Nevertheless, She Persisted

A popular political slogan, this can be aptly applied to one of the icons of our sport today.

When Pat Trotter stepped into the center ring Tuesday night with a strong willed Norwegian Elkhound to compete in her ELEVENTH best in show at WKC, she took the hearts and dreams of a generation of fanciers with her.

I first watched her run an elkhound around the ring at the old CalOre circuit in Roseburg, Ore. in the late ’70s. It was my first AKC dog show and I remember it as if it was yesterday. I read and highlighted and dog-eared her book when I bred my first litter on my own.

Pat has been winning groups at the Garden, where winning the breed can be a challenge, since 1969. Nearly 50 years of history and fierce determination carried her around that huge ring a half dozen times Tuesday night.

For so many of us in the purebred dog community, our most fervent wish was that Pat and Duffy would make history.

Pat has always said she never wanted to judge. She did it to be with Chuck. But she refused to give up her joy… Showing her dogs. And the sturdy, stubborn grey dogs aren’t fancy and they aren’t cute. They have little of the glamour associated with top dogs. But in 1970, Pat made Vagabond the number one dog of all breeds.

These “salt of the earth” dogs, as she describes them, are loved by people who bear the same attributes. The former school teacher holds court many weekends at dog shows — talking and questioning and guiding as many students of the sport as she can.

It was notable to me that every single dog last night, every one of the handlers, put on the show of their lives. And Tom Bradley played to it. They all knew they were competing with and witnessing an all-American success story in the ring.

Pat told me a couple weeks ago she was going to give it “one more shot”… Her lifetime goal of winning the Garden. And an inspiring, emotionally charged performance it was. Certainly Duffy was amped. And perhaps she didn’t show her “schooling” as well as she has other times. But Pat stayed with her to the end. The final go’round and free stack, they nailed it.

They told her she couldn’t or shouldn’t or wouldn’t. So, she did. I salute the living legend that is Pat Trotter and Vin Melca Norwegian Elkhounds.

As always, this is JMHO.

Postscript… to hear from Pat Trotter herself, visit www.puredogtalk.com and listen to our Wisdom Wednesday interview…