ago, our cat, Boone. Unfortunately Boone had to be euthanized at the age of 17 just a few weeks ago. We miss him and we're looking for another cat. I believe in raising the whippets with cats and we've never had a problem to date. We are active members in our local kennel club and participate in conformation, lure coursing, agility, and sometimes, obedience. We rarely breed. We also enjoy taking the dogs to area parks, trips to Petsmart, the beach and just about everywhere we go. They are very much our kids. We have many friends and mentors to thank for their support, knowledge, and love over the years. Of course, Mallory Ballard is first on that list. She's still my best friend even though we live too far apart to see each other like we used to. Others are Linda Larson (Plumcreek), Diane Laratta (Hollowell), Bobbie and Art Idleman (Bar'O), Connie Alexander (Kachina) and too many to name. I'd also like to thank Wendy Clark, AWC Whippet Annual editor for publishing my first short story and Mary Magee of Whippet Watch magazine for allowing me the opportunity to write for her fine publication each and every issue. We have much to be grateful for: David's speedy recovery from cancer, my wonderful mom-in-law Mary Gough for her abiding love and encouragement, my dad-in-law David Gough for putting up with all of us invading his home whenever we get a chance, our dear friend, Kim Nix for housing us and our dogs, our beautiful home, and the many wonderful things that have happened to us since whippets came in out lives. Who would have thought the purchase of one, little dog could change a life in such a positive way? We hope for all of you reading this, the same wonderful transformation.

This calendar page is dedicated to Mr. Robert Nix. He passed away December 1999 and he is very much missed. All of the coursing photos used on this page were taken by him. He was the artiste extraordinaire of the coursing world. Robert, if your listening, tell Ian, Melissa, Shelley, Maxine, Alex, Aussie, Boone, and all our other departed friends "hi" from us. We'll meet again across the Rainbow Bridge.

Mail Comments to David & Jennifer

Top Left is "Lilith" Wilango Nightshade as a puppy
Top Right is "Aurora" Bar'O's Idle Conversation
Bottom Left is Lilith and Paolo at about 4 months of age
and Bottom Right is "Lizzie" Hollowell Plumcreek Envision