When we posted over 2,500 pictures from Westminster, we wanted everyone to see what a great experience it was to attend a dog show.
Unfortunately, not everyone agreed. Cheryl Gerzabek (GSMDCA Director, past SCONE VP) and Laurie Carmody (Swissy Club of New England Treasurer) have been discussing taking ambush pictures of Oscar (excerpts below). As individuals in club leadership positions, they should not participate in taking pictures of any dog show participants or attendees and portraying them in a negative light. What if those women whose pictures were taken negatively were prospective swissy owners?
To make matters worse, a fake Facebook account was created last week to illegally impersonate and harrass me. The five friends of the fake account are Brian Ullom, Jamie Scott Ullom, Billie Anderson, Cheryl Gerzabek and Laurie Carmody. Brian was a fellow swissy owner who was out of work after losing his job and had a child to support. I felt bad for him so I hired him for two weekends, as more of a dogsitter than a handler. I had to get away for those weekends, and my regular handlers were on vacation. Ordinarily I would not have paid more money to use a handler in training, but needed to go away. Once I stopped using Brian, I have been harassed non-stop. Being involved with impersonating a former client is not the way to get more work. Billie is involved with Cheryl’s handler.
We believe the main reason Cheryl and Laurie are upset was our article on Meet The Breed. We requested a public posting of the event, rotation of participants, and the ability to allow a diverse selection of swissy owners to participate with breeders like other breeds and clubs do. We also believe that any breeder who is not breeding with final clearances should lose the ability to participate for that year. This has riled up those who stand to lose from such a system. The existing system has apparently allowed one family to take up 75% of the booth spots of that day as others were turned away. Instead of opening up the process, high barriers were added to the newly issued selection criteria to prevent others from participating. Oscar and I do not expect to ever be able to participate after trying to change the current system, but have asked for the ability to allow others the opportunity to participate and promote breeding standards. (A fan recently posted a great suggestion for a system where the swissy rescue volunteers run the booth, since they are spending the time cleaning up everyone’s mess.)
Either way, we simply request that these five individuals forget that we exist and find some other way to occupy their time.
When we posted over 2,500 pictures from Westminster, we wanted everyone to see what a great experience it was to attend a dog show.
Thanks to a random youtube user, we were finally able to see Oscar’s appearance on televison. The segment had aired during the Westminster Kennel Club broadcast while I was at the show. I am very proud of how well Oscar looked on television.
During the segment, I was asked what’s the difference is between the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog (Swissy) and Bernese Mountain Dog (Berner). I responded by saying that they are very similar in many ways but the Swissy is around 10 lbs. bigger with a haircut. If you look at the standard there are overlaps, as bigger Berners are being produced which overlap with smaller Swissies. Swissies are a touch more muscular, powerful with a little protector in them. But they both do drafting, carting, and sheep herding work. Berners have health issues such as cancer, but Swissies have been getting epilepsy problems, possibly a result of breeding issues. However, I believe that a sound bite is not the proper place for this information to be discussed. The personalities of each dog are different, so it is not right to generalize. Both the similarity and the confusion have been around for many years, as swissies were re-discovered at a dog show in 1908 when someone entered them into the show as odd Berners.
The answer I gave has produced some negative responses to include the following: we should get shot, we set the breed back 20 years, and now everyone will want a Swissy. The first response is unacceptable. In light of what happened with Sandy Hook and the possible intentional poisoning of Cruz, I believe this is very wrong as the website is about the pleasures of owning a dog. As to everyone wanting a swissy, what’s wrong with interest in the breed? Swissies cost around $2000-$2500 along with most breeders having a questionnaire and a long waitlist. It’s not like they will be flying off shelves during Black Friday! Lastly, having a dog should be a fun but constant learning experience including mentoring new people. New dog owners will be scared off by random swissy breeders and owners posting threatening messages to an audience of over 80,000 off a sound bite. As a question to all of Oscar’s fans, what do you think is the difference between a Swissy and Berner?
The top Samoyed of 2013, Cruz, died from the rat poison Warfarin last weekend at the Denver dog show cluster, only a few days after attending Westminster in New York. Cruz’s vet said the poisoning occurred sometime during that week, which most likely happened in New York. The poison could have been easily slipped into a dog treat. There have been a few dogs who have recently died from mysterious poisonings at dog parks in New York. Poisonings have also occurred at dog shows as early as 1895. In 2011, a number of dogs died from poisoning at the San Marino International dog show in Italy. After hearing this scary news, I will be sure to keep a very close eye on Oscar and will be careful not to accept any treats from strangers!
During many nights, Oscar will wait until the lights are out and I am sleeping to jump into the bed and lay over my feet like a 125 lb. brick. Oscar is very careful not to get caught, so he often gets out of the bed before he thinks I will wake up. However, this time the swissy was actually caught as he took the bed sheet with him to use as a blanket on the floor. Does anyone else’s greater swiss mountain dog (also known as the “velcro dog”) want to sleep right next to them at night?
Since we posted about SCONE finally revealing their secret Meet The Breed criteria (after 2 years of asking), we have received many positive comments and e-mails with others sharing their experiences with dog politics. There is no reason why there should not be a rotation with other swissy owners being able to attend and being able to get mentored instead of the same select people attending year after year.
There was one message from the President of SCONE (aka Swissy Club of New England), Peter Ziegler, which differed from all of the positive feedback:
“…The Swissies participating in this event have earned many awards in various activities and are representing the true meaning of what it is to be a WORKING!!!… We don’t need people at this event to brag about their dog, rather showing the facts what a Swissy is all about. What better way to inform people about this great breed is to have reputable breeders running the show? … For you David, I would like to acknowledge all the success you had with your dog, but I have to be very direct in a different way: Get off your couch, stop whining and bickering.”
A year ago we posted about Oscar receiving hate mail for his website after it was only up for 4 days! We now feel that it’s important to let you know it came from another person who holds one of the other four leadership spots on SCONE and also serves on the Board of the GSMDCA, Kelly Nevin. “Wider Audience, really, noone has a website for their ‘pet’ dog, dog websites are for show, breeding or performance brags/info. And you wouldn’t like what people are saying because of that, let’s just say not positive.”
In response to Peter, we have introduced Oscar to many activities including sheep herding, swimming, and weight-pulling. We are working on carting next. It sounds like you will not give owners a chance to participate in a Meet The Breed event even for a few hours, believing only breeders can run the show instead of rotating and having a diverse selection of swissy owners help out. Also if a breeder breeds without clearances, you would think they shouldn’t allowed to participate for that year. In response to Kelly, I believe that 80,000 fans a year later would have disagreed with you. “Good luck with your website” would have been a nicer comment to make!
I realize Oscar and I will never be able to attend a Meet The Breed, but we hope this shines a light on the insider process Meet The Breed for Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs has become. It’s a shame things can’t be done like they are for other breeds (with everyone working together) because of the actions of a few.
As mentioned previously, for the last two years Oscar and I were excluded from “Meet The Breed” so that the same people could attend every year and both days of the two day event. Other people who volunteered were also turned away. We asked the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog National Club (GSMDCA) to enforce a public posting of the event along with a rotation where everyone has an equal opportunity to participate. The more experienced people would be able to mentor the newer people for a fun, two-day event. What is the problem with a newer person attending for a few hours? Why wouldn’t potential Swissy owners want more than one perspective such as what it is like to have a Swissy in the city?
For two years we had requested a selection criteria from SCONE (local club appointed by national club to run the event), but we were told that it was a secret. Yesterday a criteria has finally been revealed that will ensure that the same people attend the event for the next few years without any rotation standard or mentoring of its members. The new criteria states that you must own a Swissy for ten years. To our dismay this new criteria, which is a high barrier of entry for newer people, has been strongly endorsed by the GSMDCA and will also apply to the other Meet The Breeds at Eukanuabu. Ironically, the person assigned to run the event in 2011 and 2012 only had eight years of experience with Swissies. This is indicated on their website where they also highlight going to Meet The Breeds. Assuming she also participated before being appointed to run the event, things look shady.
I have taken care of two Swissies for 5-6 years and have over twenty years of experience with dogs. Oscar and I have participated in a de facto Meet The Breed for the two day Thanksgiving Day Dog show, two Westminster shows, and countless newspaper and television interviews. Every day we do a walk is a potential Meet The Swissy. If we wait another four to five years, Oscar will be at least eight years old. Swissies often have a short life span, which could mean that we will never be able to attend a Meet The Breed event. If the club only cared as much about tracking epilepsy and enforcing rules for breeders who breed without clearances rather than preventing newer but experienced Swissy owners from helping at these events. I have also inquired and found out that other breeds do not operate this way. Many of them encourage attendance at these events as well as the mentoring of their members. GSMDCA & SCONE are only doing this so only a few select individuals can attend key events year after year without publicly posting the events. Contacting the GSMDCA was not an easy task. Part of their website has not been updated in a few years, but it is ironic that their dues membership link is up to date. There were even outdated e-mail addresses, but luckily we eventually found the correct email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, and despite Oscar’s success he has yet to find his significant other. Oscar has 80,000 fans (more fans than any other show dog), and has been featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, NY Post, L.A. Times, Bloomberg, Crain’s, Investor’s Business Daily, and MarketWatch.com. He has appeared on television including the opening promo for Westminster, NBC, ABC, NY1, and the WPIX morning show with Richard Simmons. The swissy has also participated in two press conferences with over 50+ reporters each time. In the ring he is almost at Grand Champion Bronze Level, a Top 20 Dog, and has so many Best of Breed awards that we lost count. He also has the highest clearances (normal-excellent) for elbows, eyes, hips, shoulders, and heart.
Do you know of a female swissy who would be a good match for Oscar? Let us know!
As per weather.com it feels like -1 degrees F outside in NYC and a snowstorm is about to hit tomorrow night. In addition, the heat in my building just broke. Oscar is still in Florida competing in dog shows (Best of Breed again today) in 75-80 degree weather. I miss Oscar a lot, but I am now very jealous of him, as he is currently living a better lifestyle than me. I am heading to Vegas later this weekend, but I am now thinking of planning an emergency flight to Florida to visit him tomorrow afternoon, and will then go to Vegas from there. Swissy withdrawal.
Oscar also won Best of Breed on Saturday and Sunday for a weekend sweep! I escaped the cold weather in NYC (12 degrees) to watch Oscar at the dog shows this weekend. I experienced drama on the trip as I got rear-ended at a toll booth on my way to the hotel from the Orlando Airport, but seeing the swissy win was well worth it!
I am on a two week Grand Cayman Christmas/New Years trip and I miss Oscar. Despite days filled with lying on the beach, scuba diving, kayaking, and playing tennis, I am thinking of the Swissy. I arranged with the Cayman Islands Humane Society to bring a dog to the Ritz-Carlton for the day in the spirit of Christmas. Yesterday, I took a cab to the Humane Society. As soon as I walked in the door, I saw Greg. While taking him for a walk, I saw how energetic he was. I took another dog for a walk right after, but then noticed how Greg was sad and wanted to be played with. Not letting him down, I took him back to the hotel with me. When I brought him to the beach, he ran for the ocean. Greg was an instant swimmer and had constant energy. He wanted to run back and forth along the beach to say hello to everyone. After a fun filled day, he finally fell asleep under my beach chair. Before I knew it, it was 4 pm, and his ride came to get him. It was very sad sending him back after such a great day together.
Oscar and I are very grateful for Nancy Kechner & Roxanne Sutton for offering their help with trying to attend the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship Dog Show. Unfortunately, the additional cost of a one-way car rental and new plane tickets would have brought the total cost of the trip to $3000, so the trip was cancelled. I still went to experience the show, but I felt very guilty about leaving Oscar at home with my father. I still cannot believe that his ride broke down, but I am happy that it happened before the trip. There will always be next year!
Oscar is entered in the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship Dog Show in Orlando, Florida. However his
ride to the show is having van trouble and it doesn’t look good. I would do it, but have critical work assignments due. If anyone is able to give Oscar a ride to Florida, please let us know ASAP. You will be compensated in more than milk bones.
The NY Post has an article on a dog-napping that occurred only a few blocks away from where Oscar lives in NYC. The owner (stupidly) tied his dog up outside as he went to Starbucks. Comes out, dog is gone. The dognapper apparently went to a supermarket later that night asking about dog food. Though caught on camera, she still not been located. A quick search of craigslist shows several similar cases. I would be devastated if someone stole Oscar so hopefully this post serves as a dual warning to others. Don’t leave your puppy unattended and there is an east side dognapper on the loose!
We received a few e-mails asking if Oscar will be attending the Meet The Breed Event in NYC. The answer is no, despite Oscar volunteering over the past two years and living only a few blocks away from the event. In 2011, we volunteered six months ahead of the event date and the person running it never responded to us. As the event date got closer, we inquired, but were informed that people were already selected. We asked why the people who are selected are not rotated each day (since it is a two day event) or each year, to be fair, but we received no reply once again. We also asked if there was any specific criteria to be met by the dogs that were chosen and found out that there is a secret criteria that cannot be disclosed. When we asked about it this year, we received no response again. However, at a dog show, we heard that same person bragging to potential customers about how her dogs are always at Meet The Breed. When you run the event, that may actually happen.
Oscar wants everyone to go to the event and enjoy it. However, before selecting any breeder, do your homework at OFFA (http://www.offa.org). The people who do not let others attend these events, may have things to hide such as the proper health clearances on their dogs prior to breeding.
The swissy is very grateful for 50,000 + fans over the past few months. New web programmers have been hired and working long hours to build a cutting edge website. Be sure to have your best puppy pictures ready to show off in the next few weeks.
Remember you can easily go to Oscar’s website by going to www.Puppy.TV (yes.tv instead of .com).
As Oscar waited for his swim appointment, he got to meet Mighty Mouse aka Dixon the Dachshund. Dixon has had disc issues, so he’s being rehabbed by Water4Dogs to walk again. Such an adorable dog, he greeted Oscar then wheeled away. If anyone is looking for a dog, Dixon once rehabbed, will be available for adoption.
After a week off at the beach (stay tuned for swissy shore pictures), Oscar goes Best of Breed at the Riverhead Dog Show. If you live in the area, Oscar will be showing in the working group at about 3:30pm today. Go to the Suffolk County Farm, and help cheer the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog on!
Oscar won best of breed again at today’s dog show. When I am not able to make the shows, I find out the results in different ways. Yesterday I found out by text message from the handler, today by e-mail from the dog show organizer. Also, thank you to Judges Douglas Hollaway Jr. and Col. Jerry H. Weiss USMC (Ret.) for the wins.
Just got a text from Ashley that Oscar won Best of Breed over the other Swissies at the Southern Maryland Kennel Club Dog Show. Over two million people lost power in DC, but somehow the dog show goes on.
The swissy is headed to Richmond, Virginia to take part in the Maryland Dog Shows. Confused? The shows used to be held outside in Maryland, but they got moved to an air conditioned indoor location this year. Last year as a puppy at those shows, Oscar took best of breed over the 2011 #2 & #3 greater swiss mountain dogs in the country with his handler Ashley. Oscar and David are hoping for a similar result this year.
Oscar The Grouch goes Best of Breed over other Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs at the Dog Show today in Oyster Bay, Long Island (at Planting Fields Arboretum). If you live in the area, Oscar will be showing in the working group at about 3pm today. Help cheer this Swissy on!
At 1 pm everyday, like clockwork, Oscar wants to go down to the lobby. Why? To say hi to the mail lady, Cathy. Watch as this swissy does whatever she asks:
David and Oscar agree, Cathy is the best mailman, period!!
Now that Oscar has received his excellent OFA rating, it was time to experiment with some working dog activities. Only a half hour away, in Rockland County, there was a GSMD weight pull organized by a local swissy club, SCONE. With some encouragement, Oscar was able to pull more than ten times his body weight in a practice setting. Oscar is easily capable of pulling that much plus additional weight, but I have to get him used to the actual process, as he never done it before.
For a video of Oscar doing the weight pull:
Thank you to Nicole Kerrigan for organizing the event and Laurie Carmody & Kelly Nevin for working with Oscar.
Oscar’s nose is healing great! At the vet’s office for a followup, Oscar meets an Appenzeller Mountain Dog! Also known as the Appenzeller Sennenhund, they are the rarest of the four mountain dogs (Greater Swiss, Bernese, Entlebucher being the other three). They weigh about 50-70 pounds which is half an Oscar. The owners recently moved from Europe and now live in New York giving Oscar a new friend.
After three weeks of anticipation, Oscar received his OFA tests back today. Oscar’s hips are rated excellent (the highest rating) and his elbows and shoulders are normal (as were his heart and eyes in the past). Although the vet said everything looked great at the time he took the X-rays, he does not determine the actual rating. The X-rays are sent to a team of three independent doctors who make the decision, so the actual results could be different. David is overjoyed that Oscar now has his full swissy clearances.
It’s very important to not buy a dog from a breeder without clearances. If a dog fails their clearances it’s optional to disclose. With bernese or greater swiss mountain dog it’s essential to have the hips, elbows, shoulders, and eyes done at a minimum. A breeder being a member of a national club such as the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Club of America (GSMDCA) or the Bernese Mountain Dog Cub (BMDCA) means nothing as clearances are just guidelines, not actively enforced.
It has been pouring rain outside over the past two days, and it feels like winter is back! I worked from home all weekend, and Oscar missed his long walks outside. I introduced him to his latest toy, Elmo, to break him away from boredom. After a game of fetch, the tired swissy went to sleep, allowing me to get my work done.
When I first got Oscar, I was afraid that he would not play fetch. When I visited his breeder’s house while Oscar was two weeks old, his father was not interested in playing fetch. I know that every dog is different, and luckily my greater swiss mountain dog is the complete opposite. Oscar can play fetch and tug-of-war for hours and also has a toy fetish. The crate that he slept in as a puppy has now become his personal toy chest. Everyday he somehow chooses a different toy to play with, but Tigger is definitely his favorite!