It was Christmas Eve 1982 when you came to live with us; you were a tiny six-week-old little ball of fluff and like a tiny golden teddy bear. Your registered name was Loretta but to us you were our little lady. At three months of age you started to walk on the lead and your first walk was to Hillbrow, everyone stopped to admire you, much to your dislike, you growled at them and hid behind my legs, presumably to protect yourself rather then me. When you turned six months, Rick bought Leo, he was a lovely black Chow and now you were happy, You loved him and when ever we went for a walk to Hillbrow you made your way first to Rick's flat to fetch Leo and together we would take the two of you for a walk to the park, and then a cup of tea at the Wimpy and then home again. At nine months we decided that you were both good enough to enter into a dog show, the night before the show was a sleepless one for us humans, both excitement and mixed feelings, our first dog show, we never knew much about showing in those days, off we went in the old Combie, we had bathed and brushed you both until your coats shone, We were really very excited about showing you off.
When we arrived at the show grounds we were pleasantly greeted by many other Chow owners, with some lovely animals, Well we thought we could only try our best, We had not bought a blanket for you to lie on or even your brushes to keep your fur clean. It was winter in the Transvaal and even though the weather was warm the grass was dry and brittle, soon covering your lovely coats.
It was Leo's turn to go into the show ring, there were three other puppies as well as him, and as I watched, I did not really expect him to stand a chance against the heavier older dogs with their flatter faces and heavier bones, Well he walked very well and for the first time in the show ring, and much to our surprise and pleasure he was placed third in the puppy class.
Then it was your turn Lady and you held your tail high and with that stupid chow grin on you face, along with the other young puppies, of your age, you lined up to be judged, You looked lovely and did not try to bite the judge, you were also placed third and I was thrilled,
I put my arms around you and loved you.
When we got home that evening we got the camera out and took photos of you and Leo with your very first certificates, a remembrance forever.
As you grew we started to think of allowing the two of you to have a litter of puppies, you had already had you first season, and now you were sixteen months old and were again in season. Well we left the two of you together all day and all night, really we were the stupid ones, how were we to know that Chows are very hard to mate, eventually we very desperately called in help from The Chow Club, and were very kindly offered help in mating the two of you.
I cried when you eventually did, Leo got the right position and suddenly there you were, mating, it was already your seventeenth day into your season and we really did not expect anything to come of this mating, but we prayed and hoped that we would be lucky.
Five weeks later your belly appeared to look a little rounder, and to make sure we went up to the Vet, Yes you were pregnant and had four weeks to go. We could hardly contain our excitement we were going to be grandparents, the days seemed to go by extra slowly, then suddenly it was the 16th of April and our babies were due, I sat with you the whole night, I felt your pains with you and when you started to push, I pushed with you, at last at ten minuets to twelve you gave birth to your first lovely black male puppy " Leo's Son" how proud I was of you, you licked him and cuddled him and the look of pride in your eyes was the most wonderful thing I had ever seen, then it started all over again the huffing and puffing the pain and the cries then suddenly you produced another lovely son, this one was golden like you and we called him "Midnight" as he was born just after that hour.
As your babies grew we found it very difficult to part with them and the thought again turned to the show ring, their first show was a success, "Sonny" won best puppy and then went best puppy in the group, and the went on to win Second best puppy on show, with little Midnight following close behind, we were so very proud.
The day came when we decided to sell Midnight and we all cried our eyes out once he had gone to his new home with the promises that his new owners would show him some day. "Sonny" was sold to a lady who became a very close friend of mine over the next 20 years. We had by now bought Monique, a very lovely baby with good bone, and a flat face, this one we knew would be a Champion. And She was with a lot of hard work.
As time passed we were asked if you would like to do a movie, we were thrilled, to know that you and Leo would both go down on film in history.
Your part was in the film "We're in the Movies" it was hard work and also great fun and when the movie was released I was so proud of you My Lady, you really looked so lovely, I do hope that one day we will see that movie again. As the years went past you won many prizes at the dog shows and also produced many lovely puppies, In 1989 you had your last litter and either because of your failure to go into labor or some terrible mistake during your Caesar to bring your little puppies into the world, all your lovely eight puppies died, how sad we were, and I cried day and night for weeks for your loss. By now we had added to your companions Tessa and Halley. Halley was the father of this last litter.
1990 brought a lot of sadness to our lives, didn't it Lady, we had lost our lovely Champion Monique after a very difficult birth in 1986.
And now suddenly Tessa was gone, after a very short illness. Now you only had Halley to talk to, so I went out and bought Ushka and Tasha to keep you company, We also had Monique 2 and her son Apollo, but you weren't on speaking terms with them, you were the only one who knew that Halley would never come back that dreadful Sunday Last August 1990.You cried real tears and I cried with you, Lady you were my oldest and dearest, and you seemed to understand my grief. Slowly we got over the sadness and were looking forward to a New Year when just before Christmas you got sick, I tried my best to help you and stayed awake all night to make sure you were alright, but to no avail, On Christmas eve eight years after I got you, I had to allow you your freedom in the Heavenly Gardens, a Garden where only Gods dogs are allowed to roam.