By NANCY VICKERS-PYLE - Highlands Today
Thursday February 5, 2004
Local Breeder Takes Pomeranian To The
Ultimate Dog Show
SEBRING — Oh, that look.
She's a tiny ball of fur with a pedigree of champions.
She is Jewell Lee, who
is headed to show with the world's best at the exclusive
Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City.
Roy and Lorene Staats are the breeders and owners of
Jewell Lee, the latest in a growing line of champion
Pomeranians the couple has both bred and shown.
For Lorene Staats,
the nature of the pomeranian itself is well-suited
to the show ring. It is the "look" and
the quality that she and her husband Roy breed for.
"Some breeders prefer the look of the fox. We prefer
that teddy bear look," Staats said Wednesday, just two
days before she leaves for the Big City and the big show at
Madison Square Garden. That "look" and the quality
the Staats have worked into their breeding program is
not just any mix and match of the pomeranian breed. It is something
they research and study, and something they look for. "We
work like a team. Roy looks at (dog industry publications)
and he just memorizes everything from the pedigree (or family
history) to the kennel," Lorene Staats said.
To get to the show, the Staats not only had to breed to produce
a dog capable of winning a show, but they had to learn how
to show the dog, according to veteran dog breede and show class
instructor, Laura Van Horn.
Van Horn said Wednesday that the Staats, who own and operate
Premier Pomeranians, attended classes she instructed several
years ago. "She is a 'bred-by exhibitor, owner and handler.'
That's a biggie. She competes against all of those professional
The professionals, that is all they do is show the dogs," VanHorn
Van Horn has been there before. She has a German pincher whose
sire won the best of group at Westminster. One of her dogs
was the local mascot for the D.A.R.E. program.
Lorene Staats credits Van Horn for a positive start in the
show program. But it was a small pomeranian called Shelby
who began the love affair for the Staats several years ago.
Shelby was from Texas and was, "one of my first."
She said owning a pomeranian is like having the cute,
cuddly puppy that never grows up. And a dog that totally dedicates
its life to its human owner. "They learn your schedule.
They know what time you are supposed to get up in the morning.
They'll never break your heart," Lorene
When she got the invitation to go to Westminster, it was
an offer from someone who wanted to show Jewell Lee for her. "She
wasn't going anywhere without mommy," Lorene said.
So, Jewell Lee in her carrier and Lorene Staats, holding her
on the plane, are leaving Friday for the big adventure. There
are several basic dog classes and Jewell Lee will show in the
toy dog class along with 24 other pomeranians and several other
breeds considered 'toys.' There are a total of more
than 2,500 in the show.
One dog will make the "best of' in each class. And only
one dog will make the "best of show." To get the
invitation, each dog has to earn a championship
status based on points earned in smaller shows.
Jewell Lee is
a work in progress in achieving as near
a perfect pomeranian as possible for the Staats. The Staats "finished" Jewell
Lee's grandfather Dexter, which means Dexter scored enough
points at dog shows, shown by Lorene Staats, to attain a champion
Jewell Lee and Lorene Staats take the stage at 1 p.m.
Monday. Highlights and winners will be shown on the USA Network,
Monday, from 8 to 11 p.m. and during the same hours Tuesday.
The Staats can be reached on their web site at www.lightningstrikestwice.com
While the Staats do breed for shows, not every dog is show
quality but might be kept for breeding purposes, so the Staats
have foster homes for them, with the only stipulation being
that the dogs are available when needed for breeding.
reason for the foster homes is that each dog benefits greatly,
by nature, by a lot of individual attention. Jewell Lee, for
instance, works as a therapy dog and visits local area nursing
homes where people who used to own dogs just fall in love with
her pretty little face and her sweet disposition, Staats said.
Jewell Lee at Westminster February,