"Dave" was one of the sweetest Siberians ever to have lived at Meja Siberians. One summer he and his brothers came to stay at the Schlaginhaufen house for a week while our friends Joni and Harold Barnhardt went on vacation. Here are Melanie's memories of Dave:
I was not looking for another dog at that time, but while keeping Joni's pups that week, Dave just seemed to gravitate to me, preferring to follow me around during kennel chores instead of engaging in rough-housing with his brothers. I just fell in love with him so he ended up permanently vacationing with us, becoming a much loved member of the Schlaginhaufen family. (Thank you Joni and Harold, for sharing him with us). The photo in the snow is one of my favorite photos of him, taken when he was about 12. Dave was so pretty trotting around the yard and he loved to play in the snow. Even in his golden years he got around really well until the last month or two of his life. But his soundness is not really a surprise to me, because his Mom was a lovely moving girl, "Robin" (Khovaki's Songbird) owned by the Barnhardts and his Dad was also a very nice dog.
Dave himself was shown just a few times---I still laugh when I remember how I entered him at an AKC show in puppy class in order to make the entry bigger because I thought that my dog Martin had a chance of winning that weekend (the more dogs entered, the more points the dog who takes Winners Dog will win). Martin was close to finishing his championship, and he was mature, in beautiful coat and being shown by Patty Powell, one of his breeders. Martin easily won a competitive Bred-by class. When Dave and I won the puppy class, and went back in the ring for the judge to select Winners Dog, we really weren't even trying very hard, since on that particular day, I was rooting for Martin!
In addition, a long time friend, Betty Ware, had won the Open Dog class. I knew that the judge had been a good friend of Betty's late husband, Rodney and the judge had, years before when he was a professional handler, even shown one of Betty & Rodney's dogs for them. He wasn't known for being "political" but when I saw Betty walk in to the ring to compete for Winner's Dog, of course I had a bit of a "whoops, Martin's chances just went down" type of feeling. Betty actually was also the owner of Dave's sire.
All to say, Dave and I were just playing around, basically I was using the time in the ring with him that day for some training, while keeping an eye on my other dog Martin. When the judge, George Heitzman, sent all the dogs around the ring for the last time and pointed to Dave for his Winner's Dog (for a 3 point major), I actually made the "who me?" gesture, because I wasn't sure he was truly pointing at us! I didn't think Dave would be his type of dog, but it was a very fun surprise, actually one of my fondest dog show memories. And Mr. Heitzman was quite complimentary of Dave, having noticed his strong rear and smooth side movement. Here's a photo of a young Dave taking his major win that day (only a little over six months old):
The photo of Dave below is one of the last weekends we showed him, when once again he took a major win, at a show in Winston Salem, North Carolina:
Looking back, I truly wish I had finished Dave's championship, just because it would be fun to have had more special memories of him in the show ring. Dave was truly a correct specimen of his breed and had proven that he could win, by taking two majors even though I probably showed him less than half a dozen times! He was still young in the photo above, about 2 1/2 years old or so.
I actually have two regrets about Dave--one actually concerned his AKC registered name "Khovaki's Nod From the Gods" (after a quote from actor Kevin Costner in the movie "Tin Cup"). I thought naming him this, and then giving him a call name after one of the most famous men in the Bible (King David) was a good idea at the time. But when we get older, sometimes we look back and wish we had done things differently. I have come to love the one and ONLY God so very much, that I realize that Dave's name was not so great (the play on words probably doesn't bother people who believe in multiple deities, but as a Christian it later bothered me. And Dave was, in many ways, one of the most special gifts anyone ever gave me so I can never be anything but grateful to his Creator, as well as to our friends who bred him and shared him with us.)
My other regret is that we neutered Dave at a young age (he had some tummy issues as a young man and it would flare up sometimes on show weekends, plus I had no breeding plans for him.) With time we figured out his tummy issues and he became a very healthy boy in his older years, plus he "held together", a dog show person expression that means his movement stayed strong and he still looked great even at age ten so I could have easily finished his AKC championship if I had not neutered him. But both God and Dave have something in common--both very forgiving! Dave didn't seem to miss his show career, as all he really ever wanted was to love us and be loved. He was such a sweetie, I cannot quite find words to describe his temperament. I would sit with him in the grass to brush him out in the summer, and he would never get up or misbehave, no matter how long I brushed or even when the comb might pull at a tangle, Dave just loved attention and loved being with us.
Dave lived to be over 14 years old. I know that is a good long life, but it was not long enough...but then nothing with Dave would have been long enough. He was incredbily bonded to his human family. Dave was even trustworthy off leash, something we cannot say of most of the Siberians we have owned through the years. He has been gone now for about two years, but it is still a bit hard to write about him, because he is so greatly missed.
Thank you so much Joni & Harold (Khovaki) for sharing Dave with us.
Note to our readers---Joni and Harold Barnhardt, Dave's breeders, have been in Siberians for over thirty years. and are known for dogs with wonderful temperaments, who can enjoy both the show ring or running in harness (They breed rarely but they do keep the breed's original purpose in mind when they plan a litter). Everyone I have known who has ever gotten a dog from them, whether as a show dog or pet, has absolutely loved the dog's temperament. The Barnhardts are founding members of the Central NC Siberian Husky Club as well as being members of the Siberian Husky Club of America. They breed very rarely but occasionally have adults available to qualified homes looking for a special pet. If you are looking for a Siberian or just want to see some lovely dogs, be sure to visit their website, www.knovaki.com. UPDATE JUNE 2012: The Barnhardts have bred a beautiful female, and if she is pregnant, the puppies will be due in late August. For more information, contact Joni through the Khovaki website.