I am not going to apologise for the length of this post...I have a story to tell. So please strap in!
In January 2016 Damian, Lillian and I were preparing to move from Sydney to Launceston. We were moving from a two-bedroom apartment to a four-bedroom house on 4 acres, so the deal was we could get a dog. The only issue was, we couldn’t agree on a breed. Having grown up with Whippets, I was keen for a sighthound. Damian was not. Damian was keen for Bernese Mountain Dog. I was not. We were at a stalemate. But literally the day before we left Sydney, we were driving through Erskinville, when I spotted a dog being walked. “Look, a Finnish Lapphund. You don’t see one of those every day.” To this day, I still have no idea how I knew what breed it was, given that they had only come into Australia while I was ‘out’ of dog showing. But it started a conversation and some research that resulted in us agreeing this was the breed for us.
Once we got to Launceston and settled in, it was time to start contacting breeders. The first breeder I contacted was Vanessa Brotto. She told me she didn’t have anything planned, but her friend Jacqualine Lincoln did. I contacted Jacq, who tried to talk me into taking a show puppy. “No. That is all behind me. We just want a pet.” And so in May the insatiable Fleurty Fleur joined us.
Only a few weeks later Jacq posted on Facebook to say her friend Vanessa had passed away, having lost her battle with cancer.
In late September, of that same year, I was scrolling Facebook when I saw an announcement from Jacq, with a photo of the most gorgeous Lappie smiling out at me. Jacq mentioned it had been a couple of months since Vanessa’s passing and that soon it would be time to start looking for a new home for Bennigan. I thrust my phone in Damian’s face and said “I think he should come and live with us.” Damian said, “Okay. One dog, two dogs, what’s the difference.” So I immediately shot Jacq an email. She replied saying Vanessa had insisted that he go to a show home. “I’ll show him,” I said, “It won’t be much, but I’ll show him.” So Jacq personally delivered him to me the day after General Special at Melbourne Royal and two weeks later Benni and I made our show debut together, at Launceston Royal.
Nothing prepared me for the journey the two of us would go on. The bond we would develop. The joy we would get from being in that ring together.
So why am I telling you this? Well Benni is now a SUPREME CHAMPION! The highest conformation title available in Australia and only the 7th Finnish Lapphund to achieve it.
Along the way, he has amassed:
1 x Best in Show (All breeds) (BIS1)
10 x Best in Groups (BIG1)
24 x Runner-up Best in Groups (BIG2)
9 x Classes in Show
Countless Classes in Group, including 40 Best Australian Bred in Groups
As a Supreme Champion he joins his litter brother, Tortik (Sup Ch. Armahani Heliodorr Halu (ai) RA JC), making them Australia’s most successful Finnish Lapphund litter brothers and his former kennel mate, Flame (Sup Ch. Kalevi Fire and Flame), meaning both Vanessa’s boys are now Supreme Champions.
I will never be able to thank Jacq enough for entrusting him to me. I don't think either of us could have predicted the bond Benni and I would develop or the amazing ride we would go on. Thank you also to Elaine Short (Glenchess - UK) and Sarah Ewanson (Kelevi), who made the Helidorr litter possible.
And thank you to the breeder who sold a dog to someone in Sydney’s Inner-South!
But above all, here’s to you Big Boy. X
And in other exciting news, we are expecting babies early in October!
Thank you to Taylah Debono and Mel Scriven for allowing me to use your gorgeous young man.