The picture that started the dream...
Photo by Judy Heim
BALLAD OF BALOO - a 'CINDERFELLA STORY"
Baloo came to Saddlehill as an unexpected surprise.
I came upon him by chance. While attending a puppy grading party in July 2005 a friend, Patti Castellanos casually pulled out a photo of a very handsome yellow dog. I was very taken with this dog called Baloo, and couldn't take my eyes off his picture, and his pedigree. On the way home I made a call to Debbie Leveque who had just recently received him and after a short discussion, he was to be ours! So, "Cinderfella" was born and Baloo joined the Saddlehill gang! What a huge dog he was, very overweight and out of condition, and out of control! A real hooligan!Debbie had had him awhile already, during which time she did his clearances, started his training as he wasn't leash broken, and started him on a major diet.
After bringing Baloo home, I was to learn more of his story. Baloo's dam had been purchased as a show/breeding prospect from Rhonda Martin, (Sureshot). Sure Shot Michelle (Sophie) was a stunning, finishable black bitch, but timing wasn't right for her to be shown. When it came time to breed her the SureShot girls, Rhonda and Debbie, together with the Hyspire girls agreed upon Hyspire Biscotti, as a good match for Sophie. Baloo was the star of his litter and already had tons of presence. Baloo was a housedog for his first year until his "human" friend went off to college and grandchildren came to stay/visit. Finding time to show this new puppy was not in the cards; and Baloo and Sophie were relegated to spend most of the next 5 years in a small side yard with their own toys and each other. Baloo's great leaping ability, which he exhibits so often in the ring, must have been trained into him in those years of jumping up to see his people over the enclosure. Debbie's contact with Baloo's family over the years paved the way for Baloo to move on to a life where he could share his exuberance with his many new friends, human and canine! How lucky we are!
When Baloo came to us, he was still an out of control hooligan that was not leash broken, and he was about 20 pounds overweight. I worked with his diet and exercise, and slowly brought him back into shape. Baloo is a powerhouse and he took me for a ride for along time. His gusto, charisma, character and antics are a pleasure to be a part of. The judge at one of Baloo's first shows, Palm Springs 2006, called him "smokin Joe".....he was so full of it! Today the gusto and antics are still there, it's just a little more predictable! As we became better acquainted with Baloo, we learned that there isn't a person, or canine or farm animal that he doesn't greet as a friend. He left his kennel life and joined our larger community with an ease that speaks volumes about his breeding and sound Labrador temperament.
Baloo has been to a total of 15 shows. In November 2006 he won WD at his first Specialty, then another Specialty in February 2007, the Potomac in April and he just finished at our Southern California Specialty this last weekend of April 2007.
Baloo has created so much excitement in our lives and he touches the heart of those who know him and see him play in the ring. We hope you never grow up, Baloo!